Fridays, 7:30 p.m., Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., Sundays, 4:30 p.m. and Thu., June 9, 7:30 p.m. Continues through June 12 2011
$18 ($15 for students/seniors)
Playwright/screenwriter John Patrick Shanley, whose mantel holds an Oscar (for Moonstruck) as well as a Pulitzer and a Tony (for Doubt), has been hanging his hat in Music City lately. As the Ingram New Works Festival fellow, he’s developing a new original work, Sleeping Demon, while also offering mentorship to seven area playwrights in the program (whose play readings culminate this very week). Actors Bridge Ensemble’s timing couldn’t be better, then, in presenting the local premiere of Shanley’s play Sailor’s Song. Winner of the 2005 Drama Desk Award for outstanding new play, it’s set in a fictional South Atlantic coastal town, and its hero is a commercial sailor — a regular guy who muses about finding his life’s cause: “Am I gonna wait for that to come to me? What if it doesn’t come. Or maybe I don’t know it when it shows up. Then I’m just another guy waiting to die.” One critic claimed that Shanley “has charmingly married Eugene O’Neill’s seaside dramas to Fred-and-Ginger-style movie romances.” Other critical responses have been similarly admiring, though The New York Times dubbed it “a minor play.” Still, Shanley’s important gift for lyrical writing is evident, and in a stretch of his talents, his characters express their passions in a surprising blend of musical and dance interludes. It’ll be fascinating to watch director Don Griffiths pull off this tricky mix: His cast features some serious talent, including Brent Maddox, Bill Feehely, Robyn Berg, Jessika Malone and Carrie Gerow, plus young Miles Gatrell, who co-starred notably in the February production of Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice.