Anthony and Rosemary are two introverted misfits. Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, oblivious to the longing of his neighbor Rosemary, who hopelessly pines for him as the years slip away. With Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between the families, Rosemary fears romantic catastrophe. These two eccentric souls scramble their way towards happiness in a compassionate, delightful tale of how surprising love can be.
Production photos by Michael Brosilow.
Outside Mullingar: Spark of intensity lights an Irish fire
March 22, 2015
By CHRIS JONES
Outside Mullingar, a recent play by John Patrick Shanley (Doubt) and the newest attraction from the Northlight Theatre in Skokie, starts out in a manner familiar to anyone with affection for dramas set in rural Ireland, suggesting a comfortable and comforting St. Patrick’s Day attraction with very few surprises.
We’re in a rustic kitchen – designed by Kevin Depinet – drinking tea. There is talk of death and familial dissent, of long-simmering resentments, of fathers disappointed in sons, of battles over the verdant land of County Westmeath and who deserves its riches. There is rural melancholy, cut with mordent wit. The veteran actors on the Northlight stage, Annabel Armour and William J. Norris, could play their droll, droll characters in their sleep. Mark Montgomery, who plays Anthony Reilly, a 42-year-old man who has never quite gotten out of his village or away from his da, is also very much in his wheelhouse. And BJ Jones’ gently unfolding production feels a lot like a beloved sweater that can be pulled on to assuage the March winds.
Enter Kate Fry, burning.
Once Fry shows up as Rosemary Muldoon – a woman who seems to be consumed by resentments but is, in fact, broiling with love for Anthony, it is a like a hurricane has hit Outside Mullingar. By sheer force of authentic will, and through her innate grasp of how life-and-death stakes are crucial to even the most bucolic and predictable of romantic dramas, Fry grabs this show by the scruff of its scraggly neck and drags it outside for a battle royal.
Her intensity is so palpable, her longings so intense, she raises the game of everyone in the cast – so that, by the end, it seems like Montgomery, who looks like he does not know what has hit him, has stared into the depths of Anthony’s lonely soul and, by necessity, his own.
Fry, who is very selective in what she does and does not do, has quite the body of distinguished work in Chicago theater, but this performance is right up there with her best.
Laughter and longing in John Patrick Shanley’s masterful Outside Mullingar
March 22, 2015
By HEDY WEISS
The very first word uttered in Outside Mullingar, John Patrick Shanley’s great beauty of a play about love and longing, parents and children, and the prickly nature of real estate, is the exclamation, “Jesus,” as it can sound only when spoken with a full-out Irish accent and years of frustration behind it.
You can take the exclamation as an indication that this masterful tale of thwarted possession – whether of hearts, of land or of self – will finally have some resolution. But it is the getting there that drives this 90-minute wonder of a play, a play far more comic than tragic as it spins around what might just be one of the loopiest and most contentious courtships since that of Beatrice and Benedick in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing.
Mullingar finds poetry in dirt, rain and family strife
March 23, 2015
By CATEY SULLIVAN
John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar is rarely less than engrossing. Both a romance and a meditation on death, legacy, and the deep pain that results when dreams are stymied for decades, Outside Mullingar is lyrically rich and marvelously acted.
Director BJ Jones has assembled a top-tier quartet for Shanley’s gently moving and deeply emotional drama … What makes the piece work so well are the performances Jones gets from his marvelous cast. Montgomery wears the primal pain of a wounded animal on his face, even in the more lighthearted moments. Fry’s Rosemary is similarly broken, but never without a core of fiery optimism that allows her to take charge of her life at its lowest point.
Armour brings a gentle but steely grace to the aging Aoife, while Norris is a textbook curmudgeon.
Outside Mullingar is compelling from start to finish. It’s sweet, sad and bracingly unsentimental. Shanley finds poetry and profundity in dirt and rain and fractured families and that poetry is simply gorgeous.
