Lucan writer scoops prestigious prize in New York play contest

by Maurice Garvey

A LUCAN writer living in New York, has taken a bite out of the Big Apple, by winning an annual Manhattan Repertory Theatre one-act play competition.Michael Fitzpatrick and Tommy Tiernan
Michael Fitzpatrick’s play Counting Apples – starring former boxer John Duddy and his wife Grainne Duddy – beat competition from 35 other shows to land the top prize.
Fitzpatrick (42), an Ardeevin native, moved to the USA in 1997, and has worked as a writer for a number of publications, including The Irish Echo, Irish Central and The Irish Examiner.

His parents Liam and Margaret still live in Lucan, and his sister Lynn lives with her family in Rathcoole.
The contest featured different heats, culminating in a final on July 1 at Manhattan Repertory Theatre on West 42nd Street, not far from Broadway.
Michael told The Echo: “We were delighted to win the final, a little surprised, as there were Broadway producers, directors, and stars in the other productions. One piece was directed by a two-time Emmy-winner, and others had actors who featured in several Broadway hits, and even big TV shows like Gray’s Anatomy. 
“So, for us to win, John, his wife Grainne, myself – I wrote and featured as an actor, my first time for both – and directed by a Dublin girl, Brona Crehan, was brilliant.”
Counting Apples, a play about an Irish couple, their best friend, and an incident which pulled them together and tore them apart, won audience approval at the competition, and has led Michael to pursue further productions.
“It’s what I’d love to do full-time,” said the Queens-based father of two young boys.
“I’m already working on a few more pieces, and hope to have John and Grainne involved again, they’re brilliant actors.”
John Duddy retired from boxing a number of years ago, and is focused fulltime on acting, having landing a role in the upcoming Robert De Niro movie Hands of Stone – due for release in 2016.

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