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Theatre Conspiracys 'Beauty Queen of Leenane' opens February 7 at Alliance

Theatre Conspiracy has been called "a treasured member of the area's theatrical community."
Theatre Conspiracy has been called "a treasured member of the area's theatrical community."Courtesy of Theatre Conspiracy

Theatre Conspiracy has announced the opening of Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane. It will open at the Foulds Theatre inside the Lee County Alliance for the Arts on February 7. The Theatre Conspiracy production features professional equity actor Derry Woodhouse, a native of Limerick, Ireland, along with local veterans Karen Goldberg, Joan Olsen and Daniel Benzing.

Described as “hilarious, dark and utterly brutal” by the Evening Standard, The Beauty Queen of Leenane is known for getting the audience gasping with surprise in between bursts of laughter. Middle-aged, unmarried and embittered, Maureen is locked in a stalemate with her elderly mother Mag, who is as selfish as she is manipulative. Their simmering relationship boils over when Maureen takes a lover and finds hope for escape in this dark comedy.

The Chicago Tribune called The Beauty Queen of Leenane “perhaps the best Irish play of the last 20 years.” The play premiered at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway, Ireland, in October 1996 as part of a touring production by the Druid Theatre Company that traveled through Ireland to London's West End, and later to Australia. The Druid production also went on to have successful runs Off Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company and on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theater in 1998. It won that year's Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, Drama League Award for Best Play and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Broadway Play.

Martin McDonagh wrote the play when he was just 27, and it turned out to be his break out hit. He went on to write A Skull in Connemara (1997), The Lonesome West (1997), The Cripple of Inishmaan (1997), The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2001), The Pillowman (2003) and A Behanding in Spokane (2010), as well as the films In Bruges (2008) and Seven Psychopaths (2012). He won an Academy Award for the short Six Shooter, a British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for In Bruges and Laurence Olivier Awards for The Lieutenant of Inishmore and The Pillowman.

Derry Woodhouse is a native of Limerick, Ireland and has enjoyed performing on both sides of the Atlantic. He has performed extensively in the Boston area. Recent productions include Travesities with the Public Theatre, Stones In His Pockets with Tir Na Theatre, Women On The Verge Of HRT with the Sugan Theatre. Other roles with the Sugan include Jimmy Kelly in Molly Maguire, Pato in The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, Freedom Of The City, The Lepers Of Baile Baiste, Famine and The Blowin Of Baile Gaile. Other regional credits include Molly Sweeney, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Ballast, The Winters Tale, The Philadelphia Story, Our Town, The Clearing, The Family Of Maan and The Illusion.

Last year, Derry performed in Spain and Belgium with Colin. Derry is a graduate of the Gaiety School Of Acting in Dublin Ireland.

The show runs until February 23. Individual tickets are $20 each. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with one Sunday matinee on February 23 at 2 p.m. Opening night is “pay what you will” and Thursdays are “buy one get one half off”. Tickets can be purchased by calling Theatre Conspiracy’s box office at 239-936-3239 or by visiting www.theatreconspiracy.org.

Theatre Conspiracy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Florida corporation and is headed by Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor. Funding is derived from ticket sales, advertising sales and donations. During its 19 years, it has been described as "innovative, exciting, daring," and "a treasured member of the area's theatrical community." Finishing out Theatre Conspiracy’s 13-14 season will be The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter, playing March 14 – 29.