The Irish Curse

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About the Show

What “The Irish Curse” is – and how it manifests itself – is the raw centerpiece of this wicked, rollicking and very funny new play. From its blistering language to its brutally honest look at sex and body image, “The Irish Curse” is a revealing portrait of how men, and society, define masculinity. In doing so, it dares to pose the fundamental question that has been on the minds of men since the beginning of time: “Do I measure up to the next guy?”

Size matters to Joseph Flaherty, Stephen Fitzgerald, Rick Baldwin and Kevin Shaunessy. This small group of Irish-American men (all professionally successful New Yorkers) meet every Wednesday night, in a Catholic church basement, at a self-help group for men with small penises. This allegedly Irish trait is the focus of their weekly whining and bitching as they feel this "shortcoming" has ruined their lives.

One evening, when a twenty-something blue-collar guy joins the group, he challenges everything the other men thought about "the Irish curse" ...tackling their obsession with body image and unmasking the comical and truthful questions of identity, masculinity, sex, relationships, and social status that define their lives.

Production History

The Irish Curse had its world premiere at the New York International Fringe Festival with a sold-out run in 2005, garnering rave reviews and winning the Overall Excellence Award for Outstanding Playwrighting. The play was also acclaimed in its European premiere at the 2006 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This production subsequently transferred to the Dublin International Gay Theatre Festival to further rave reviews.

Production Team

Written by Martin Casella
Directed by Matt Lenz
Scenic Design by Lauren Helpern
Lighting Design by Traci Klainer
Costume Design by Michael Mc Donald
Sound Design by Walter Trarbach
Produced by Craig Zehms, Sarahbeth Grossman, Piglet Productions


MARTIN CASELLA’s (Playwright) other plays include Scituate (Best New Play, SCFTA); Mates (LA Weekly Award, Best New Play), Paydirt, Desert Fire, Beautiful Dreamer, Grand Junction, The Big Enchilada and George Bush Goes to Hell. He wrote the book for the musicals Paper Moon, Happy Holidays, Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll, Saint Heaven, Doo-Dah! and co-wrote the book for the new jazz musical Play It Cool (GLAAD nomination). His plays have been seen at, among others, the Pasadena Playhouse, Coast Playhouse, Coronet (LA); TBG, Linhart and Access Theatres (NYC); Village Theatre, Group Theatre (Seattle); Bailiwick, Theatre Building (Chicago); Stage One (Wichita); Paper Mill Playhouse (NJ); Goodspeed Opera House, Stanford Center for the Arts (Connecticut); Walnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia); Ford’s Theatre (Washington); and in Tokyo, Dublin and Edinburgh. His current theatrical project is the musical Free Money, a musical about the invention of credit cards, with composer/lyricist Keith Gordon and documentary filmmaker Barbara Wellin-Multer. In film and TV, Casella has written for Steven Spielberg, Rob Reiner, Dan Petrie Jr., John Milius, John Badham, Francis Ford Coppola, Herbert Ross, Bruce Cohen, Anthony Edwards, The Walt Disney Company, Universal Pictures, Ladd Company, HBO, Roger Corman, Kerry Washington and Paulist Productions. TV projects include the film “Behind the Lens” for CBS, and “Daddy’s Girl,” an HBO pilot, and a stint as a writer on the ABC daytime drama “One Life To Live.” His feature screenplay One Night Stand was directed by Talia Shire and starred Ally Sheedy and Frederic Forrest. Casella is currently adapting David Johnson’s play Busted Jesus Comix for the big screen; and is writing the feature film Tom’s Dad for Emmy Award-winning producers Joni Levin and Keith Clarke. In addition to previously having taught playwriting at the California Institute of the Arts, Casella’s happiest – and proudest – most recent adventure is teaching playwriting at the Harvey Milk High School here in New York City. Casella is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild, the Writer’s Guild of America, Actors’ Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild.

MATT LENZ’s (Director) Broadway credits include Hairspray (Associate Director - also for National Tours, South Africa, Las Vegas, Toronto, Germany), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Resident Director), The Yellow Brick Road Not Traveled: Wicked’s 5 th Anniversary (Director). Off-Broadway: Idaho! (NYMF - Winner of “Best of Fest” 2008 and Best Director Awards), The Irish Curse (NY Fringe Festival), Alan Ball’s The Amazing Adventures of Tense Guy. Regional: Saint Heaven (a new musical by Martin Casella and Keith Gordon), Scituate by Martin Casella (Stamford Center), Aida (MUNY, Gateway), The Full Monty, Beauty and the Beast (MUNY, North Carolina Theatre, Michigan Opera Theatre), South Pacific (Casa Manana, NCT) Confidentially, Cole (LA), Dirty Blonde, Love! Valor! Compassion! (Austin). Member SDC.

LAUREN HELPERN's (Scenic Design) NY credits include: Bug (Obie Award), None of the Above (Hewes nomination), The Amish Project (also tour), Mother Load (also tour), Underneath the Lintel, Dragapella, Slipping, MTC, Playwrights Horizons, Ars Nova, Atlantic, Naked Angels, Second Stage, Cherry Lane, and the Broadway production Voices In The Dark. Regional (selected): Blue Man Group/Live at Luxor (Eddy Award), Always... Patsy Cline starring Sally Struthers, Gypsy starring Andrea McArdle, Prince Music Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Portland Center Stage, ATF, Laguna Playhouse, Stamford Center for the Arts, TheaterworksUSA, and Anchorage Opera. Lauren is part of New Georges' Kitchen Cabinet and a partner in the design firm Luce Group.

