Outside Mullingar

Doubt and Moonstruck award winner’s romantic Irish comedy lands at theREO

Two small Westmeath farms, adjacent, yet worlds apart. He’s a worker, middle-aged, toiling the land he was born to, day in day out. She’s a queen, bossy, not young, but still beautiful, looking out from her porch at evening’s end.

John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar is an Irish love story, filled with the lilt of the island’s brogue and a touch of its magic, too. A romantic comedy through and through, it begins, naturally, with a funeral, and it ends with a kiss. In between, Outside Mullingar is filled with the kind of conversation only Shanley—the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning playwright of Doubt: A Parable and the Academy Award®-winning screenwriter of Moonstruck—could dream up.

The play arrives at Capital Repertory Theatre, Sept. 23–Oct. 16.

More than merely a disputed strip of land, disrupting frontage from farm, separates Anthony and Rosemary. At the top, the two exasperated and exasperating adults are but a topic for Tony and Aoife, their respective, widowed, aging parents. But, as the years move on, their worlds move inexorably together, like a bee drawn to a flower.

“Shanley is a wonderful, gritty writer,” says theREP’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, who is also directing the show. “For a long time, he shied away from his heritage. With Mullingar, you get the sense he’s been a rough around the edges Irish poet all along.”

Capital Repertory Theatre has a long, proud history of Irish plays—stretching from Gardner McKay’s Sea Marks in 1982 to a reading of William Kennedy’s The Light of the World in 2014—and Mancinelli-Cahill says Shanley’s work continues that legacy.

“There is literature in the blood here at theREP, and we have a huge per capita population of Irish Americans. There is something very familiar to audiences about these plays. The characters in Mullingar speak a little more poetically than we Americans do. The script itself seems rooted in the soil. It’s quite consciously part on an Irish tradition.”

She has assembled a cast with a rich history of its own, some with distinctive ties to theREP, which presented Doubt, directed by Terrence LaMude, in 2008.

Kenneth Kimmins, playing patriarch Tony Reilly, has a major Broadway/West End resume, with stints in The Music Man, The Gingerbread Lady, The Magic Show, The Fig Leaves Are Falling, Status Quo Vadis and the New York and London companies of Company. On television, Ken spent nine wonderful years as series regular Howard Burleigh, on ABC’s hit comedy Coach, capping off the last two years by also being a semi-regular on Lois And Clark. He has had recurring roles and guest star roles on scores of television series, including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Desperate Housewives, ER, Law And Order, Arrested Development and many more.

Capital Repertory Theatre favorite David Kenner (Red, Hamlet) returns as Anthony, a lost soul navigating the farm and his feelings about Rosemary next door. Kenner, in addition to his work at theREP, has been seen at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and the MacCarter Theater, with time in New York at Shakespeare in the Park, the Wheelhouse Theater and TwoByFour.

Laurie O’Brien, whose extensive television and film resume includes work on CSI, CSI: Miami, Detroit 1-8-7, Three Rivers, Shark, ER, and NYPD Blue, along with Bottle Shock, Around The Bend, Time Rider, Complete Works, Too Young to Die? and American Gun, previously appeared at theREP as Meta in Times Like These. In Mullingar, she plays Aoife, who’s just lost her husband, but not yet her spirit.

Rosemary, whose patience bests her frustration, is played by Kim Stauffer, last on stage at theREP in The Crucible and The Taming of the Shrew. Boasting strong regional and film/TV credits, Stauffer has been seen locally, in western Massachusetts, at Barrington Stage Company, Chester Theatre and WAM Theatre.

Mancinelli-Cahill’s production team includes Capital Repertory Theatre staples Ken Goldstein (Set Design), Michael Giannitti (Lighting Design), Janie Bullard (Sound Design) and newcomer Bethany Marx (Costume Design).

Mancinelli-Cahill’s assistant director is popular actress Yvonne Perry, whose onstage work at theREP includes The God Game, Naked Influence, The Sisters Rosensweig, A Christmas Story, Intimate Apparel and others.

The director notes that she is quite excited that Shanley’s bond with the land in Outside Mullingar will find its manifestation in a unique way.

“We’re going to make it rain onstage at theREP,” she beams.

It is an Irish play, after all.

Preview performances for Outside Mullingar take place Sept. 23-25. Opening night is Tuesday, Sept. 27. Regular performances continue through Sunday, Oct. 16. Performance times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday—with matinees 3 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5. Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany. Tickets range from $20 to $60. Students with valid ID: $16 all shows. For tickets and information, call Tickets By Proctors, (518) 445-SHOW (7469) or visit capitalrep.org.

Opening night includes live music from Kevin McKrell in the café at 6:30 p.m., and complimentary post-show champagne and dessert. The Chef’s Table performance, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, includes live pre-show music and complimentary hors d’oeuvres for ticketholders from Angelo’s 677 Prime, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby.

Discussion nights for Outside Mullingar will take place before the Wednesday evening performance Oct. 5, and after the Wednesday evening performance, Oct. 12.

The Sunday, Oct. 16 matinee will be preceded by a Behind-the-Scenes event, which features complimentary light breakfast fare for ticketholders, and discussion led by theREP’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill. Food service begins at 12:30 p.m., with the presentation following from 1-1:30 p.m.

Outside Mullingar at Capital Repertory Theatre is sponsored by M&T Bank.