The Irish...and How They Got That Way, the musical revue that has proved a durable hit for NYC's Irish Repertory Theatre, will return to the Off-Broadway house for a month-long stay, Aug. 28-Sept. 23. The play, a mix of traditional Irish music, history and blarney penned by Frank McCourt, originally opened at Irish Rep Oct. 2, 1997, and had an extended run through Jan. 25, 1998. After a sold-out run at Boston's Wilbur Theatre, Irish returned to Irish Rep, June 10-Oct. 18, 1998. The musical's most recent return began Dec. 28, 1999, and ran through Feb. 6, 2000. The show also had a long run in Chicago at the Mercury Theatre.
A comic and lyrical reminiscence, Irish... was assembled by Frank McCourt, whose "Angela's Ashes" won Pulitzer and National Book Award prizes. Author McCourt was born in Brooklyn but spent his childhood in Limerick, which he termed, "a real city in an imaginary country." (McCourt and his brother, Malachy, also penned the revue-reminiscence A Couple of Blaguards, which played Off-Broadway.) The show mixes traditional Irish songs like "Too ra loo-ra-loo-ra" and "Danny Boy" with an account of Irish history and the Irish immigrants' experience in America, drawing on quotes from Irish writers and historical documents.
Directed again by artistic director Charlotte Moore, Irish will feature Peter Cormican, Terry Donnelly, Bob Green, Mark Hartman, Donna Kane and Ciaran Sheehan. The original cast included Ciaran O'Reilly, Rusty Magee, Sheehan, Donnelly, Green and Kane.
For information on The Irish...And How They Got That Way at Irish Rep, 132 West 22nd Street, call (212) 727-2737.
—By Robert Simonson