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New Irish shows to look out for in NYC in 2014

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Maeve Higgins will headline the Craic Comedy Fest on January 30.
Maeve Higgins will headline the Craic Comedy Fest on January 30.


It's time to mark your calendars folks, as a host of exciting Irish arts events are already gearing up or now playing in New York.

First up is the fourth annual Craic Comedy Fest, run by the same people who produce the Irish film and music festivals later in the year.

Irish queen of comedy Maeve Higgins (star of RTE’s Naked Camera) will headline at a one night only event at the Irish Arts Center on January 30 (other acts are scheduled to take the stage too).

A bit of a prodigy, Higgins is a comedian, an actress, a radio presenter, a playwright, a part time cook and, most importantly, a Cobh, Co. Cork native. Her play Moving City enjoyed a sold out run at Dublin’s Fringe Festival, but it’s her stand up that has really put her on the map.

Given to daydreams when she’s not offering up piercing observations, Higgins is the most singular Irish comedy talent to have emerged in years. She’s brilliant on Irish women, she’s brilliant on Irish men, and she absolutely nails the everyday treachery that can lurk behind even the most humdrum romances.

This year the Craic Comedy Fest’s opening act is Irish American star Kevin Flynn (best known for his work on Comedy Central).

Festival producer Terence Mulligan told the Irish Voice, “Father Ted’s Ardal O’Hanlon was brilliant last year. He killed it. Maeve is the perfect follow up. She has a different style of comedy that our Craic fans will really enjoy on January 30!”

A special guest act will be added to the lineup so expect a major surprise (previous special guests have included Colin Farrell if that tells you anything).

As always the Craic Fest is sponsored by Tullamore Dew, which means a reception featuring the Irish whiskey after the performances which start at 7:30 p.m. For tickets visit www.thecraicfest.com or phone 866-811-4111.

Meanwhile, Conor McPherson’s heralded new play The Night Alive rolled into town in December and is currently playing off Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Linda Gross Theater on West 20th Street. Starring McPherson veterans Jim Norton (who won a Tony for his work in McPherson’s The Seafarer) and Ciaran Hinds, the play follows some down and outs in Dublin.

Hinds plays Tommy, a recognizable working stiff who befriends a prostitute named Aimee (Caoilfhionn Dunne) with unexpectedly violent results.  Aimee is being pursued by her psycho and physically abusive boyfriend Kenneth (Brian Gleeson of the red headed Gleeson film clan) and his arrival plunges all of them into darkness.

Black holes pull everything into them remarks a character in McPherson’s new play. The author is suggesting that some people do likewise, and The Night Alive shows us some of the consequences. For tickets visit www.atlantictheater.org.

Remarkable Irish theater company Broken Talkers will take to the stage at the Irish Arts Center to present Have I No Mouth, a real-life mother and son taking an unflinching look at their past and attempt to piece together the truth in the aftermath of a family tragedy.

In a first of its kind production Brokentalkers’ performer Feidlim Cannon and his mother Ann will be joined onstage by their Dublin-based psychotherapist Erich Keller, who guides them through a provocative exploration of their old memories, childhood recollections and the different ways that we can heal ourselves.

The show runs from January 14 through the 26 at 8 p.m. For tickets call 866-811-4111.
Meanwhile, Irish memoirist Colin Broderick’s 16-year-old play Father Who will finally get the Manhattan production he has dreamed of at Theatre 80 on Saint Marks Place for a two week run in February and the first week of March.

Described by the writer as a “dark Irish American comedy,” it was the first play Broderick ever wrote and it was always his dream to have a production of it in Manhattan, he says.

Next month his dream production will become a reality when actors John Duddy, Grainne Duddy, Rae Chibs and Johnny McConnell (as the priest) take to the boards. Broderick, 46, who hails from Northern Ireland, is the author of Orangutan and That’s That.

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