Thursday, April 11, 2024

Origin Theater 1st Irish Festival Runs March 23 - April 28th in NYC Featuring a Bevy of Irish Productions

Origin 1st Irish 2024, running from Mar 23 to April 28, presents 15 new plays in a mix of productions from Ireland and New York! 

1/ Festival mainstay, Dublin’s Fishamble: The New Play Company returns to 59E59 Theaters with their 10th Festival production, “King,” written by and starring Pat Kinevane, about Luther, an Elvis impersonator living alone in Cork, who, on a big night out, reflects on his past and dares to dream of the future… maybe even a romance. Runs in Theater B Mar 26 to Apr 14.
2/ As part of their 25th anniversary season, The Drilling Company brings us the world premiere of Tim McGillicuddy’s “Herself,” a comedy about a prodigal daughter’s return to the waterside town of Galway to attend the funeral of her alcoholic brother, inherit his pub, face generations of gossip and reconcile with a charismatic parish priest.  Featuring Kathleen Emmonds, “Herself,” with a cast of 10, is directed by The Drilling Company’s artistic director Hamilton ClancyThe Gural Theater, 502 West 53rd Street, Mar 29 to Apr 20, Wed to Sat at 7:30pm.

3/ This year’s festival offering from the Irish Repertory Theatre Company is Brian Friel’s “Philadelphia Here I Come,” part of their Friel Project, which started in October and runs through May 5.  This bittersweet comedy about a young man’s pending relocation from small-town Ballybeg to America, to live with his aunt, runs from Mar 16 to May 5. 

4/ NY Irish Center in Long Island City welcomes to the Festival the New York premiere of “Bumbled,” a new play by the Boston-based Bernard McMullan & Colin Hamell, and starring Colin Hamell, which tells the story of a loveable (and busy) bee named Pascal. McMullan and Hamell famously collaborated on the widely praised and well-traveled “Jimmy Titanic,” which had its maiden voyage at the Festival in 2012.  “Bumbled” first pollinated a few weeks ago in Boston, and is co-produced by Tir Na Theatre and Here Comes Everybody. (Apr 4 and 5 at 7pm) also at An Beal Bocht (Apr 6 at 7pm & Apr 7 at 2pm). 

5/ Origin Theater Company presents a concert restaging of Eamon O’Tuama’s rock musical “Peace and Love in Brooklyn.”  O’Tuama, the Cork-born Prodigals’ front-man has been collaborating with the acclaimed John Keating (who directs) on this poignant, time-bending rock ‘n roll drama about an Irish family that never was.  One drunken night down a blackberry lane in 1973 Dublin, two teenagers conceive a child, but separate in shame.  The story follows the lives of Kiero, a troubled and colorful rock n’ roll roadie and his son whom he never knew… until a chance meeting in Brooklyn.  Running five nights at the cell, 338 West 23rd Street, 6 performances: April 3, 4, 5 at 7pm; Apr 6 at 2pm and 7pm; and Apr 7 at 2pm.

6/ Sean Gormley appears in the world premiere of the English adaptation of Patrick Süskind’s acclaimed play “The Double Bass,” directed by Labhaoise Magee.  In “The Double Bass,” a double bassist confronts his shortcomings as he wrestles with the instrument that dominates his life and handicaps his efforts to attract the woman of his dreams. Running Apr 12 to 28 at the cell, 338 West 23rd Street.

7/ Playing in rep with “The Double Bass” at the cell will be a comedy-drama “Last Call for Babe Reilly,” by Marianne Driscoll and directed by Kira Simring.  Gadfly and gadabout, Babe Reilly, was popular with the barkeeps around town, but his luck runs out in an encounter with a Q111 bus.  Things don’t get much better at the Pearly Gates, but a small twist of fate involving a Ouija board, a cat and little girl named Penny just might set things back on course for the old Babe. Running Apr 12 to 28 at the cell, 338 West 23rd Street.

8/ Last year’s Festival sensation, Big Telly, out of Portstewart in Northern Ireland, returns with a new work by Zoe Seaton. “Storytime Café,” which will be staged immersively at the bar Ryan’s Daughter on the Upper East Side, will be seen four times Wed to Fri Apr 17, 18, 19 at 6:30pm + Sun Apr 21 at 2pm.  This import is produced in association with the Philadelphia-based Tiny Dynamite. Seaton nabbed the Innovation Theatre Award for the US premiere of “Frankenstein’s Monster is Drunk and the Sheep Have All Jumped the Fences.”

9/ Catch a new staging of John Kearns “Boann and the The Well of Wisdom” (first seen in 2022). Featuring Kylie Logan and James Armstrong, with direction by Mary Linehan (and music accompaniment by Mary Courtney), the two-character drama is based on the myth of Boann (the Irish goddess of poetic inspiration). Boann yearns for creative and personal freedom as she comes of age and stands to inherit the pub run by her father.  Her father, Nechtan, who runs the White Cow pub atop a forbidden well in pre-Christian County Kildare, would rather leave things as they are. At The Greek Cultural Center Fri to Sun April 26 to 28.

10/ Staged by Poor Mouth Theatre in the hills of The Bronx, at the popular restaurant-café An Beal Bocht is a bittersweet new comedy, “Running with Coffee,” by Eileen Byrne Richards. The story of a reverse migration when the parents move into the nest of the kids, the play touches on caregiving, mid-life, mental health and fighting over the washing machine.  A Queens native, Richards attended Fordham University and then went on to be one of the hosts of the immensely popular WFUV-FM Irish music program Ceol na nGael.  Apr 27 and 28 at An Beal Bocht, 445 West 238th Street in Riverdale. 

Serving as judges for the Festival are theater director Conor Bagley, theater historian Kate Kennon, culture writer Sadhbh Walshe

Participating theatres and cultural organizations include the American Irish Historical Society, 59E59 Theaters, the Irish Repertory Theatre, the Irish Arts Center, The Gural Theater, the Greek Cultural Center and the cell, Manhattan; the NY Irish Center in Queens, and An Beal Bocht in The Bronx. Tickets for the Festival are on sale at

 (For tickets, and for the festival schedule visit