One of the sleeper hits of 1997-98, Irish Repertory Theatre's musical revue, The Irish ...And How They Got That Way, is now proving a winner at Chicago's Mercury Theatre. Originally scheduled to run to April 11, the historical musical has been extended into an open run. The Mercury Theatre mounting, directed by Charlotte Moore, opened March 8. Starring are Curt Dale Clark, David Girolmo, Jane Baxter Miller, Justine Serino, Susan Voelz and Greg Walter.
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, currently playing an open run off-Broadway.
Irish... originally opened at NYC's Irish Repertory Theatre 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 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an account of Irish history and the Irish immigrants' experience in America, drawing on quotes from Irish writers and historical documents.
Varese Sarabande released an original cast CD of the 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 Chicago's Mercury Theatre call (773) 325-1700. Producing the Chicago mounting are Richard Frankel, Thomas Viertel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Josephine Merck and JAM Theatricals.
-- By David Lefkowitz