Outside Mullingar a wondrously glowing performance
March 21, 2015
By ERIC SHOEMAKER
Best known as the writer of Moonstruck and Doubt, John Patrick Shanley strums a heartfelt chord with Outside Mullingar. With this production, Northlight Theatre provides the acting chops and the intimacy for a truly wonder-filled performance.
John Patrick Shanley has run the gamut of thought-provoking and touching performance writing, leading to Tony, Oscar, and Pulitzer awards. He has, until recently, avoided writing about his Irish heritage, but something drew him back – just as the characters in Outside Mullingar are drawn back to the land and to one another.
A series of sharply insightful but altogether human scenes between two Irish families brings the younger generation to an appreciation of one another and of life, despite farm life’s caging qualities. In the best way, the script of Mullingar reminds us that it is okay to be small-town, to avoid the crowd, to be yourself, and to appreciate the little things. This funny and genuine script by Shanley is a piece to see now, especially because Shanley is working on the screenplay adaptation.
John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar richly realized at Skokie’s Northlight Theatre
March 25, 2015
By SCOTT C. MORGAN
John Patrick Shanley’s 2014 Broadway comedy Outside Mullingar makes a strong Midwest debut at Northlight Theatre in Skokie. Yet you can bet that some theatergoers will dismiss it as “slight.”
That’s because Outside Mullingar doesn’t carry the same dramatic weight as Shanley’s 2005 drama Doubt, which won multiple theater awards and still holds sway as a modern American classic.
It’s more fair to compare the Tony-nominated Outside Mullingar with Shanley’s Academy Award-winning 1987 screenplay for Moonstruck. Taken on these terms, Outside Mullingar emerges as a richly rewarding comedy to explore long-standing neighborly grudges and long-delayed love among quirky and superstitious Irish farmers.
Shanley’s comedy abounds in snappy dialogue and pained comic situations. But Outside Mullingar also achieves an emotional depth, wistfully looking at unrequited love and parental disappointments.
19 theater shows to see this spring
TIME OUT CHICAGO
February 24, 2015
By KRIS VIRE
Outside Mullingar: Kate Fry and Mark L. Montgomery star as oddball middle-aged neighbors in rural Ireland, stumbling their way toward a late chance at love in John Patrick Shanley’s gentle 2014 dramedy. Northlight artistic director BJ Jones stages the Chicago premiere.
WINTER THEATER SPECIAL Winter premieres: Something new
WINDY CITY TIMES
January 21, 2015
By JONATHAN ABARBANEL
Outside Mullingar, Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, March 13-April 19—Veteran U.S. playwright John Patrick Shanley scored a Tony Award nomination for this play in 2014, and he’s quite the storyteller. This one, set in rural Ireland, offers a long-delayed and maybe-misguided romance between two neighbors whose families just may be planning a feud. Northlight artistic director BJ Jones will direct, and he knows his stuff.
Chicago’s winter/spring theater season an eclectic mix
January 7, 2015
By MARY HOULIHAN
“Outside Mullingar” (March 13-April 19): Northlight Theatre artistic director BJ Jones stages John Patrick Shanley’s comedy-drama about two introverted Irish misfits who lean toward love and happiness despite the possible land feud simmering between their families.
As an Artistic Associate with Remy Bumppo: The Clean House, Northanger Abbey, Seascape, The Goat or, Who is Sylvia (Jeff Award), Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Power, A Delicate Balance, Top Girls andHapgood. Other favorites include: Cabaret (Marriott Lincolnshire/Jeff nomination), Clybourne Park (Asolo Rep), At Home at the Zoo (Victory Gardens/Jeff Nomination), Picnic (Writers), Pride and Prejudice (Cleveland Playhouse), Sunday in the Park with George (Chicago Shakespeare), Long Day’s Journey into Night (Irish Rep & the Galway Arts Festival), Before My Eyes (Victory Gardens), Angels in America I & II (Journeymen/Jeff Award), Grapes of Wrath (Ford’s Theatre D.C,) andFirst Look Repertory of New Work (Steppenwolf). Film credits include: Amityville Horror, Conviction and Contagion. Annabel is the recipient of three Joseph Jefferson Awards and two After Dark Awards.
