It is the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Nobel Prize-winning poet William Butler Yeats. As a premiere “kick off” to hundreds of events and Yeats celebrations around the world, New York City’s The Irish Rep is celebrating William Butler Yeats for its Gala Benefit 2015. YEATS: The Celebration will be an evening of poetry, music and song commemorating the masterwork of Ireland’s national poet William Butler Yeats.
Yeats’ contributions to advancing Ireland’s political and international standing are recognized throughout the world and studied globally at colleges and universities. His work is remembered and appreciated by theatres, poetry associations and Yeats societies. To keep the heritage alive in New York, Yeats aficionados have given him his own W.B. Yeats Society of New York Facebook page.
The Irish Rep Gala is one of the first in a week-long series of events highlighting the brilliance, mysticism and majesty of some of the finest of Yeats’ signature works.
YEATS: The Celebration promises to be an evening of delight, wisdom and humor hosted by Matthew Broderick (It’s Only a Play) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Two-Time Emmy winner).
The Benefit Gala, which will be on Monday, June 8, 2015 and will begin at 7:00 pm at Town Hall, will feature performances by the following stars of stage, film and television.
- Academy Award Winner Olympia Dukakis
- Emmy and Two-Time Tony Winner Swoosie Kurtz
- Emmy Nominee John Slattery (“Mad Man”)
- Bridget Moynahan (“Blue Bloods”)
- J. Smith Cameron (“Rectify,” Irish Rep’s JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK)
- Tony Nominee Peter Gallagher (ON THE 20TH CENTURY)
- Tony Nominee Melissa Errico
- Tony Nominee Brian Murray
- Award Winning Author Colum McCann (“Let the Great World Spin”)
- Singer Songwriter Gabriel Donohue
- Ciarán Sheehan (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA)
- Terry Donnelly (Irish Rep’s TRANSPORT, JUNO AND THE PAYCOCK)
- The Irish Rep Gala Choir
- Neil Bradley
- Danny Gardner
- The Students of the American Ballet Theatre
- Special Guests
YEATS: The Celebration is directed by Charlotte Moore (Artistic Director of Irish Rep) and produced by Ciarán O’Reilly (Producing Director of Irish Rep). Musical Direction is by John Bell
William Butler Yeats was born on June 13, 1865 in in Sandymount, County Sligo near Dublin, Ireland. He was a profound and luminous poet whose interest in mysticism, magic, meditation and Hindu philosophy found its way into his later works. He is less known for his drama and mystical writings. As a literary giant of the 20th-century Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms.
The impetus behind the Irish Literary Revival, together with Lady Gregory, Edward Martyn, and others, Yeats founded the Abbey Theatre. He served as its head during the theatre’s beginnings and was involved with the Abbey until his death in France on January 28, 1939, the eve of WWII. When in 1923 Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, it was a milestone and a example for other Irish poets. He was the first Irishman so honored, for what the Nobel Committee described as “inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation.” While many Nobel winners rest on their laurels, Yeats completed some of his greatest works including The Tower (1928) and The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1929) after he won the coveted prize.
Yeats established the ideals of the Abbey Theatre, which were derived from the avant-garde French theatre. French theatre sought to express the “ascendancy of the playwright rather than the actor-manager.” In many ways, The Irish Rep, co-founded by Producing Director Ciarán O’Reilly and Artistic Director Charlotte Moore, has those ideals at the heart of its mission to produce great Irish and Irish-American Theatre in New York City. When the Irish Rep opened its doors in September 1988 with Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and Stars, it received wonderful notices to the happy surprise of Moore and O’Reilly who had staged O’Casey’s work together as a labor of love. The founders had so much fun, they decided to continue and fearlessly forge ahead. They’ve expanded over the years and bought a building which is currently being renovated. They have gained the support of over 38,000 audience members yearly who see their Off-Broadway productions.
Now, 27 years later, The Irish Rep is the only year-round theatre company in New York City devoted to bringing Irish and Irish-American works to the stage. Recognized with the Jujamcyn Theatres Award, a special Drama Desk Award for “Excellence in Presenting Distinguished Irish Drama,” an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Achievement, and the Lucille Lortel Award for “Outstanding Body of Work,” the Irish Rep has celebrated the very best in Irish theatre from the masters to the new generation of Irish and Irish-American writers who are transforming the stage. With YEATS: The Celebration, the founders hope to earn many more years doing the same, while embracing Yeats together with a large following of supporters, sponsors and audience members, many of them Irish and Irish-Americans. Yeats would be pleased.
The Gala is on Monday, June 8th at 7:00 pm at Town Hall (123 West 43rd St, NYC). Tickets may be purchased on the Irish Rep website or by calling 1-800-982-2787.
Single tickets start at $100 each for the performance. The performance will be followed with dinner at Bryant Park Grill (25 West 40th Street). Premium seating dinner packages begin at $350.00. Call 212-255-0270 or email [email protected].