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ON THE AISLE • with Harry HAUN

[[image - color photograph of Kevin Spacey]]
[[caption]] Kevin Spacey reads a congratulatory letter from Jason Robards at The Iceman Cometh's curtain [[/caption]]

[[image - color photograph of the cast of The Weir bowing]]
[[caption]] The cast of The Weir (fr. l.: Norton, Crowley, Ahern, Coyle, Fairley) take a well-deserved bow [[/caption]]

[[image - color photograph of four smiling seated people]]
[[caption]] Irish eyes are smiling: (fr. l.): Smith, Walsh, Clark and McCourt assemble for The Weir [[/caption]]

IRISH PLAYS & PUBS - On opening night of The Iceman Cometh, the denizens of Harry Hope's dingy boarding house and bar simply adjourned to another tavern in the town. Cast and crew arrived at WARNER LEROY's glittery eatery on the greens of Central Park with a contact high from four hours well spent on the stage of the Brooks Atkinson giving Eugene O'Neill's 1946 classic its due. Even Willy Loman showed up after his hard night at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in ARTHUR MILLER's 1949 classic Death of a Salesman and gave a congratulatory grizzly-bear hug to Iceman's man of the hour, Theodore ("Hickey") Hickman. "I can't believe you came," a happily startled KEVIN SPACEY exclaimed to BRIAN DENNEHY, his mountainous greeter (and chief award rival this season). Dennehy, who's done his time as Hickey (in Chicago and, gamely, Dublin), was there also to salute the man who'd steered him through his Broadway bow in Translations a few years back, Iceman director HOWARD DAVIES. Spacey's spellbinding spiel, which tries to rid the pub of the "lyin' pipe dreams" hobbling its self-deluded customers, awed his fellow actors before it awed audiences. "It's sorta like watching DiMaggio swing," critiques Iceman's bartender TONY DANZA ■ When The Beauty Queen of Leenane's reign ended at the Walter Kerr, somebody added a bar to its already bleak set - and voila! The Weir is here, replete with the original London cast (JIM NORTON, BRENDAN COYLE, KIERAN AHERN, DERMOT CROWLEY and MICHELLE FAIRLEY), spinning progressively more ghastly ghost stories at a rustic watering hole in modern-day Ireland. Its opening-night wind-down, inevitably, was at Rosie O'Grady's, where the usual elbow-bending was accelerated by the Irish literati among the first-nighters (among them: Pulitzer Prize winner FRANK MCCOURT, playwright TRICIA WALSH, novelist COLM MCCANN, mystery writer CAROL HIGGINS CLARK, screenwriter TERRY GEORGE) - plus The Shubert's own PHIL SMITH. At one point, The Sound of Music's RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN bopped in out of the blue for a nightcap and, realizing this was no place for an L.A. boy, bolted in a blast of paparazzi shots - without so much as a so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye...
PHOTOS BY AUBREY REUBEN

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