Previews: DANCING AT LUGHNASA at City Theatre

City Theater Company gets their Irish on with Dancing At Lughnasa by Brian Friel, April 19-27, 2024 at The Delaware Contemporary.

By: Apr. 08, 2024
Previews: DANCING AT LUGHNASA at City Theatre
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City Theater Company gets their Irish on with Dancing At Lughnasa by Brian Friel, April 19-27, 2024 at The Delaware Contemporary.

City Theater Company rounds out their 30th Anniversary Season in 2024 with Brian Friel’s Dancing At LughnasaDedicated to the playwright’s mother and aunts, this beloved Irish "memory play" revolves around the lives - and loves - of five sisters in a small Donegal town during the summer harvest festival of the title.

Originally staged at Dublin's Abbey Theatre, Dancing At Lughnasa enjoyed a subsequent 1991 Tony-Award Winning Broadway run and a 2023 critically acclaimed revival at The National in London that featured actors from the popular television show Derry Girls. It was also adapted for a feature film starring Meryl Streep.

Friel’s autobiographical masterpiece plays out through the memories of its narrator, who recounts the events of a single summer from his childhood in 1936 Ireland.

It is the summer harvest festival of Lughnasa, a time when the sun stays up well into the night and emotions are heightened in the small town of Ballybeg - particularly in the home young Michael Mundy shares with his single mother and her four sisters. His uncle has returned from an extended time in Africa, a shadow of the man and priest he once was, and his charming yet unreliable father once more enters the picture, throwing the household into chaos. And the five sisters at the center of it all - the play is dedicated “to the memory of those five brave Glenties women” - come together as one in their determination to keep body and soul together throughout this extraordinarily heady season.

Mary Catherine Kelley, who starred in 2023’s The Year Of Magical Thinking and is a member of Fearless Improv team, directs. A prolific actor and director, she previously helmed 2018’s Mamma Mia!, and will be directing Hamlet this summer at Arden Shakespeare. 

Says Kelley “Dancing At Lughnasa is a director’s dream: a beautifully written play by Brian Friel, a very talented and engaged cast, and a top-notch support team of stage manager, choreographer, and dialect coach.” 

Artistic Director Kerry Kristine McElrone selected Dancing At Lughnasa to close out the 30th anniversary season in a nod to the company’s success a decade ago, when they presented another critically acclaimed Irish play with music as its thread - James Joyce’s The Dead. That 2014 production featured Kelley as well as McElrone, who will be joining the Lughnasa cast along with longtime CTC actor Paul McElwee

Says McElwee “The Dead may be my favorite City Theater show I've done to date, and this piece is very reminiscent of that. Both are beautifully told memory plays that quite literally dance around family relationships and how they impact our lives, for better or for worse. It's a poignant story about change and its power to both strengthen and tear apart the strongest of bonds.”

Kelley concurs. “Dancing at Lughnasa is at once funny and sad. It’s full of memorable characters who entertain us and hold us captive. If art is about ‘holding a mirror up to nature’, this play delivers, holding a mirror up to our own lives, reflecting our humor and frailty and resilience. A dream of a play.” 

Dancing at Lughnasa stars Daryan Borys, Kate Brennan, Éibhleann Clyne, Jessica Jordan, Aidan McDonald, Kerry Kristine McElrone, Paul McElwee, and Jennifer Youngblood. Directed by Mary Catherine Kelley. Stage Managed by Stuart Thomas. Choreographed by Dawn Morningstar. Music Directed by Joe Trainor. Dialect Coaching by Michael Toner. Set Design by Rick Neidig. House Manager Julie Snow Regan. Promotional art by Joe del Tufo/Moonloop Photography and Joe Trainor.

TICKET DETAILS: General admission $45. Military/Student with ID $35. Youth under 12 $15.

Dancing at Lughnasa runs April 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27. All shows at 8:00 P.M. except for the sole matinee performance on April 21 at 2:00 P.M.. Please join us for an Opening Night Reception in the museum lobby immediately following the performance. 

All shows at The Delaware Contemporary, 200 South Madison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. The museum’s art galleries are open prior to showtime. All CTC shows feature an in-house cash bar with drinks/snacks. Tickets at Tix - Ticket Sales


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