The Gallery Players are taking theater-goers back in time to explore themes of love, equality and acceptance — in song form — in “A Man of No Importance,” which opens on Jan. 28.
The musical is set in Dublin, Ireland in 1964, and follows a train conductor who, in his free time, directs an amateur theater group in the basement of a church. The trouble is: they’re dying to put on a production of Oscar Wilde’s “Salome” — a racy take on a biblical story — much to the house of worship’s chagrin. As the protagonist fights for the right to stage the play, he begins to learn more about himself and his identity.
“He comes to terms with his feelings about himself, his sexuality, and how he goes about acting on those feelings,” said Robert Earle Jones, the play’s producer. Jones said he selected the play, which was adapted from a book written by Terrence McNally, for its resonance in today’s society.
“Acceptance, with marriage equality and everything, especially during an election year, is always a bone of contention,” Jones continued. “In the play there’s a song called ‘Love Who You Love,’ and that’s so timely; Everybody’s heart does the exact same thing, so it’s important to go ahead and tell this story, because it’s an age-old issue that’s still not solved today.”
But it’s not all about the moral of the story: the songs themselves come to life, just as they would in a pub in Ireland.
“The actors play musical instruments, so it’s blurring the line between orchestra and actor, and grows to encompass the audience,” Jones said. “It’s intimate and meaningful — it will become a part of you.”
The Gallery Players Presents “A Man of No Importance” [199 14th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 832-0617]. Jan. 28-Feb. 19, 8 pm. Tickets, $18. For info, visit www.galleryplayers.com.
Reach Arts Editor Juliet Linderman at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8309.