Brian F O'Byrne
Brian F O'Byrne
Love/Hate star Brian F O’Byrne has been chosen as the male lead for the upcoming Broadway show set in Westmeath.
Cavan native O’Byrne, who is detective Mick Moynihan in the hit RTÉ drama, plays Anthony in Outside Mullingar, the new play by Oscar winning New York playwright John Patrick Shanley, whose late father was a native of Killucan.
Anthony (O’Byrne’s character) and his love interest Rosemary (played by Will and Grace star Debra Messing) are two 40-something introverts whose families have lived next to each other for years. A farmer all his life, Anthony’s hopes of a romantic union with Rosemary have been stymied by their families’ ongoing feud.
O’Byrne, who critics praised for his performance in Love/Hate, has starred in a number of hit Broadway plays including Doubt, which was written by Shanley, The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Lonesome West. He received a Tony in 2004 for his performances in Frozen.
The production, which its creator hopes will come to Ireland, is currently in rehearsals and will premier in January.
Outside Mullingar is Shanley’s tenth play and is his first set in Ireland. He recently won the Eugene O’Neill lifetime achievement award, which is given to Irish-American writers.
One of only two writers to have won the hat trick of a Pulitzer prize, an Oscar and a Tony, Shanley says that up until Outside Mullingar he had deliberately avoided “writing as an Irishman”.
“I wanted to be an American writer. If you’re an Irish-American writer, the critics discount 46 per cent of your talent as a natural, genetic by-product.”
Shanley, who visited Mullingar earlier this year to do research for his new play, first visited Westmeath in 1993 with his now deceased father, an experience he wrote about earlier this year in the New Yorker magazine.
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