Ireland and Beyond
By Patricia Harty,
August / September 2006
Irish Tony Award Nominees Celebrate
Brían F. O’Byrne summed it up when he said, “It’s beyond Irish.” O’Byrne who is currently starring in Shining City, was speaking at a reception hosted by New York Consul General Tim O’Connor on June 9. The event celebrated the Tony nominees from three Irish plays currently on Broadway (Faith Healer, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and Shining City).
Those in attendance included playwright Martin McDonagh, the author of Lieutenant of Inishmore; Ralph Fiennes, currently starring in Brian Friel’s Faith Healer; and O’Byrne, who won a Tony in 2004 for Frozen, and received a nomination last year for Doubt.
O’Byrne noted that the current crop of Irish plays on Broadway had but a few actors from Ireland and in that sense the culture has gone beyond the island.
He credited Tim O’Connor with bringing everyone together, and noted the importance of such gatherings in focusing attention on the needs of the community. “Plays come and go on Broadway, but the Irish Repertory Theatre, which produces great theater year round, is raising funds to buy its building on 22nd Street,” he said, urging those in attendance to get involved in the effort.
Since taking over as consul general, O’Connor has worked hard at bringing the multifaceted and diffuse Irish community in New York together. Within days of each other in June, he hosted receptions for Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, opposition leader Enda Kenny, and pianist John O’Conner, who is embarking on a U.S. tour with the Irish Chamber Orchestra in October. ♦