Kate Fry is happy to be back at Northlight, where she performed in Outside Mullingar and The Miser. Most recently, she played Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst at Court Theatre, where she has appeared in many productions over the years. Other Chicago credits include work with Writers’ Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theatre. She has also worked with Center Theatre Group in LA, McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and Lincoln Center. She is the recipient of three Joseph Jefferson awards, the local Sarah Siddons award, an After Dark award, and Chicago Magazine’s actress of the year. Kate is married to actor/teacher Timothy Edward Kane, with whom she has two sons.
Mark returns to Northlight where he appeared in Discord, Outside Mullingar (Jeff nomination, Best Actor), As Bees in Honey Drown and Experiment with an Air Pump. Other select Chicago credits: 2666, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Camino Real and Stage Kiss (Goodman); Hedda Gabler, The Letters, Buried Child and The Scene (Writers); Agamemnon, Iphigenia in Aulis, and M. Butterfly (Court) and productions with Chicago Shakespeare, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Journeymen and Remy Bumppo among others. New York credits: Mamma Mia! (Broadway), Our Town (Barrow Street), Macbeth (Public). Regional credits: Julius Caesar (American Repertory) as well as the show’s French tour. Television: Law & Order, Chicago Fire and Empire.
William J Norris
William has appeared in nearly 200 productions over 44 years at Northlight, Goodman, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Marriott Lincolnshire, Meadowbrook, Syracuse Stage, Indiana Repertory and various locations in Europe. Dillinger, His Satanic Majesty and Before I Wake are a few of his plays which have premiered in Chicago and gone on to be produced nationwide. Television and movie credits include A Taste of Romance, The Untouchables, The Babe, The Letter, The Pit and the Pendulum and The Last Affair. Most recently he can be seen in the short film Restoration. Mr. Norris is also the co-screenwriter of the cult classic Herbert West: Re-Animator as well as the co-author of the award-winning musical of the same name. He has been honored in his profession for his work as actor, director and writer with awards that include an Emmy, a Joseph Jefferson, five Artisan and an L.A. Critics Circle Awards.
John Patrick Shanley
John Patrick Shanley has had his theatrical work performed extensively across the United States and around the world. For his play Doubt, he received both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In the arena of screenwriting, he has nine films to his credit, most recently Doubt with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Viola Davis and Amy Adams, which was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay. The film of Doubt was also directed by Mr. Shanley. Other films include Five Corners (Special Jury Prize, Barcelona Film Festival), Alive, Joe Versus the Volcano (which he also directed) and “Live from Baghdad” for HBO (Emmy nomination). For his script of Moonstruck he received both the Writers Guild of America Award and an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. The Writers Guild of America awarded Mr. Shanley the 2009 Lifetime Achievement in Writing. He is grateful for his good fortune, most especially for the benefactions of his mother and father.
BJ is in his 21st season as Artistic Director of Northlight. Mr Jones is a two-time Joseph Jefferson Award Winning actor and a three-time nominated director. He has directed the world premieres of Relativity, Charm, Faceless, White Guy on the Bus, Chapatti, The Outgoing Tide, Better Late, and Rounding Third. Notably he has directed productions of Outside Mullingar, Grey Gardens, The Price, The Lieutenant of Innishmore, and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. As a producer he has guided the world premieres of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Shining Lives, The Last Five Years, and Studs Terkel’s ‘The Good War.’ Additional directorial credits include Pitmen Painters (Timeline); 100 Saints You Should Know (Steppenwolf); Glengarry Glen Ross (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta); The Lady with All the Answers (Cherry Lane, New York); Animal Crackers (Baltimore Center Stage); Three Musketeers, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing (Utah Shakespeare Festival), and four productions at the Galway International Arts Festival. As a performer, he has appeared at Northlight, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Court and other theatres throughout Chicago. Film/TV credits include The Fugitive, Body Double, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Early Edition, Cupid, and Turks, among others.
