Friday 18 October 2019

Wexford on stage in New York

Michael Londra with Irish Consul General Barbara Jones.
Michael Londra with Irish Consul General Barbara Jones.
Elizabeth Whyte, Billy Roche, John Banville and Barbara Jones.
Elizabeth Whyte, Colette Morris, Barbara Jones and George Heslin.

By Maria Pepper

A large number of Wexford people who are resident in New York turned up at the Lincoln Center for a special theatre production presented by Wexford Arts Centre.

The Irish Consul General Barbara Jones, originally from Enniscorthy, and John Murphy, president of the New York Wexford Association who is a native of Ramsgrange were among the audience at a staged reading of Wexfour, four short plays written by the Wexford writers John Banville, Colm Toibín, Billy Roche and Eoin Colfer to celebrate the Art's Centre's 40th anniversary in 2014.

Arts Centre executive director Elizabeth Whyte who was the producer, travelled to New York with Billy Roche and John Banville for the event and they were joined there by the director Ben Barnes who was already working in the US.

The New York-based Irish actors Billy Carter, Geraldine Hughes and Colin Lane who have extensive film, television and Broadway credits, delivered fine performances under the direction of Barnes. The stage manager was Colette Morris, originally from Carrig-on-Bannow and now living in New York.

The production at the New York Library for Performing Arts in the Lincoln Center, was hosted by 1st Irish Festival and Origin Theatre with George Heslin, artistic director of the festival and Evan Leslie, programme manager of the Lincoln Center saying they were delighted to host such high calibre writers from Ireland.

Barbara Jones who chaired a panel discussion after the show, said she was very proud to be be from Wexford, a county with amazing artistic talent. She commended Wexford Arts Centre on its work.

The successful production was supported by Culture Ireland and Ist Irish Festival along with Wexford supporters in New York.

The production which featured music by Eleanor McEvoy included a new piece from John Banville, based on The Book of Evidence.

After the panel talk, the Wexford-born US-based singer Michael Londra performed a couple of songs including a beautiful rendition of Boolavogue.

Michael then invited the Broadway performers Curt Olds and Cindy Marchionda to perform a composition which will be featured in Noel, the new festive musical by Eoin Colfer with music by composer Liam Bates which Londra is producing with Venuworks partner Steve Peters who was also in attendance. The production will run at the National Opera House in December and will be directed by Ben Barnes.

Also in attendance at Wexfour were the New York based Pierce Turner and June Anderson, the choreographer, writer and wife of Larry Kirwan. Audience members were treated to complimentary Visit Wexford guides and Elizabeth White took the opportunity to put on a display of new writing by Wexford female writers Michelle Dooley Mahon, Cat Hogan and Carmel Harrington.

Wexford People

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