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Melissa Gilbert, Rufus Collins to Reprise Their Roles in The Dead, 1904

They played Gretta and Gabriel, respectively, in Irish Repertory Theatre's immersive James Joyce adaptation last year.

Terry Donnelly, Melissa Gilbert, Patricia Kilgarriff, and Patti Perkins in last year's production of The Dead, 1904.
(© Carol Rosegg)

Irish Repertory Theatre, in association with the American Irish Historical Society, have announced that Melissa Gilbert and Rufus Collins will reprise their roles as Gretta and Gabriel in The Dead, 1904, which is returning to the American Irish Historical Society for a third straight year. The immersive adaptation of James Joyce's classic story will run for eight weeks only, November 17-January 13, 2019, with an official November 29 opening.

The rest of the cast will include Kimberly Doreen Burns (Finian's Rainbow) as Mary Jane, Ciaran Byrne (The Freedom of the City) as Freddy Malins, Peter Cormican (Rothschild & Sons) as Mr. Brown, Terry Donnelly (Crackskull Row) as Mrs. Malins, Meg Hennessy (Closer) as Lilly, Patricia Kilgarriff (Steel Magnolias) as Kate Morkan, Robert Mack (Three Mo' Tenors) as Bartell D'Arcy, Heather Martin Bixler as Miss Daly, Aedin Moloney (When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout) as Molly Ivors, and Patti Perkins (The Full Monty) as Aunt Julia.

The production team features costume design by Leon Dobkowski, lighting design by Michael Gottlieb, sound design by M. Florian Staab, properties and interior design by Deirdre Brennan, and hair and wigs by Robert-Charles Vallance. Choreography is by Barry McNabb, with Stephen Gabis serving as dialect consultant and Mark Hartman as music consultant.

Directed by Irish Rep cofounder Ciarán O'Reilly, The Dead, 1904 is adapted by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon (Moy Sand and Gravel) and novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz (Admission, You Should Have Known) from the final tale in Joyce's 1914 short story collection, Dubliners. It tells of a disillusioned man named Gabriel Conroy who, along with his wife Gretta, attends a holiday party in 1904 Dublin thrown at the home of his two elderly aunts. Throughout the evening, guests sing, dance, eat, and drink while outside, snow gently falls, and Gabriel and his wife contemplate their pasts, futures, happiness, life, and, ultimately, death.

The production is staged in the circa-1900 townhouse of the American Irish Historical Society on the Upper East Side for an audience of just 57 people per night. The production travels over three floors of the building, which has been restored to period decoration. Rooms used include the lobby, parlor, dining room, and upstairs library.

A holiday meal, inspired by descriptions of the feast in Joyce's story, has been created by Great Performances to be served to both the cast and audience in the townhouse's elegant dining room. Wine, stout, and spirits will be served with the meal.

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