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Debra Messing, John Patrick Shanley Add Broadway Play Contender

Manhattan Theater Club production, directed by Doug Hughes, also stars Brian F. O'Byrne

With new plays thin on the ground for the 2013-14 Broadway season, Manhattan Theater Club has lined up one to watch, reteaming scribe John Patrick Shanley, who wrote Pulitzer winner “Doubt,” with the director and one of the actors who appeared in the Tony-winning production of that earlier play.

The new show, “Outside Mullingar,” is a romance that MTC bills as an Irish “Moonstruck,” in reference to the 1987 bigscreen romantic comedy that won three Oscars including one for screenwriter Shanley.  Debra Messing, who recently wrapped up her stint in theater-themed “Smash,” stars with Brian F. O’Byrne, co-star of MTC’s 2004 production of “Doubt” as well as its Broadway transfer.

Doug Hughes, who helmed “Doubt,” directs. He and Shanley picked up Tonys for “Doubt” in 2005; O’Byrne won one for 2004 outing “Frozen.”

For the moment “Mullingar,” likely to attract buzz both for its creative team and its TV-familiar star, stands out in Broadway’s 2013-14 lineup as one of the few new plays on the skedded so far. A show by another legit awards-magnet, James Lapine (“Sunday in the Park with George,” “Into the Woods”), the Moss Hart bio-play “Act One,” is lined up for a spring bow at Lincoln Center Theater, and earlier in the 2013-14 season MTC has skedded the newest from “The Other Place” playwright Sharr White, “The Snow Geese,” in a production toplined by Mary-Louise Parker. “A Time to Kill,” based on the John Grisham legal thriller, has lined up a fall opening.

The addition of “Outside Mullingar” begins to fill out a 2013-14 play slate that has so far gained attention for its starry revivals, including Daniel Craig-Rachel Weisz starrer “Bertrayal, a Pinter-Beckett double bill with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart and Billy Crystal vehicle “700 Sundays.”

“Outside Mullingar” begins previews Jan. 2 prior to a Jan. 23 opening at MTC’s Samuel J. Friedman Theater.

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