Southington actor is ‘A Man of Ideas;’ will be directed by his father

By LINDSAY CAREY
STAFF WRITER
A Southington man will be taking the spotlight in “A Man of Ideas,” an Irish comedy play, at the Irish American Community Center in East Haven from Nov. 12 to 16.
John Starrs will play Mickey Howlan, a man who is trying to help a young couple get married despite the obstacle of parental approval.
“Mickey went through a similar situation, so he sympathizes with them,” said Starrs of his character. “My character comes up with this incredible idea to get these two married.”
Without giving too much away, Starrs explained the play hinges between dramatic plot twists and comedy.
“The story itself is very funny and it’s got a lot of twists and turns in it that will keep you interested,” said Starrs.
According to him, the play incorporates a wide range of elements from a political election that threatens to tear the couple apart to a love triangle involving a man dressed in drag.
“Irish people are very witty,” said Starrs. “There are a lot of witty terms to this story, its what we call ‘Irish humor.’”
“A Man of Ideas” is an older play by Irish playwright P.G. O’Dea and is being tackled by another generation.
Starrs’ father, Charlie Starrs, is directing the production and formerly played Howlan in Northern Italy. According to a press release, Charlie Starrs has been active in theater for over 40 years and cofounded the Irish theater group, the Gaelic Players in 1968. However, this will be the first play he has directed in four years.
Some of the other cast members in the production also have relatives who were members of the Gaelic Players. Actors Eileen O’Keefe Roxbee, Jillian Mackey Simms, and Brian Beirne all have ties to this group, according to a press release.
According John Starrs, many of the former Gaelic Players have gone on to act on Broadway or in films. A press release said the Gaelic Players is the longest continually running Irish theater group in the U.S.
Other cast members to appear in the production include Michael Malone, Doreen Keogh Busca and Jason Simms.
John Starrs said this is the seventh show since he was 15 that his father directed.
“It’s a bonding experience for him and I,” said Starrs. “We drive down to rehearsals together. He’s getting older now, so it’s nice to spend time with him.”
The doors will open at 6:45 a.m. from Wednesday through Saturday and the show will start at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, Nov. 15 the doors will open at 1:15 p.m. and the show time will be 2 p.m. All performances are at the Irish American Community Center, 9 Venice Pl., in East Haven.
“It’s a great production and for such a small venue and the tickets are reasonable,” said Starrs. “
Tickets for the show are $15 each to purchase contact Maureen Rynne at (203)318-8723.

John Starrs of Southington, left, and Doreen Keogh Busca take a break from rehearsing at the Irish American Community Center in East Haven, where ‘A Man of Ideas’ runs Nov. 12 to 16.

John Starrs of Southington, left, and Doreen Keogh Busca take a break from rehearsing at the Irish American Community Center in East Haven, where ‘A Man of Ideas’ runs Nov. 12 to 16.

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