Brian Leo has enjoyed a career in the performing arts for many decades.
Now, the former Beverly resident is utilizing his talents to produce a play at Gaelic Park in Oak Forest with a unique, over-the-top storyline.
Leo will direct and play the lead role in “Dooley’s Raid,” an original play about a group of people plotting to kidnap the queen of England during her visit to Kentucky, during six performances that will span from Nov. 8-17.
Leo, an Evergreen Park native who now lives in suburban Frankfort, is one of five cast members in a show that he said has a “cockamamie plot.”
“My cast has been working especially hard because their work schedules don’t allow them to work more than twice a week,” Leo said. “Usually, you have three times a week when you’re scheduling a show. … They’re really jelling together. I’ve got at least two guys who are going to steal the show.”
Leo’s play, which is presented by the Gaelic Park Players, is based on Queen Elizabeth visiting Kentucky in May 2007 for the Kentucky Derby. He produced it before, but the new version has added characters and jokes.
Performances will include the play, which will last about an hour, followed by a sing-along with patriotic Irish songs.
“Dooley’s Raid” is set in an Irish pub, as an Irishman teams up with an off-duty policeman, a bartender and two musicians for the kidnapping.
Scott Fiedler (Chicago), Meek Azarkiewicz (Tinley Park), Michael dePriest Reed (Robbins) and Amanda Leo (Chicago)—Brian’s daughter—join him in the cast.
The small ensemble has spent recent days rehearsing, and Leo, who was once part of the Beverly Theatre Guild, likes how the play is coming together.
“There are only five of us,” Leo said. “It’s working.”
Leo delved into acting “just to please a girlfriend,” he said, and he spent 42 years performing at Renaissance fairs. He tried writing musicals “just to see if I could do it,” and he’s now written 25, along with 130 songs.
Not every musical became a reality, but Leo maintains his sense of humor about their fate.
“Some of them got performed,” Leo quipped. “Some of them got appreciated.”
Leo acted this past spring in the Gaelic Park Players’ performance of “Moll,” in which the title character is a housekeeper for priests. Shows were performed at Gaelic Park and in Ireland.
However, he has enjoyed branching out from acting. Becoming a playwright and director has expanded his view on the performing arts.
Leo is excited to showcase his many talents in “Dooley’s Raid.”
“As an actor, you’re playing your role,” Leo said. “As a director, you’re interpreting everyone’s mind.”
“Dooley’s Raid” will open at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8; with shows also taking place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9; 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10; 8 p.m. on Nov. 15; 8 p.m. on Nov. 16; and 3 p.m. on Nov. 17.
Tickets range from $7 to $27.
Gaelic Park is located at 6119 W. 147th St.
For tickets, visit the Gaelic Park Players website at gaelicparkplayers.org or call Gaelic Park at (708) 687-9323.