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Spend an evening with ‘A Couple of Blaguards’

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Howard Platt is playing the part of Malachy McCloud in the play 'A Couple of Blaguards' at the Brewery Arts Center.
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When Howard Platt takes the stage tonight at the Brewery Arts Center for the first of four performances in “A Couple of Blaguards,” he will assume a comfortable ease with his character and the show.

After all, Platt started as a producer of the off-Broadway play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Frank McCourt and his brother Malachy. He also happens to know the McCourt brothers well enough to call them friends, even serving as best man at Frank’s wedding.

The McCourts wrote the play in the early ’80s, before embarking on their separate literary endeavors, with Frank writing “Angela’s Ashes,” “‘Tis” and his latest release, “Teacher Man.” Malachy is the author of “A Monk Swimming,” and “Singing My Him Song.”

“Blaguards” is a comedy about the lives of the two brothers growing up in Limerick, Ireland, and their later journey to the United States. The first act of the one-hour-40-minute play chronicles the tales of the boys’ lives, including taking First Communion and dealing with a variety of interesting characters.

In act two, the brothers talk about their lives after coming to America and includes stories of love and their many adventures in New York.

When the play was first performed, the McCourts themselves were the stars. However as their success has increased, they have found themselves with less time to perform on stage.

“Frank has become a literary superstar. Malachy occasionally does the play, but I don’t think Frank will ever do it again,” Platt said.

In fact, Platt said he sometimes has to serve as an advocate for the play with its author, who has talked of changing it.

“I have to tell him it’s the funniest play I’ve seen because, sometimes, he just wants it to go away,” Platt said.

Platt will be joined on stage by veteran actor Mickey Kelly for the first two performances and then play opposite Jarlath Conroy for the final two performances March 31 and April 1.

“It is a huge deal for the Brewery Arts Center that we have a couple of professional actors who have worked on Broadway and on television. Plus it’s nice to have a name like Frank McCourt associated with the production,” said Chris Willson, BAC program director.

Willson said the BAC hopes to continue to bring in bigger-name productions and actors while still focusing on being community oriented and providing quality community theater.

Platt said this performance of “Blaguards” is unique because the ending has been changed to include an excerpt from McCourt’s second novel, “‘Tis.”

“It’s never been performed with the new ending, but I liked the ending enough to include it,” Platt said.

Yet as he prepares to perform, Platt said his hope is that the audience will get an understanding of the lives of two extraordinary men.

“I hope they are touched with laughter and get a sense of growing up in Ireland and how their humor and intelligence developed,” Platt said.

The play will be performed in the Brewery Arts Performance Hall, 511 W. King St., beginning at 7:30 tonight with additional performances Saturday, March 31 and April 1. Tickets are $22 for adults, $18 for BAC members, seniors and students.

— Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

If you go

What: “A Couple of

Blaguards,” a play written by Frank and Malachy McCourt.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and March 31 and April 1.

Where: Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall, 511 W. King St.

Tickets: $22 for adults, $18 for BAC members, seniors and students.

Call: 883-1976 or

go online at

http://www.breweryarts.org