John Patrick Shanley is one of America's finest playwrights, and "Outside Mullingar" is regarded as one of his finest plays. It's next up from Sarasota's Florida Studio Theatre.
Theatre-goers think of Shanley as the Pulitzer prize-winning author of "Doubt: A Parable." Others know his work from his Oscar-winning screenplay for "Moonstruck" and from the film version of "Doubt," which he also directed.
"Outside Mullingar" is his latest stage work. It had a limited, but critically applauded Broadway run in 2014, starring Debra Messing, and Shanley's script was nominated for a Tony Award. The play is set in rural Ireland. The story revolves around two farmers, Anthony and Rosemary, who live next to each other. Rosemary has had a crush on Anthony for her entire life Anthony is introverted and is oblivious to Rosemary's affections.
The new production is directed by Kate Alexander, FST associate director. It's a comedy, but Alexander said it has themes that resound deeply.
"When we think we know everything and everyone around us, a surprise comes crashing in, and there it is, 'Life', to take us in a new direction, and we have the opportunity to change," she said.
Details: Feb. 5-march 27, Gompertz Theatre at Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. Show times: 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $25-$39. Information: 941-366-9000, floridastudiotheatre.org Tickets: $25-$39.
-- Marty Clear