Molly Sweeney received its first performance on August 9, 1994 at the Gate Theatre, Dublin. It was directed by Friel and featured Catherine Byrne as Molly, Mark Lambert as Frank Sweeney, and T.P. McKenna as Mr. Rice.
It received its American premiere in 1996 in an Off Broadway production at the Roundabout Theatre. Catherine Byrne again starred as Molly, Alfred Molina played her husband Frank, and Jason Robards played Mr. Rice. It won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play of the 1996 season.