Sunday, January 06, 2008

Ah, Wilderness! Sunshine in O'Neill's Shadow

If "Long Day's Journey" is O'Neill's masterwork, "Ah, Wilderness!" is a 180-degree turn, one of the few comedies in his oevre.

This Independence Day, 1906 tale of the coming of age of a young Irish-American was modeled after the McGinley family of New London; they published the New London Day, the local paper where O'Neill was for some time a reporter.

Charlotte Moore of the Irish Repertory Theatre
Photo credit: Patricia Jameson-Sammartano

The play gave rise to the musical comedy "Take Me Along," for which Jackie Gleason won a Tony Award in 1960, and which is being revived at the Irish Repertory Theatre in the future.
There is no scheduled date; the play is in reviews currently. Said Charlotte Moore, Artistic Director of the Irish Rep, "This is a big musical and it's scary to do a big musical in a small space such as ours."

The audience was larger the second night of the festival, possibly owing to warmer weather. Some people wander in off the street; another woman told me she had seen the festival advertised in "The New York Times." We know of two people who found it courtesy of the Irish Rep's website.

Patricia Jameson-Sammartano
Culture Editor, WGT

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