New Jersey Stage

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


(BLOOMFIELD, NJ) -- 4th Wall Theatre closes its 2010-2011 season with A Man of No Importance with a book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens.  The musical was the winner of the 2003 Outer Critics Award for Best Musical and is based on the 1994 film of the same title which starred Albert Finney.  Described by the Associated Press as “A wonderful, heartfelt and emotionally nourishing new musical”, A Man of No Importance combines the depth and drama of a play with the lyricism and comedy of a musical.  The story is the second successful collaboration by this writing team, all of whom won Tony Awards for Ragtime. 

4th Wall Artistic Director Kate Swan of Teaneck directs.  She is joined by Markus Hauck of New York City who serves as the musical director.

Set in Dublin, Ireland, in 1964, A Man of No Importance tells the story of an amateur theatre group and their leader, bus conductor and Oscar Wilde devotee Alfie Byrne, who is determined to stage a version of Salome at his church.  The musical addresses a number of universal issues including friendship, the transformative power of art, and acceptance.  But the musical – whose three writers are all of Irish descent – is ultimately about something intensely Irish: loyalty.  The overwhelming loyalty of the Irish people to country, family, and religion is a way of life.  This loyalty – one unflinching even in the face of hardship – is seen throughout A Man of No Importance.

Director Swan believes that lead character Alfie’s message of “You just have to love who you love” will resonate with the audience, particularly in the face of the “It Gets Better” and gay rights campaigns that have been so prevalent in the news recently.

“A Man of No Importance is just the type of musical that 4th Wall aims to produce,” says Production Manager, Gwen Ricks-Spencer, who is also the Executive Director of the theatre company.  “It is not particularly well-known but tells a remarkable story and is filled with gorgeous music, written by three powerhouses of the theatre world.”  Music writers Ahrens and Flaherty are perhaps best known for Ragtime, Once on this Island and Seussical.  Terrence McNally is a multiple Tony and Emmy winner, who in addition to Ragtime wrote the books for musicals such as Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Full Monty and several plays including Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class.

A Man of No Importance will play at the Westminster Center for the Arts on the campus of Bloomfield College in Bloomfield and runs June 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 12 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are only $24 with discount tickets available for students and seniors.  Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-748-9008 ext. 279. Visa, MasterCard and Discover are accepted.  Tickets may also be purchased on-line, and additional information is available at