Kevin is delighted to be working at Northlight for his first time. Other credits include productions with Steppenwolf, Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Court, Victory Gardens, Writers, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Paramount and Chicago Children’s Theatre. Broadway credits include associate designer for August: Osage County, The Motherf**ker with the Hat and Of Mice and Men. Regional credits include productions with American Players, McCarter, Arden, Milwaukee Repertory, Yale Repertory, Denver Theatre Center, Saint Louis Repertory, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Mark Taper Forum. Film credits include scenery for Michael Mann’s Public Enemies. He has designed for the National Theatre of Great Britain in London, Discovery Channel and Disney. Kevin studied at Ball State University and the Yale School of Drama. He currently serves as an adjunct professor of design at DePaul University.
Rachel is honored to be joining Northlight for the 23rd time after last season’s By the Water and Relativity. Her designs have previously been seen Off Broadway at Pearl Theatre and regionally at Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf First Look, Writers, Court, Milwaukee Rep, Great Lakes Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare, American Players, Florentine Opera, Drury Lane, Arizona Theatre Company, Resident Ensemble Players, Kansas City Rep, Utah Shakespeare, Actors Theatre Louisville, Illinois Shakespeare, Next Act, Peninsula Players, Remy Bumppo, Timeline, Chamber, Renaissance Theaterworks, Skylight Music Theatre, Arkansas Shakespeare, Children’s Theatre of Madison and University of Michigan. Other professional credits include NBC’S Law & Order, Chicago Opera Theatre, and Garsington Opera. Rachel is a recipient of a 2011 Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan and a 2009 Joseph Jefferson Award for Voysey Inheritance. www.rachellaritz.com
Northlight credits include The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Relativity, By the Water, Charm, Shining Lives, Outside Mullingar, White Guy on the Bus, Detroit ’67, The Odd Couple, Ten Chimneys, Season’s Greetings, A Life, Grey Gardens, The Retreat From Moscow, Lady, Stella & Lou, The Outgoing Tide, Better Late and Chapatti (the last four also at the Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland). Other work has been seen at Lookingglass, Victory Gardens, About Face, Remy Bumppo, Writers, Steppenwolf and Walkabout. JR designed lighting for seven years of the Steppenwolf TRAFFIC Series, and five Steppenwolf performances in Chicago’s Millennium Park. He has served as head of the Lighting Department at Steppenwolf since 1995.
Original Music & Sound Design
Andrew returns to Northlight where he previously collaborated on Discord, Funnyman, Outside Mullingar, White Guy on the Bus, Tom Jones, Stella & Lou, The Outgoing Tide, She Stoops to Conquer and Mauritius. Andy is an Associate Artist at TimeLine where he has been designing since 1999. Regionally he has composed for American Players, Indiana Rep, Summer Shakespeare at Notre Dame and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.
Laura D. Glenn
Production Stage Manager
Over the past fourteen years with Northlight, production stage management credits include Outside Mullingar, The Mousetrap, Chapatti, The Whipping Man, The Odd Couple, Ten Chimneys, Season’s Greetings, Sense & Sensibility, A Life, Souvenir, Better Late (also at the Galway Arts Festival), Retreat from Moscow, Permanent Collection, Cat Feet, Blue/Orange, Tuesdays with Morrie, Sky Girls, Rounding Third and A Skull in Connemara. Other credits include stage management for Domesticated, Grand Concourse, The Qualms, Lord of the Flies, Slowgirl, Head of Passes, Three Sisters,Middletown, To Kill a Mockingbird, a parallelogram, Superior Donuts, Betrayal, Love Song, I Never Sang for my Father, The Violet Hour, Purple Heart, The Drawer Boy, Picasso at the Lapin Agile and many others at Steppenwolf over the past twenty-five years. International credits include Orange Flower Water and Purple Heart (Steppenwolf) at the Galway Arts Festival in Galway, Ireland; The Man Who Came to Dinner – BITE festival at the Barbican Center in London; and the regional and Broadway productions of Buried Child. Laura has been a proud member of Actors Equity Association for almost twenty-six years.