The Irish Repertory Theatre’s production of Brian Friel’s Philadelphia, Here I Come! has just been extended from Sept. 4 to Sept. 25. The uniformly enthusiastic reviews included mine in The Wall Street Journal:
If I had to choose a single company to stand for all that is best and most characteristic about theater in New York, it might just be the Irish Repertory Theatre. Founded in 1988 and located on a dowdy block far from the dazzle of Broadway, it specializes in “Irish and Irish-American theatre presented with a native understanding,” acted on a thumbnail-size stage awkwardly tucked into one corner of an L-shaped auditorium and produced with the kind of care and intelligence no amount of money can buy….
“An artist should be world-wide in his thinking, but implacably national once he begins to create.” So said Maurice Ravel, whose music is at once quintessentially French and universally intelligible. By the same token, “Philadelphia, Here I Come!” is as Irish as a peat fire, but you don’t have to know anything about County Donegal to recognize Mr. Friel’s characters. No matter where you come from, you grew up with them. They are as real as family–just like this glorious production of a great play.
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