Show History



Following their thrilling and successful collaboration on Ragtime, Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Terrence McNally knew that they had to work together again. After the size and scope of Ragtime, all three wanted to do something more intimate and chamber-sized.

Flaherty had also been wanting for years to do an Irish-themed piece, as well as one that would give him the opportunity to write for a gay character. It was McNally who first suggested an adaptation of the 1994 Albert Finney film, A Man of No Importance. Unlike Ragtime, it was a property that not many people knew, and it seemed to have all of the elements that the team wanted.  At first, though, neither Flaherty nor Ahrens saw how the piece could be  musicalized, but when McNally came upon the idea of having the show unfold in the memory of Alfie Byrne, A Man of No Importance began to sing.


  • A Man of No Importance began with an early reading at The Irish Repertory Theatre, and several readings at Lincoln Center Theater.
  • The show opened Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theater on October 10, 2002, with a cast that was led by Tony Award winners, Roger Rees and Faith Prince.
  • A Man of No Importance then enjoyed subsequent productions in Canada and the West End.

Cultural Influence

  • A cast recording of the Lincoln Center Theater production was recorded in 2002 and released in 2003.
  • The original cast featured Roger Rees, Faith Prince, Jessica Molaskey and Stephen Pasquale.
  • The title, A Man of No Importance, is a reference to Oscar Wilde's famous play, A Woman of No Importance, from 1893.


  • A Man of No Importance received seven Drama Desk nominations, including Best Musical, Best Music and Best Lyrics.
  • The Lincoln Center Theater production of A Man of No Importance marked the first musical venture for celebrated director, Joe Mantello.