If you ever wanted to know what it was like to stay in the infamous Chelsea Hotel during the 1960s then you can either read the Patti Smith memoir Just Kids, or you can enjoy a night at the theater with Brendan at the Chelsea. Tickets are now on sale for Janet Behan’s historical drama about her famous Irish poet uncle, which runs at Theatre Row’s Acorn Theatre on September 4 through October 6.
Brendan at the Chelsea is set in 1960s New York at the legendary bohemian bolt hole, The Chelsea Hotel. Arthur Miller is just across the hall and the symphony of 24th Street is rising up and in through the open window of Brendan Behan's room. He is broke, hung over and way past the delivery date of his latest book, the first line of which he is yet to write. He was told to stop drinking or he'd be dead in six months—that was two years ago. Today is not going well. His mistress keeps ringing, the bills aren't paid and a wire arrives from Dublin with the kind of news that's guaranteed to put his blood pressure through the roof.
The New York production stars director Adrian Dunbar as Brendan Behan, Chris Robinson as Don, Pauline Hutton as Beatrice Behan, Richard Orr as George and Samantha Pearl as Lianne.
The production premiered at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast in May 2011 and will return to the venue after its New York run in October.
Brendan Behan wrote the books Borstal Boy, Confessions of an Irish Rebel, Brendan Behan’s New York and The Scarperer. His plays include The Quare Fellow, The Hostage, The Big House and Richard’s Cork Leg.
Check out video clips from the show's Belfast production below.