Obi Abili to Star in Eugene O'Neill's THE EMPEROR JONES at Irish Rep

Irish Repertory Theatre will present Eugene O'Neill's THE EMPEROR JONES, directed by Ciarán O'Reilly (Shining City) this spring, starring Obi Abili (Ivo Van Hove's Antigone at BAM). THE EMPEROR JONES begins performances on March 1, 2017 at Irish Rep Theatre (132 West 22nd Street) on the Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage, opens on March 12, and runs through April 23, 2017.

Irish Rep previously staged THE EMPEROR JONES in a 2009 production, directed by O'Reilly.

"The social and political climate of 2017, combined with the immense talent of Obi Abili, implored us to revisit this play, and to do so as soon as possible," said director and Irish Rep Producing Director Ciarán O'Reilly.

Eugene O'Neill's groundbreaking play The Emperor Jones is the story of Brutus Jones, a despot who ascends the throne using lies, intimidation and the politics of fear. Following a prison break in the United States, Jones sets himself up as monarch of a Caribbean island. When the Natives rebel after years of exploitation, Jones's mesmerizing journey into darkness becomes a terrifying psychological portrayal of power, fear, and madness. With his demons in heavy pursuit, the Emperor is forced to confront not just the mortal sins of his past but also the depravities against his ancestors-all in search of forgiveness and salvation.

THE EMPEROR JONES will star Obi Abili (Antigone; Gambit). Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

The production features choreography by Barry McNabb (Finian's Rainbow), lighting design by Brian Nason (Donnybrook!), set design by Charlie Corcoran (Shining City), costume design by Antonia Ford Roberts (The Sounding) and Whitney Locher (Into the Woods), sound design and music by Ryan Rumery (The Pigeon in the Taj Mahal) & M. Florian Staab (Shining City), additional music by Christian Frederickson (The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois), and puppet and mask design by Bob Flanagan ("Saturday Night Live").

The performance schedule for THE EMPEROR JONES is as follows: Wednesdays at 3pm and 8pm; Thursdays at 7pm; Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm; and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets to THE EMPEROR JONES range from $50-$70 and are on sale now through Irish Rep's box office by calling 212-727-2737, or online at

Obi Abili (Brutus Jones) comes to New York from London where he starred in The Globe Theatre's production of Titus Andronicus and the Old Vic production of Six Degrees of Separation. Obi is a RADA trained actor who Screen International named a "Star of Tomorrow" in 2010. Recent US appearances include opposite Juliette Binoche in Ivo Van Hove's production of Antigone at BAM. Obi has a major supporting role in the upcoming feature film London Fields opposite Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton and Theo James. He had a leading role in the film Tula: The Revolt opposite Danny Glover and was also seen opposite Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz in Gambit. Obi was a regular on several UK miniseries including "The Take" with Tom Hardy, "Injustice" with James Purefoy, "Moses Jones" with Eamonn Walker, and "The Nativity" with Tatiana Maslany. He has guest starred on the Cinemax series "Strike Back" and BBC's "Foyle's War." UK THEATRE: Play House (Orange Tree); Sixty-Six Books: Beardy (Bush Theatre); Dido, Queen of Carthage (National Theatre); The Brothers Size (Young Vic); Angels In America (Glasgow Citizens/Hammersmith Lyric); Darfur: How Long is Never, Fabulation (Tricycle).

CIARÁN O'REILLY (Director) has helmed Irish Rep's productions of The Dead, 1904; Shining City; The Weir (Lucille Lortel and Callaway Award nominations); The Emperor Jones (Callaway Award; O'Neill Credo Award; Drama Desk, Drama League and Lucille Lortel Award nominations); The Hairy Ape (Drama Desk, Drama League and Callaway nominations); Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Drama Desk nomination); the world pre­miere of Banished Children of Eve; as well as the recent productions of Sea Marks, Port Authority, and The Quare Land, among others. As an actor, he has been seen in the Irish Rep productions of Da, Juno and the Paycock, Dancing at Lughnasa, Molly Sweeney, Aristocrats, A Whistle in the Dark, The Shaughraun, and The Irish and How They Got That Way. He also appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of A Touch of the Poet with Gabriel Byrne; at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin; and made his Broadway debut in The Corn is Green. He has been honored three times by Irish America Magazine with the Irish America "Top 100 Irish" Award.

Irish Repertory Theatre, co-founded by Producing Director Ciarán O'Reilly and Artistic Director Charlotte Moore, opened its doors in September 1988 with Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. The Irish Rep is currently the only year-round theatre company in New York City devoted to bringing Irish and Irish American works to the stage. Recognized with the Jujamcyn Theatres Award, a special Drama Desk Award for "Excellence in Presenting Distinguished Irish Drama," an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Achievement, and the Lucille Lortel Award for "Outstanding Body of Work," the Irish Rep has celebrated the very best in Irish theatre for over twenty-five years, from the masters to the new generation of Irish and Irish American writers who are transforming the stage. Nearly 38,000 audience members annually attend productions at our theatre located in the heart of New York's Off Broadway community. Once here, they witness the Irish Rep's engaging perspective on the Irish and their unique contributions to the world of drama.

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