The Irish...and How They Got That Way, a musical revue from NYC's Irish Repertory Theatre that has had more incarnations than clovers in a field, finishes its latest Manhattan return Feb. 6. Irish... 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 was extended a week, to Feb. 6. Many original cast members are back for the third go-`round, which began performances Dec. 28, 1999 and was to have ended Jan. 30, 2000.
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.)
Directed again by artistic director Charlotte Moore, Irish will feature Ciaran O'Reilly, Rusty Magee, Ciaran Sheehan, Terry Donnelly, Bob Green and Donna Kane. 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an account of Irish history and the Irish immigrants' experience in America, drawing on quotes from Irish writers and historical documents.
The show, which has a number of touring companies and is even planning an Australian jaunt, has proved a long-runner in Chicago. The mounting at Mercury Theatre opened March 8 and was scheduled to run to April 11, but that was extended into a year-long run, set to close March 26, 2000.
Varese Sarabande released an original cast CD of the New York show, produced by Bruce Kimmel, who's helmed nearly 90 disks for VS. For information on The Irish...And How They Got That Way at Irish Rep, 132 West 22nd Street, call (212) 727-2737.
Next up for the company will be The Country Boy.
-- By David Lefkowitz