Mullingar: The place behind the play

John Patrick Shanley’s romantic comedy Outside Mullingar derives its setting in the county of Westmeath, Ireland and the real town of Mullingar. The administrative, business, and cultural center of the county, the town was visited by Shanley as he was writing the play. Here are a few quick facts about the history of Mullingar:

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Photo by Finn Mac Ginty

• With a current population of 20,000 inhabitants, Mullingar is roughly equal in size to South Lake Tahoe, CA.

• The town was first founded by the Normans over 800 years ago. In 1575, Mullingar was decimated by the Black Plague and was later burned to the ground by the O’Neills in 1597.

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The Hill of Tara in Meath, Ireland

 

  • It was the seat of the ancient kingdom of Meath, and is now the administrative and business center of present day County Westmeath.

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• The town is approximately 80 km (or 50 miles) outside of Dublin and can be reached easily by train, car, or bus.

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Lough Owel

• Mullingar is located in the heart of Ireland’s lake country with five major lakes (or loughs) in close proximity attracting tourists throughout the year: Lough Ennell, Lough Owel, Lough Derraverragh, Lough Lene, and Lough Iron.

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Statue of James Joyce and Irish musical icon Joe Dolan in Mullingar

• James Joyce spent time in Mullingar in 1900. The town is referenced in his novels Stephen Hero and Ulysses.

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• The most recognizable landmark in the town is the Cathedral of Christ the King. Opened in 1936 and consecrated in 1939, it was the first cathedral to be dedicated to Christ the King.

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Photo by Finn Mac Ginty

•  During the annual Kilbeggan races, the town transforms itself into a festival of sporting and vibrant social activities. First held in 1940, these horse races occur throughout the year and includes live music, children’s entertainment, and the Best-Dressed Lady Competition.

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  • A famous expression heard in County Westmeath is “Beef to the heels of a Mullingar heifer,” complimenting the quality of Mullingar cattle.

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• Mullingar is also the hometown of both Irish singer-songwriter Joe Nolan and One Direction’s Niall Wilson.

Reserve your seats for Outside Mullingar today!

Introducing the cast of OUTSIDE MULLINGAR

Four familiar faces return to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley in John Patrick Shanley’s romantic comedy:

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STEVE BRADY (Tony Reilly) appeared in TheatreWorks’ The Great Pretender as Mr. Felt (2014, SFCC nomination for Best Actor). He appeared on Broadway in Inherit the Wind, and toured nationally in The Exonerated, including two weeks at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco. He toured the world with West Side Story, and Germany as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Mr. Brady has performed off-Broadway several times, most recently in Bill W. and Dr. Bob (SoHo Playhouse). In the past year he’s played J. Edgar Hoover in All the Way (Denver Center Theatre), Sigmund Freud in Freud’s Last Session (Riverside Theatre, Florida), Anything Goes opposite Sally Struthers (Gateway Playhouse), and Singin’ in the Rain (North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly, MA). TV: Law & Order, Law & Order CI, Spin City, Seinfeld, Diff’rent Strokes, and others. Continue reading

How do you live a Lippa lyric?

During The Life of the Party, we’re asking a special question of our audience in the lobby of the theatre: Which Andrew Lippa lyric relates the most to your life?

I made some mistakes, but I made something new. And I love my life this way!
(The Man in the Ceiling)

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Andrew Lippa

I’m not made for things like mowin’ lawns or apron strings
I’m my best when not at rest.
(Big Fish) Continue reading

Preview the music of EDDIE THE MARVELOUS, WHO WILL SAVE THE WORLD

Check out this gorgeous live rendition of “Make a Wish” by the Kilbanes with actor Reggie White from Eddie the Marvelous, Who will Save the World:

In this innovative new musical, Eddie the Marvelous fronts a band, struts the stage, saves the world. Eddie the Real can’t leave the house, can’t hold a job, can’t keep a friend. His mom makes every sacrifice, but when she finds a new man neither Eddie knows what to say or what to sing.

Eddie the Marvelous, Who Will Save the World will be a part of our 2016 New Works Festival, with a cast that includes White.

Reserve your tickets today!

Summer Studio @ TWSV Presents: THE FEATHERS!

The Feathers

All summer long, the teen students of our Summer Studio have been hard at work on The Feathers, an original play adapted from the classic Greek comedy The Birds…with a unique twist. Given the basic outline of the classic text, these students have written the remainder of the play themselves, including the addition of music and hip hop dance. We asked a few of our teen Lin-Manuel Mirandas to describe in one sentence why you should see The Feathers, and here’s what they had to say:

The Feathers Flyer

“Come see The Feathers because it is a whirlwind of witty humor and commentary and current events.” -Julia C Continue reading

Spotlight on Andrew Lippa

The Life of the Party celebrates the music of Andrew Lippa. Before you see the show, take a look back at a few highlights from his long career:

The Life of the Party performed at the Menier Chocolate Factory

 

Lippa wrote the music for John & Jen, a two-person musical which premiered at the Goodspeed Opera House in 1993 and opened off-Broadway in 1995. For the show’s twentieth anniversary in 2015 it was revived off-Broadway in a production starring Kate Baldwin and Conor Ryan.

Check out Lippa’s thoughts on the 2015 production and the 20th anniversary of the show:

 

Continue reading

A sneak peek at GRAVITY

The excitement is building for Gravity, a new musical by writers Joel Chapman, Weston Gaylord, Matt Herrero, Jessia Hoffman, and Ken Savage, all current or former students at Stanford University.

Gravity Group Formal Photo

This special next-generation event will be a part of our 2016 New Works Festival! Take a sneak peek at the creative process and the music in this live performance from Stanford earlier this year:

We’re less than two weeks from our 2016 New Works Festival. Learn more about this year’s lineup!

 

 

The Menier Chocolate Factory: A slice of London’s finest fringe theatre in the Bay Area

 

“This partnership with the celebrated Chocolate Factory is a thrilling step forward for TheatreWorks,” says TW Artistic Director Robert Kelley. “We’re proud that our long and distinguished history with composer Andrew Lippa has led to this electrifying American Premiere.”

We are honored to be co-producing The Life of the Party this summer with The Menier Chocolate Factory, reuniting author and star Andrew Lippa with director David Babani. Built in 1870 to house a chocolate factory, this unique space now comprises a restaurant and bar, rehearsal room, and 150 seat theatre. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Babani, the Chocolate Factory has been producing musicals, plays, live music, and stand-up comedy and is considered one of London’s premiere off-West End companies.

The Chocolate Factory received great international acclaim when their 2005 production of Sunday in the Park with George opened on Broadway, receiving eight Tony Award nominations including Best Revival of a Musical and acting nods for stars Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell.

Check out highlights from the Broadway production:

2010 proved to be a major year for Chocolate Factory productions on Broadway, with their revivals of La Cage aux Folles and A Little Night Music both picking up Tony nominations for Best Revival of a Musical. La Cage went on to win the award, providing Babani with his first Tony. Continue reading