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Irish Rep Previews THE YEATS PROJECT 4/8, Opens 4/15

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The Irish Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street) in association with Glucksman Ireland House, The American Irish Historical Society, and The WB Yeats Society of New York will begin previews of The Yeats Project on Wednesday, April 8, 2009. The production will open on Wednesday, April 15. Charlotte Moore, Artistic Director and Ciarán O'Reilly, Producing Director will direct.

The Irish Repertory theatre will present all 26 plays written by William Butler Yeats performed in repertory. Eight of the plays will receive fully mounted productions on the Mainstage of the Theatre whilst the remaining 18 plays will receive Concert readings in the downstairs Studio Theatre. The fully mounted plays in Cycle A on the Mainstage are: The Countess Cathleen, The Cat And The Moon, and On Baile's Strand. Mainstage productions in Cycle B are: The Land of Heart's Desire, The Pot of Broth, Purgatory, A Full Moon In March and Cathleen Ni Houlihan.

The remaining eighteen plays will receive concert readings in the Studio Theatre at The Irish Repertory Theatre. These plays: At the Hawk's Well, Calvary, Deirdre, The Hour Glass, The King's Threshold, Oedipus Rex, The Resurrection, The Shadowy Waters, The Words upon the Window Pane, The Green Helmet, The Only Jealousy of Emer, The Unicorn from the Stars, The Player Queen, The Dreaming of the Bones, Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus, The King of the Great Clock Tower, The Herne's Egg, and The Death of Cuchulain, will be directed by George C. Heslin, Artistic Director and Founder of Origin Theatre Company.

Other scheduled events include five special poetry evenings featuring distinguished guests, a Dance Recital from Darrah Carr Dance, a movie screening of Words Upon the Window Pane starring Geraldine Chaplin, Gerald McSorley, and Donal Donnelly, and a literary evening featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, Colm McCann, and special musical guests. Marian Seldes, Brian F. O'Byrne, John McMartin and David Staller will host an open microphone night wherein the general public are invited to take the stage and perform a favorite Yeats poem.

In association with The Yeats Project, Glucksman Ireland House will present distinguished Yeats scholars; Prof. John Kelly of St. John's College, Oxford, and Prof. Ronald Schuchard of Emory University who will discuss their collaboration on the most recent volume of "one of the great works of literary scholarship of our time" (London Review of Books), The Collected Letters of W.B. Yeats: Volume IV (OUP, 2005). This volume, covering the crucial years 1905-1907, was awarded the ninth Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters and is the fourth of a projected fifteen volumes.

The American Irish Historical Society will host a special reading of The Words upon the Window Pane which will be accompanied by a screening of The Other World: Yeats and the Esoteric.

A panel discussion moderated by Professor James Flannery of Emory University and featuring Bill Whelan, composer of Riverdance and music director for The Yeats Festival at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, plus world renowned master puppeteer Roman Pasca, will focus on Form and Idea in the Theatre of Yeats.

There will be a special one time reading of Sailing to Byzantium by Sandra Deer, an original play featuring the characters of Yeats, Ezra Pound, and their various lovers including Maud Gonne and Olivia Shakespear.

