Carlow University in Pittsburgh celebrates 90 years with Broadway hit play ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’
Travel back in time at Carlow University in Oakland beginning on Tuesday.
The school is celebrating its 90th anniversary with weeklong events as part of “Time Capsule 1929.” There will be historical displays that include newspaper stories, photos, maps, and memorabilia from the school’s founding year eight decades ago.
One of the highlights will be live performances of “Abie’s Irish Rose,” a comedy play that ran in the Pitt-Shubert Theatre in Downtown Pittsburgh on Sept. 24, 1929. It will be shown in the Carlow University Theatre at 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, where there will also be a 2 p.m. performance.
The play was written and produced by Anne Nichols, which was uncommon back then for a woman to do, Fatla said. It is a comedy where an Irish Catholic girl and a young Jewish man who marry, causing tensions within both families. Carlow is also Irish in origin.
The show held the record for the longest-running Broadway show for more than 20 years and was re-created into two movies and radio show, according to a news release.
“I found the connection fascinating,” said Steve Fatla, a Mt. Pleasant native, who has been theater manager at Carlow for nearly three decades. “Despite all the criticism it became a smash hit. We hope it spurs some interest in the younger generation. We have been advertising it on campus because we want to share the story of the history of this university.”
Dress rehearsal is underway! The Carlow Theatre presents Abie's Irish Rose as part of our 90th Anniversary celebration! Join us as we turn Antonian Hall into a 1929 speakeasy time capsule! Get your tickets now: https://t.co/mnIPz8o6YR pic.twitter.com/0IfV71J4KO
— Carlow University (@CarlowU) September 18, 2019
Fatla said they chose the production because of its popularity during that time period and its coinciding with the founding of Carlow, then Mt. St. Mercy. It’s fascinating that the nuns decided to create a college for women with a stock market crash, Fatla said.
“They had a lot of opposition,” he said.
Fatla hand-picked the cast of both students and alumni and others to fill the roles. Zach Cynkar of Trafford plays Abie Levy and Krista Carr of Brookline is the role of Rose Mary Murphy. Cynkar said he had to learn different mannerisms and a different way of speaking. He said acting is a passion.
“This is such a unique experience to delve into an era where everything was different than what we do today,” Cynkar said. “We get to learn about another time and another way of living and portray that to the audience.
Tickets are $15, $12 for seniors and students
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .