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Pride Films and Plays to produce A Man of No Importance
2019-08-02

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Chicago, IL - Pride Films and Plays will stage the first Chicago production in more than a decade of A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, the heartwarming musical created by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and Terrence McNally, the team that wrote RAGTIME and ANASTASIA. A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE is based on a 1994 film starring Albert Finney as a Dublin bus conductor and features a gorgeous Irish-influenced score. Donterrio Johnson, the Jeff award-winning actor who directed PFP's BUYER AND CELLAR earlier this year and is currently appearing in THE SPITFIRE GRILL with American Blues Theater, will direct. Music direction is by Robert Ollis, who most recently music directed SOUTHERN COMFORT for Pride Films and Plays and was a 2019 Jeff nominee for his music direction of HAYMARKET: A NEW FOLK MUSICAL. Ollis was Music Director for the 2008 production of A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, which earned five Jeff Award nominations for Bailiwick Repertory.

Alfie Byrne is a middle-aged, unmarried bus conductor who idolizes Oscar Wilde and harbors a secret crush on his handsome young co-worker Robbie Fay. Much of the musical's comedy comes from Alfie's determined efforts to stage a production of Wilde's SALOME with his quirky community theater group.

Director Johnson says "I find A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE to be above all, a story about community and how art is keeping this particular community together. I'm very honored to be bringing A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE back to Chicago with this unbelievable and diverse cast of actor/musicians. This is a show I've always had an affinity for, and to be given the chance to retell this story about acceptance and the power of the theatre will be an awe-inspiring experience for the cast and audiences alike."

Johnson's cast will be led by Ryan Lanning as Alfie. Lanning appeared as Robbie Fay in the 2008 production. Lanning is a Jeff Award winner for his Molina in Bailiwick's KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN and his leading roles on Chicago stages also include the title roles in CANDIDE for Porchlight and HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH for Haven Theatre. Robbie Fay will be played by Steven Romero Schaeffer, whose recent credits include PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES ( Troupe America National Tour ), BIG RIVER ( Theatre at the Center ) and ALTAR BOYZ ( Theo Ubique ).

Also featured in Johnson's diverse cast are Ciera Dawn ( of THE LITTLE MERMAID and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Paramount and WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT…. at Steppenwolf ) as Adele Rice, Sarah Beth Tanner ( of HAYMARKET for Underscore Theatre and TWELFTH NIGHT for Midsommer Flight ) as Lily Byrne, and Jeff Award-winner Tommy Bullington ( who most recently played Pseudolus in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at Metropolis Arts Center ) as William Carney.

Also in the cast are Ryan Armstrong ( Ernie, Rasher Flynn ), Tiffany Taylor ( Mrs. Patrick ), Ian Rigg ( Father Kenny ), Kimberly Lawson ( Mrs. Grace ), Jessica Lauren Fisher ( Miss Crowe ), Christopher Davis ( Baldy ), Orlando Shelly ( Peter ), Thomas Tong ( Sully O'Hara ), Kevin O'Connell ( Brenton Beret, Oscar Wilde ), Patrick O'Keefe ( Swing ) and Jenni Carroll ( Swing ). The production team includes Robert S. Kuhn ( costume design ), Evan Frank ( scenic design ), Mike McShane ( lighting design ), Allison Petrillo ( assistant director ), Emily Marrazzo ( stage manager ), and Justus Wright ( sound engineer ).

A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE will be staged in the 85-seat Broadway Theatre of the Pride Arts Center and will open to the press on Monday, October 14 following previews from Thursday, October 10. It will play through Sunday November 10. Tickets will be on sale soon at www.pridefilmsandplays.com

tation by the Tony Award-winning writers of RAGTIME and ANASTASIA of the 1994 film that starred Albert Finney. Alfie Byrne is a bus conductor in 1964 Dublin whose heart holds secrets that he can't share with anyone but his imagined confidante, Oscar Wilde. When he attempts to present an amateur production of Wilde's SALOME in the local church hall, he must face the forces of bigotry and shame over a love "that dare not speak its name." But the redemptive power of theatre changes his life and gains him the support of his true friends.

ABOUT PRIDE FILMS AND PLAYS

Pride Films and Plays produces a year-round festival of work centered on LGBTQ characters or themes that are essential viewing for all. Since opening Pride Arts Center in 2016, with our two intimate spaces, Pride Films and Plays is in many ways the center of queer programming in the Midwest thanks to our award-winning full productions, cabarets, film fests, new play development and special events. Founded in 2010, Pride Films and Plays has earned 36 Jeff Recommendations and Awards.

Pride Arts is grateful for hundreds of individual donors, especially the recurring donors in the Pride Society. The company is most grateful for foundation support from Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency, City Arts Grant, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard Driehaus Foundation, The Heath Fund, the Pauls Foundation, The Service Club of Chicago, Arts and Business Council, Taproot Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Elliott Fredland Charitable Trust, AmazonSmile Foundation, among others.

Pride Arts is grateful for the support of Braintree, which sponsors our Pride Parade float, the Australian Consulate-General Chicago and Qantas Airlines, and the Consulate General of Canada, Chicago. Pride Arts is a member of the League of Chicago Theaters, Northalsted Business Association, Buena Park Neighbors, Uptown United, and Lakeview East Business Association.

—From a press release


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