Donnybrook!, Musical of "The Quiet Man," Begins in NYC; James Barbour, Jenny Powers, Ted Koch, Kathy Fitzgerald Star

By Kenneth Jones
February 7, 2013

James Barbour and Jenny Powers star in Irish Repertory Theatre's new production of Donnybrook!, the Johnny Burke-scored 1961 Broadway musical about the code of masculinity in Ireland. Off-Broadway performances begin Feb. 7.



The short-lived musical, which spawned a cast album, has music and lyrics by Burke and a book by Robert E. McEnroe, drawing from the movie "The Quiet Man." (Donnybrook is slang for a brawl or fistfight.)

Irish Rep artistic director Charlotte Moore directs the show, which is billed this way: "Sean Enright [played by Barbour], an Irish-American prizefighter who has killed a man in the ring and vowed never to raise a hand again to anyone, returns to Ireland from America. He meets and woos a tempestuous Irish village maiden, Mary Kate [played by Powers], who wants a man who will stand up and fight for her. However, Ellen's brother Will believes John to be a coward and gets in the way of their romance."

Barbour's Broadway credits include Jane Eyre, Assassins, Beauty and the Beast and A Tale of Two Cities, and Irish Rep's Oliver! concert. Powers appeared in Broadway's Little Women and Grease. Music direction is by John Bell.

The cast also features Ted Koch (The Pillowman) as Will; with Samuel Cohen, Patrick Cummings (New Girl in Town), Terry Donnelly (The Shaughraun), Kathy Fitzgerald (9 to 5), Mary Mallen, Barbara Marineau (The Women), Kern McFadden, Kevin McGuire (Les Miserables) and David Sitler.

Opening night is Feb. 17 on Irish Rep's Francis J. Greenburger Mainstage Theatre at 132 W. 22nd Street.

Donnybrook! features choreography by Barry McNabb; scenic design by James Noone; lighting design by Brian Nason; costume design by Linda Fisher; sound design by Zachary Williamson; and hair & wig design by Robert-Charles Vallance. Production stage manager is Pamela Brusoski. Assistant stage manager is Rebecca C. Monroe.

Songwriter Burke's song catalog between the 1920s and 1950s includes "Pennies From Heaven," "Imagination," "I've Got a Pocketful of Dreams," "Moonlight Becomes You," "Sunday, Monday, or Always," "It Could Happen to You," and the Academy Award-winning "Swinging on a Star."

McEnroe's plays include the popular comedy The Silver Whistle, which ran more than 200 performances on Broadway in 1948, starring Jose Ferrer, and Mulligan's Song.

The original production of Donnybrook! opened on Broadway in 1961, directed and choreographed by Jack Cole. Running only a month, it starred Art Lund as Enright, Susan Johnson as Kathy Carey, Philip Bosco as Will.

For tickets and more information about Irish Rep, visit irishrep.org.