TRACI KLAINER (Lighting Design) NY credits include: The Asphalt Kiss (59E59, Drama Desk nomination); Broadway production of Prune Danish (Royale Theatre); Four (MTC, Lucille Lortel nomination); Dov and Ali (Cherry Lane); Sand (Julia Miles Theatre); 2 Girls For 5 Bucks (Ars Nova); Echoes Of The War (Mint Theater); Dragapella (Upstairs Studio 54) and How to Be a Good Italian Daughter (Cherry Lane). Regional credits include: Hartford Stage, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Prince Music Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Capital Repertory, and City Theatre. Traci is also a partner in the design firm Luce Group, which specializes in architectural, exhibit and event lighting design.

MICHAEL MC DONALD (Costume Design) received Tony Award, Drama Desk and Hewes Design Award nominations for his costumes for the 2009 Tony Award winning Best Musical Revival of Hair. The Public: Hair (Delacorte Theater). Off-Broadway: Tartuffe (Tribeca Playhouse), Amahl and the Night Visitors (Lincoln Center), Measure for Measure (Expanded Arts). Regional: Take Me Out (The Repertory Theater of St. Louis); Dirty Blond (Matt Lenz, dir.), Omnium Gatherum and Crowns (Zachary Scott Theatre); Amadeus, Sweeney Todd, TheLaramie Project, Angels in America (Chatham Playhouse). Broadway: Assistant Costume Designer for two Tony Award winning Best Plays: The Goat and Take Me Out, as well as Arthur Miller's The Ride Down Mt. Morgan. And he’s Irish.

CRAIG ZEHMS (Producer) produced The Irish Curse for the 2005 NYC International Fringe Festival. He began his career as an actor and appeared in regional theatres including the Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre, Ford's Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House, and the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble. His TV credits include “Newhart,” “Hooperman,” and “V-The Series.” He currently serves as the National Spokesperson for Lalique North America and for the past 20 years has produced and appeared at events at luxury retailers throughout the country.

SARAHBETH GROSSMAN (Producer) is President of Sobelle Productions and a Managing Member of Brooklyn Basement Theatricals, LLC. Ms. Grossman served as Associate Managing Director of the Yale Repertory Theatre, where she produced the annual WinterFest of new plays, and was Producing Director of the Los Angeles Stage & Film Company, where she produced the LA Premiere of TIME ON FIRE: A COMEDY OF TERRORS by Evan Handler. Film and television work includes stints at Showtime Networks and Viacom Pictures, production work on ME AND VERONICA dir. by Don Scardino, BOPHA! dir. by Morgan Freeman, STRAPPED dir. by Forest Whitaker, THREE WISHES and OUT TO SEA (Associate Producer) dir. by Martha Coolidge. Sarahbeth also served as VP of Development & Production for Ms. Coolidge’s Ozma Productions under a television development deal with Pearson Entertainment. Ms. Grossman was Executive Director of Global Brand Strategy & Business Development at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, and spent a short time as VP of Marketing at Variety before forming Sobelle Productions.

TWO STEP PRODUCTIONS (General Management). Garden Of Earthly Delights, Adding Machine: a Musical (Minetta Lane Theatre). Our Town, Gone Missing, No Child…, Orson’s Shadow, BUG, Basic Training, The Strangerer, How Theatre Failed America, The/King/Operetta, Eat the Taste, (Barrow Street Theatre). Loaded, Dance of the Seven Headed Mouse, Sophistry, The Black Monk (Theatre Row). Actors Studio Drama School MFA Rep Season (Pace University). The Globesity Festival (Theater for the New City). Finer Noble Gases, Girl Blog From Iraq, (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch, The Acrobat, Two Men Talking (Edinburgh Festival Fringe).

DAVID GERSTEN & ASSOCIATES (Press Representatives) also represents the Off-Broadway hits Defending The Caveman, Altar Boyz, Naked Boys Singing!, Zero Hour, and The Awesome 80s Prom, as well as Electric Pear, INTAR, Mint Theater, NY Musical Theatre Festival, New World Stages, Red Bull Theater, Stage Entertainment US, and upcoming, My Big Gay Italian Wedding and The Deep Throat Sex Scandal. David is Associate Producer of the Off-Broadway hit, My First Time; previously, he produced Tea at Five starring Kate Mulgrew as Katharine Hepburn, BASH’d and Gaytino! at the Zipper Theater, and as well as the musical Dr. Sex. He serves on the Board of Governors of ATPAM, The Association of Theatrical Press Agents & Managers.

HHC MARKETING (Marketing)Current: Fela!,Jersey Boys, Looped The 39 Steps, The Temperamentals, The Irish Curse, Signs of Life, Yank, Search for Billy Haines, The NY Musical Theatre Festival, and operates grassroots street teams for a number of shows on Broadway. HHC Marketing also represents, and

PAT MCCORKLE CASTING (Casting)Broadway: Lieutenant of Inishmore, Glass Menagerie, Amadeus, A Doll’s House, She Loves Me, Blood Brothers . Off-Broadway: The Toxic Avenger, Adding Machine: a Musical, Almost Maine, Killer Joe, Mrs. Klein. Film: Ghost Town, Secret Window, Thomas Crown Affair, School Ties. Television: “Electric Company,” “3lbs.,” “Barbershop,” “Chapp


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