Matthew Rhys Portrays Dylan Thomas in New Play Premiering in 2024

Matthew Rhys will star as Dylan Thomas in the one-act play "Dear Mr. Thomas" at the 92nd Street Y in New York, premiering May 14, 2024. The play explores Thomas' life while creating "Under Milk Wood" and marks the 150th anniversary of 92NY.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Matthew Rhys Portrays Dylan Thomas in New Play Premiering in 2024

Matthew Rhys Portrays Dylan Thomas in New Play Premiering in 2024

A captivating one-act play, "Dear Mr. Thomas: A New Play for Voices," is set to premiere on May 14, 2024, at the prestigious 92nd Street Y in New York. The play delves into the life of renowned Welsh poet Dylan Thomas during the period he was creating his famous radio drama, "Under Milk Wood." Welsh actor Matthew Rhys takes on the role of Thomas, alongside Keri Russell and Kate Burton in this highly anticipated production.

Rhys, who has a deep admiration for Thomas, expressed his hope that the recent mention of the poet in Taylor Swift's album will introduce Thomas' work to a new generation. He recounted a story of a 12-year-old in his household asking about Thomas after hearing Swift's album, prompting Rhys to spend eight hours reciting Thomas' poems to her. "I hope that a number of people Google Dylan Thomas and an entirely new generation have their eyes open to this incredible poet," Rhys stated.

Written by Christopher Monger from Taffs Well in Rhondda Cynon Taf, "Dear Mr. Thomas" marks the 150th anniversary of 92NY. Rhys played a key role in getting the work commissioned. The play's title draws inspiration from the letters written by 92NY Poetry Centre Director John Malcolm Brinnin, who was instrumental in bringing Thomas to the United States in 1950.

The premiere of "Dear Mr. Thomas" will take place on the same stage where "Under Milk Wood" was first performed in 1953, with Dylan Thomas himself as First Voice. Thomas had arrived in New York determined to complete the play, which follows a day in the life of characters in a fictional Welsh fishing village called Llareggub. Remarkably, the play was still being worked on until its debut performance at 92NY, and a recording of Thomas reading the work was made by chance.

Rhys' partner, Keri Russell, will portray the role of Liz Reitell, a significant figure in Thomas' life who played a crucial role in getting the first production of "Under Milk Wood" on stage. Kate Burton, daughter of the legendary actor Richard Burton, will also be part of the cast for this premiere reading.

Although Dylan Thomas passed away in November 1953, just months after the premiere of "Under Milk Wood," his tours of America remain legendary. Rhys noted that Thomas was treated like a rock star by his fans when he performed in New York, with people standing in the aisles and chanting the names of his poems. The premiere of "Dear Mr. Thomas" promises to be a fitting tribute to the poet's enduring legacy and the impact of his time in New York during the creation of his most famous work.

Key Takeaways

  • "Dear Mr. Thomas" play premieres on May 14, 2024, at 92nd Street Y in New York.
  • Matthew Rhys stars as Dylan Thomas, alongside Keri Russell and Kate Burton.
  • Rhys hopes Taylor Swift's album mention will introduce Thomas' work to a new generation.
  • The play marks the 150th anniversary of 92NY and is written by Christopher Monger.
  • The premiere takes place on the same stage where "Under Milk Wood" debuted in 1953.