William Butler Yeats was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1865, the son of a well-known Irish painter, John Butler Yeats. He spent his childhood in County Sligo, where his parents were raised, and in London. He returned to Dublin at the age of fifteen to continue his education and study painting, but quickly discovered he preferred poetry. Born into the Anglo-Irish landowning class, Yeats became involved with the Celtic Revival, a movement against the cultural influences of English rule in Ireland during the Victorian period, which sought to promote the spirit of Ireland's native heritage. Though Yeats never learned Gaelic himself, his writing at the turn of the century drew extensively from sources in Irish mythology and folklore. Also a potent influence on his poetry was the Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne, whom he met in 1889, a woman equally famous for her passionate nationalist politics and her beauty. Though she married another man in 1903 and grew apart from Yeats (and Yeats himself was eventually married to another woman, Georgie Hyde Lees), she remained a powerful figure in his poetry. Yeats was deeply involved in politics in Ireland, and in the twenties, despite Irish independence from England, his verse reflected pessimism about the political situation in his country and the rest of Europe, paralleling the increasing conservativism of his American counterparts in London, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. His work after 1910 was strongly influenced by Pound, becoming more modern in its concision and imagery, but Yeats never abandoned his strict adherence to traditional verse forms. He had a life-long interest in mysticism and the occult, which was off-putting to some readers, but he remained uninhibited in advancing his idiosyncratic philosophy, and his poetry continued to grow stronger as he grew older. Appointed a senator of the Irish Free State in 1922, he is remembered as an important cultural leader, as a major playwright (he was one of the founders of the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin), and as one of the very greatest poets-in any language-of the century. W. B. Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 and died in 1939 at the age of 73.

Charlotte Moore (Artistic Director) most recent directing assignments were Aristocrats, A Child's Christmas In Wales, Confessions Of An Irish Publican, Take Me Along, Gaslight, Meet Me In St. Louis, Mrs. Warren's Profession and Mr. Dooley's America. Other directing credits include: Finian's Rainbow at Joanne Woodward's Westport Country Playhouse, She Stoops To Conquer, Samuel Beckett's Endgame, the adaptation and direction of Finian's Rainbow, Dion Boucicault's The Colleen Bawn, J. Harley Manners' Peg O' My Heart, J.M. Synge's Playboy Of The Western World and Dion Boucicault's The Streets Of New York, which she adapted and scored. She has received two Tony Award nominations, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, and the Irish America Top 100 Irish Award. Ms. Moore has directed forty-seven Irish Repertory Theatre productions and all 20 Gala Benefits.

Ciarán O'Reilly (Producing Director) most recently directed The Master Builder, Prisoner of the Crown, Sive, Defender of the Faith, The Hairy Ape (Drama Desk Nom.), The Field, Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Drama Desk Nom.), and The Irish Rep original, The Bells of Christmas. He also directed The Nightingale and Not The Lark and The Invisible Man by Jennifer Johnston. He was recently seen in Aristocrats and in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Touch of A Poet with Gabriel Byrne. He founded The Irish Repertory Theatre with Charlotte Moore, has appeared in many of their productions, and has produced all of them. He has been honored by Irish America Magazine with the Irish America Top 100 Irish Award.

The cast includes Kevin Collins, Peter Cormican, Terry Donnelly, Patrick Fitzgerald, Sean Gormley, Amanda Quaid, Amanda Sprecher, Justin Stoney, Fiana Toibin, and William J. Ward.

Set Design, Charlie Corcoran, Costume Design, David Toser, Lighting Design, Brian Nason, Sound Design, Zachary Williamson, Original Music, Bill Whelan, Choreography, Barry McNabb, Properties, Deirdre Brennan. Stage Manager, Elis C. Arroyo, Assistant Stage Manager, Leslie Grisdale. Charlotte Moore, Artistic Director, Ciarán O'Reilly, Producing Director. Jeffrey Chrzczon, General Manager.

Performances on the Mainstage are Wednesday - Saturday at 8 PM, Matinees are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 3 PM. Please visit The Irish Rep website www.irishrep.org for the complete schedule of events.

Tickets to The Yeats Project are on sale now. A special $100 Festival Pass is good for one admission to all Yeats Project events presented at The Irish Rep, subject to availability on a first-come, first-served basis. Single tickets to each Cycle A and Cycle B performances, $65 and $55. Single tickets to all other events, are $20. Patron's Circle Membership discounts are not available on Festival Pass tickets. Tickets can be purchased by calling (212) 727-2737 or at the Box Office. The Irish Repertory Theatre is located at 132 West 22nd Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. For more information, visit www.irishrep.org.


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