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Long Wharf Stages Shanley Play

John Patrick Shanley's plays resist pigeonholing, since the lighthearted comedy "Moonstruck" as well as the disturbing religious drama, "Doubt" are both his creations. Now Long Wharf Theatre stages Shanley's humorous romantic work, "Italian American Reconciliation," its first by the playwright, from April 27 through May 22. The NY Times described the play as something between a "psycho comedy" and "lyric folk tale, ... written with the flourish of verismo opera and the sweet playfulness of a pure fable." First presented in 1988 at Manhattan Theatre Club, "Italian American Reconciliation" mines the touchy territory of male-female relationships as well as issues of trust and loyalty among friends. In it, Huey hopes to win back his former wife, Janice and enlists his best friend Aldo to help him. Shanley's work has been hailed for his characters' authenticity, among other assets, garnering Shanley a closet full of awards, including a 1987 Oscar for the screenplay of "Moonstruck," which starred Cher and Nicholas Cage and was only his second script. In 2005, he won a Pulitzer Prize for the play "Doubt: A Parable." It was made into a film in 2008, which Shanley directed, starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Throughout his life, Shanley has tried his hand at different kinds of writing. As he told an interviewer, "I was pretty much exclusively a poet until I was 22 or 23. Then I got my first poems published, and I immediately stopped writing poetry. I started writing short stories. The Paris Review said, 'Not this story, but the next one.' I stopped writing short stories. I wrote a novel for a year, and when I finished it, I burned it. Because it didn’t have a plot. And that’s when I started writing plays." Luckily for audiences, he's still writing them. See Shanley's colorful love story "Italian American Reconciliation," a play The Daily News called "Irresistible." Tickets are $40-$70. For more information, visit Long Wharf's website.

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