Also MTC presents world premiere of ‘Outside Mullingar’

MACHINAL's Henny Russell, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Spector, Ashley Bell, Maria-Christina Oliveras

MACHINAL’s Henny Russell, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Spector, Ashley Bell, Maria-Christina Oliveras

*Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Machinal, starring uber talented Golden Globe nominee Rebecca Hall, written by American journalist and playwright Sophie Treadwell and directed by acclaimed British director Lyndsey Turner, began previews on December 20, 2013 and opened Thursday, January 16, 2014 at the American Airlines Theatre on 42nd Street for a limited engagement through March 2, 2014.

Inspired by the infamous 1927 murder trial of Ruth Snyder, Machinal tells the story of a young woman who works as a stenographer in the industrial, male-dominated world of the 1920s.  She finds her only joy in an illicit love affair, but when reality sets in and she must return to her routine existence, she’ll go to any lengths to regain her freedom.  A groundbreaking work in the landscape of American theatre, Machinal is a riveting look at the danger that can come from a life unlived.

As you enter the theatre, a stunning placard with a brief synopsis of the story greets theatergoers who actually stop to read the fascinating story – causing lobby gridlock — about the beleaguered woman who leaves a lackluster job as a pool stenographer to marry her boss hoping to find the excitement that eluded her only to find more boring behavior that includes her becoming a mother.

Hence she strays outside her uninspiring marriage and engages in an adulterous affair that brings her the kind of joy that she’s always desired but never felt in her lifeless marriage.  To keep this going, she makes a life changing.  This is “must see” theater!

Machinal’s brilliant cast includes Suzanne Bertish as “Mother,” Morgan Spector as “Lover,” Michael Cumpsty as “Husband,” and Damian Baldet, Ashley Bell, Jeff Biehl, Arnie Burton, Ryan Dinning, Scott Drummond, Dion Graham, Edward James Hyland, Jason Loughlin, Maria-Christina Oliveras, Daniel Pearce, Henny Russell, Karen Walsh and Michael Warner.

Machinal’s award worthy creative team consists of Es Devlin (set design), Michael Krass (costume design), Jane Cox (lighting design), Matt Tierney (sound design), Mathew Herbert (original music), Paul Huntley (hair & wig design), Sam Pinkleton (choreography) and Kate Wilson (dialect coach).

The celebrated Roundabout Theatre Company’s top notch executive staff who consistently brings the crème de la crème productions to the Great White Way includes Todd Holmes (artistic director), Harold Wolpert (managing director), Julio C. Levy (executive Director) and Sydney Beers (general manager).  Polk & Co is the press representative.  (Photos by Bruce Glikas @

OUTSIDE MULLINGAR's John Patrick Shanley (playwright), Dearbhla Molloy, Brian F. O'Byrne, Debra Messing, Peter Maloney, Doug Hughes (director)

OUTSIDE MULLINGAR’s John Patrick Shanley (playwright), Dearbhla Molloy, Brian F. O’Byrne, Debra Messing, Peter Maloney, Doug Hughes (director)

*Manhattan Theatre Club’s world premiere production of Outside Mullingar, the new play by Pulitzer, Oscar and Tony-winning John Patrick Shanley and Tony Award winning-director Doug Hughes, opened on January 23. 2014 at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street) for a strictly limited 11-week engagement to March 16, 2014.  The romantic comedy reunites the award-winning team that brought you DoubtShanley and Hughes.

Emmy Award winner Debra Messing (“Will & Grace,” “Smash,” Collected Stories) makes her Broadway debut alongside Tony Award winner Brían F. O’Byrne (Frozen, Doubt, Million Dollar Baby), Peter Maloney (The Cripple of Inishmaan, Dinner at Eight), and Dearbhla Molloy (Dancing at Lughnasa, Arcadia at London’s Haymarket Theatre).

Messing and O’Byrne play Anthony and Rosemary, two introverted misfits straddling 40. Anthony has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, a state of affairs that — due to his painful shyness — suits him well.  Rosemary lives right next door, determined to have him, watching the years slip away.

With Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between their families, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe.  But then, in this very Irish story with a surprising depth of poetic passion, these yearning, eccentric souls fight their way towards solid ground and some kind of happiness.  Their journey is heartbreaking, funny as hell, and ultimately deeply moving.

Watching Messing on stage I found it hard to believe that this was her Broadway debut as she was very comfortable in her role and handled her lines with the same meticulous precision as she did on her long-running TV series “Will & Grace.”  O’Byrne was no slouch either.  He was a perfect match for her seamless stage presence and just as engaging — meeting her wry wit with unabashed warmth.  The passionate pair delivered compelling performances that were effortlessly enchanting from scene to scene.

You couldn’t help but fall in love with them long before they fell in love with each other.  I loved their puppy love chemistry – the kind of tender innocence that you experience at a very young age and never grow tired of.  Like the time when they were kids and he (Anthony) pushed her (Rosemary) down and she knew then that she was in love with him.  Their stellar performances were abetted by Maloney and Molloy who held their own.

Outside Mullingar which is Shanley’s 10th play at MTC was commissioned by MTC through the U.S. Trust New American Play Commissioning Program.  The play is a recipient of an Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award.  MTC is manned by Lynne Meadow (artistic director) and Barry Grove (executive producer).

The creative team for Outside Mullingar includes John Lee Beatty (scenic design), Catherine Zuber (costume design), Mark McCullough (lighting design), Fitz Patton (original music & sound design), and Stephen Gabis (dialect coach).  Boneau/Bryan-Brown is the press representative.  (Photos courtesy Bruce Glickas

New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, book reviews, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles, theater and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets.  Contact her via: [email protected]

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard