Washington, DC, March 17, 2010 — The Directors of SCENA Theatre are thrilled to announce the latest production in their 2009-10 season: the hit gangster drama PUBLIC ENEMY by renowned actor/director Kenneth Branagh. Starring in the title role is the acclaimed Irish stage and screen actor Barry McEvoy, who is a native of Belfast, Ireland, where Branagh’s play is set.

“It’s an honor to fly in a big talent such as Mr. McEvoy for the DC-area premiere of PUBLIC ENEMY,” stated Robert McNamara, Artistic Director. “Barry actually cut his teeth as a young actor with SCENA nearly 20 years ago.” McEvoy is best known for writing and starring in the Dreamworks film, An Everlasting Piece (2000), directed by Barry Levinson (Bugsy, Rain Man, and The Natural).

PUBLIC ENEMY was inspired by the classic 1931 Warner Brothers film, which launched the stellar career of James Cagney. In The Public Enemy, Cagney played a gangster with a meteoric rise and fall. Branagh's 1987 play is re-set in Belfast during the political “troubles” of the 1980's. The action takes place in a literal battle zone between rival factions of Catholic and Protestant paramilitaries.

Young Tommy Black is so good at imitating Cagney that he wins a local talent contest. Next, he aims to clean up the neighborhood like Cagney’s gangster persona. Soon, the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur — and Tommy’s tough play-acting spirals rapidly into murder. But, Republican Andersonstown is no place to pump a man full of lead — and no place to hide from the gangsters hunting Tommy down.

Press Night: Friday, Apr. 16th at 8pm; Reception to follow.

$10 Previews: Apr. 10th, 11th, 14th (Pay What You Can)

Official Run:  Apr. 16th – May 16th.  (Thurs. – Sat. at 8pm; Sun. at 3pm.) 


1365 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Press Info: Email, 

Phone 410.627.4454 or

Click on Press link (at left) for Photos

Ticket Prices: $25 - $33 ($15 on Thurs. for 30 & under)

Box Office: Buy tickets here (click on Tickets link) or

Reserve by Phone 703-683-2824.

Fun Events: “Speakeasy Saturdays” feature a complimentary cabaret soiree with free drinks and food after the show. Patrons may mingle with the cast and party like it’s Prohibition — all for one special ticket price.

“Thirsty Thursdays” introduce great international works to a new generation. 

Those 30 & under get a discount $18 ticket plus a free drink at any Thursday show.

Barry McEvoy (lead: Tommy) began his career with SCENA Theatre in 1990 and went on to appear in the Broadway touring company of Sisters Rosensweig by Wendy Wasserstein, and Stones in His Pockets at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Film credits include Gloria (1999 with Sharon Stone), An Everlasting Piece (2000, playwright / lead) directed by Barry Levinson for Dreamworks, Joel Schumacher's Veronica Guerin, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Roar with Heath Ledger. He most recently appeared in the world stage premiere of The Shawshank Redemption at the Gaiety in Dublin. McEvoy resides in Westmeath, Ireland.

Actors & Designers: PUBLIC ENEMY features a strong cast of local talent including Rena Cherry Brown (Helen Hayes Award winner), Daniel Kenner, Annie Grier, John C. Bailey, Mick McGuire, and SCENA veterans Ian Blackwell Rogers, Matt Dougherty and David Paglin. The Design Team is Michael C. Stepowany (Set), Marianne Meadows (Lighting), David Crandall (Sound) and Kimberly Dawn Morell (Costumes). The play is directed by Robert McNamara, SCENA Artistic Director, who first directed Barry McEvoy in past SCENA productions: The Havel/Beckett U.S. Premiere of Mistake by Vaclav Havel and Romulus the Great by Fridrich Durrenmatt.

Kenneth Branagh (playwright) has established himself as one of the elite actors of our generation. He co-founded the Renaissance Theatre Company in 1986. Film appearances include the acclaimed Balkan Trilogy with his then wife Emma Thompson for BBC-TV, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Henry V (director and title role), and recently Valkyrie with Tom Cruise. However, PUBLIC ENEMY was his first full-length play and his acclaimed production ran in July 1987 in London featuring Branagh in the title role.

SCENA Theatre brings the best international theatre to Washington, DC and stimulates cultural exchange between theatre artists, locally and worldwide. Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert McNamara and Managing Director Amy Schmidt, SCENA produces an annual season of plays, seasonally staged readings, as well as a Workshop Series aimed at developing new works from around the globe. To learn more about our mission or past stage productions, please visit