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News Section: Arts and Entertainment

Frank Galati Puts Musical Twist on Classic Play

Published Monday, January 6, 2014 12:04 am

SARASOTA — Asolo Repertory Theatre kicks off its 2013-14 rep season with Philadelphia Here I Come! Directed by Academy Award nominee and two-time Tony Award winner Frank Galati, previews for the show will be held January 7 – 9 and the production will run from January 10 – April 12. Hailed as one of the best playwrights in the English language, Brian Friel's first great play tells the humorous and touching story of a young man embarking on a new life, struggling to find the strength to leave.

As 25-year-old Gareth "Gar" O’Donnell prepares to move from Ballybeg, Ireland to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to pursue his American dream, he is plagued by his relationship with his uncommunicative and emotionally unavailable father. Gar must also say goodbye to Kate Doogan – his great love who he regrettably let slip through his fingers. Above all, he is challenged by one simple question – does he truly want to leave his home?

Philadelphia Here I Come! examines the dynamic relationship between Public and Private Gar – played on stage by two different actors. Friel brilliantly pours life into Gar's subconscious in the form of Private Gar, whose character serves as the vehicle for his counterpart’s secret insecurities, hopes and dreams. On the eve of Public Gar's departure, he and his spirited alter-ego reminisce about the life and people, from childhood buddies to his beloved family housekeeper, they will have to leave behind.



“This brilliant, touching and funny story is about an Irish boy named Gareth who has immense difficulty expressing himself but must say goodbye to everything and everyone he knows and loves,” said Michael Donald Edwards, Producing Artistic Director of Asolo Rep. “For Gar, Philadelphia represents a true opportunity, a new life, and freedom from his very confining world. The play takes place over the course of one day, and in that time we inhabit the Irish cultural universe that Gar will bring to his new American world."

Director Frank Galati injects music and merriment into the production with traditional Irish folk tunes and classical pieces that add to the poetic and theatrical nature of the play.

“Gar’s pursuit of the American Dream illuminates the aspirations and sacrifices of millions of immigrants,” said Frank Galati. “This tale of longing and hoping for a new life reflects so many of our parents’, grandparents’ and great grandparents’ journeys – generations of people who created the foundation of the American Character.”

Philadelphia Here I Come! continues the second season of Asolo Rep’s exciting five-year American Character Project, which explores this country's social, cultural and historical facets. Since its 1966 Broadway premiere and subsequent Tony nominations for best play, best actor, and more, this timeless story of voyaging outside of what is familiar and safe continues to impact audiences worldwide.

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