Irish Rep Plans Memorial for Playwright Brian Friel | Playbill

News Irish Rep Plans Memorial for Playwright Brian Friel Off-Broadway's Irish Repertory Theatre has scheduled a Dec. 7 memorial service for Brian Friel, the Irish playwright who was, for decades, a leading voice on stages on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. Friel died Oct. 2 in Greencastle, County Donegal, Ireland, at age 86.

Among those who will "honor the life and legacy" with remembrances and readings will be Gabriel Byrne, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Jim Dale, Joe Dowling, Barry Grove, Gregory Harrington, Doug Hughes, Geraldine Hughes, Barbara Jones, John Keating, Emily Mann, Charlotte Moore, Paul Muldoon, Ciarán O'Reilly, Bill Whelan and others.

The memorial is scheduled to start at 4 PM at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, at 261 West 47th Street in New York. The event is free and open to the public, but Irish Rep asks that attendees RSVP via email to [email protected].

Mr. Friel first found success in 1964 with Philadelphia, Here I Come!, a tender, mournful memory play about Gar, a young Irishman looking back with regret, humor and questions over his past years and relationships. The lead character was split into two personas, Gar Public and Gar Private. Like many of the playwright’s works, it was set in the fictional Irish hamlet of Ballybeg.

Philadelphia was a success, establishing the dramatist's name, and moving to New York, where it received a Tony Award nomination.

Mr. Friel was a constant presence on world stages after that, prolific in his production of plays and rarely experiencing fallow periods. In many ways, he became the leading Irish playwright of his generation. He was also regularly honored. His Dancing at Lughnasa won the Tony Award for Best Play and the NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play, as well as an Olivier Award. Aristocrats, another of his better-known works, won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play and the Evening Standard Award. When he turned 70, Dublin held a Friel Festival.

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