Tickets are now on sale for the musical adaptation of the butcher boy at the Irish Repertory Theater in New York and IrishCentral had the chance to chat with writer and creator Asher Muldoon.
Irish Repertory Theatre, the award-winning Off-Broadway home for Irish and Irish-American drama in New York City, is proud to present the world premiere of the first musical adaptation of the butcher boy based on the 1992 modern classic by Patrick McCabe.
Created by Asher Muldoon (Dear Evan Hansen National Tour) and directed by Irish Rep Production Manager Ciarán O’Reilly, the butcher boy will be the first original musical in eight years to be developed by the Irish Repertory Theatre.
In 2017, Asher Muldoon was a high school student when he approached the Irish representative with his adaptation, for which he had written a book, music and lyrics. Then in 2018, Irish Rep set up a workshop and a concert that was enthusiastically received. Now the butcher boy will captivate audiences on the Francis J. Greenburger Main Stage for its world premiere.
Speaking to IrishCentral about creating this version of Patrick McCabe’s masterpiece, Muldoon explains: “It was an instant thing where I knew how these characters would sound musically and the second I put the book down, I started writing music. I felt such a connection to Francie’s character. Through the novel, you’re forced to understand why he does what he does, and I think that that’s what makes it so powerful and horrific.
“It was a huge challenge because a lot of the fun of the novel is hearing Francie’s thoughts and for me the only way to make it work on stage and get people to side with this character is to retain a lot of the language of he speaks to us directly, so my goal was to find the things that would really work on stage and make it as theatrical and visual as possible and find musically how this character sings.
Bring your vision of the butcher boy to life also led Muldoon to better understand his Irish roots thanks to his father who grew up in County Armagh. “A big part of the writing process for the show was talking to him about his childhood and learning little details like how people would talk. I used the show to step into that world more and learn more about where I come from.”
the butcher boy follows the life of young Francie Brady, played by Hadestown National Tour frontman Nick Barasch, who struggles to navigate the narrow streets and narrow minds of an Irish village in the 1960s. Eternal optimism and Francie’s carefree spirit carries him over the dysfunctional family and talkative town, where he lives in a cartoon dreamland with his best friend Joe (Christian Strange). When he pokes fun at newcomer Philip Nugent (Daniel Marconi), his uptight mother, Mrs. Nugent (Michele Ragusa), calls Francie’s family a bunch of pigs. This sparks a violent obsession with the pig, which grows as Francie’s life crumbles around him.
This surreal coming-of-age tale is tangled up in a hypnotic score, clever lyrics, and a funny, moving book, all of which serve to mask Francie’s pain until he can no longer fight the dark forces. , and the story comes to a catastrophic conclusion.
The twelve-person cast will include Nicholas Barasch (Hadestown First National Tour) as Francie Brady, Michele Ragusa (Broadway’s Flying Over Sunset) as Mrs. Nugent, Andrea Lynn Green (Broadway’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf) as Ma, and Scott Stangland (Broadway’s Once ) as Da.
The schedule of performances is as follows: Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.
Located in New York City, the Irish Repertory Theater stages the works of classic and contemporary Irish and Irish-American playwrights, encouraging the development of new work focusing on the Irish and Irish-American experience and producing works of other cultures interpreted through the lens of an Irish sensibility.
The Butcher Boy runs from July 21 to September 11, 2022, get your tickets here. You can also follow Irish Repertory Theater on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.