by Frank McCourt
directed by Charlotte Moore
July 14 – September 26, 2010
The Irish… And How They Got That Way is an irreverent history of the Irish through the tumultuous 20th and 21st centuries through the eyes of Pulitzer Prize winning author, Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes, ‘Tis, Teacher Man).
McCourt’s razor sharp wit, coupled with his trademark bitter irony, and his boundless love for the Irish People are all underscored by glorious music extending all the way from the auld Irish folk ballades, through George M. Cohan’s patriotic love songs to America, World War II standards sung in movies, USOs and foxholes all over the world, and including the latest from contemporary Ireland’s U2.
“Now in revival at the Irish Repertory Theater a year after McCourt’s death, the show displays a sturdiness that transcends passing vogue. . THE BUOYANT BLEND OF TRADITIONAL SONGS, SHOW TUNES AND POP IS DELIGHTFUL: Mr. Troy does a dandy George M. Cohan and Mr. Sheehan a devastating “Danny Boy.” – New York Times
“Charlotte Moore’s ensemble of four men and two women puts on a jaunty show, fluidly shifting among songs, jigs and recited passages. EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A SINGLE DROP OF GREEN IN YOUR VEINS, IT’S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE YOU’LL FIND A TEAR IN YOUR EYE.” – Time Out
“Making successful entertainment out of serious history is a rare gift. Yet from the tragic 1840s potato famine to a haunting, modern U2 anthem, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former history TEACHER FRANK MCCOURT’S RICHLY NARRATED, MUSICAL HISTORY LESSON, “THE IRISH … AND HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY,” IS PURE ENJOYMENT. “An exuberant, mostly Irish cast enacts McCourt’s wide-ranging material that sizzles with outrage, wit, pride and, of course, sentiment. Charlotte Moore, artistic director of the Irish Rep, has cohesively and artfully staged the work, with cast and musicians onstage in a storytelling grouping. Spirited narration of McCourt’s irony-tinged version of Irish history — combining fact, folklore, stereotypes and blarney — is interspersed with snippets or full productions of many familiar Irish songs, often accompanied by lively dancing. The troupe is backed by atmospheric projections of historical paintings, newspaper articles, letters, and black-and-white photos, yet the warmhearted production never feels like a documentary. THIS PRODUCTION OF “THE IRISH …” FULLY SUCCEEDS AS A SOULFUL, OFTEN ROLLICKING JOURNEY THROUGH 150 TUMULTUOUS YEARS OF IRISH-AMERICAN HISTORY.” — Associated Press
“Throughout the show, the music expresses a sentimental nostalgia through catch-in-your-throat numbers that make you reflexively tear up. the show concludes with U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” IT’S THE PERFECT ANTHEM FOR THOSE WHO PONDER WHAT THEY’VE GAINED — AND LOST.” — NY Post
“Ciaran Sheehan sings a beautiful version of “Danny Boy” in the Irish Repertory’s revival of Frank McCourt’s The Irish…And How They Got That Way but that’s far from the only reason for recommending this refreshing summer breeze from Galway Bay. THE SHOW IS A FITTING TRIBUTE TO EVERYTHING IRISH — AND, IN PARTICULAR, TO THE LIVELY, KEENING IRISH SONGS NOW POPULAR FOR EONS. Name the tune, and it’s a sure bet there’s a rendition here as feelingly sung by Sheehan and fellow original cast member Terry Donnelly, as well as Kerry Conte and Gary Troy, all of whom have been directed with Gaelic care by Charlotte Moore and choreographed with Celtic energy by Barry McNabb. Furthermore, the revered ditties are robustly accompanied by music director Kevin B. Winebold, and on violin, mandolin, and bodhran by Patrick Shields.” — Theatremania
“ONE CAN CELEBRATE A FRESH REVIVAL OF FRANK MCCOURT’S DELIGHTFUL MUSICAL, once again spiritedly directed by Charlotte Moore at the Irish Repertory Theatre. As with past presentations, THIS INCARNATION PROVIDES A WARM MIX OF SENTIMENT AND SHEER FUN. The show is both a history lesson and enjoyable entertainment all wrapped into one, thanks to the cast, contributions by the musicians, a helping of snappy choreography by Barry McNabb, original musical arrangements by Rusty Magee, Set and projection design by Shawn Lewis, costume deign by David Toser, lighting design by Michael Gottlieb and the loving overall direction by Moore, who clearly has an understanding affinity with and fondness for the work.” — William Wolf
“Presented by the Irish Repertory Theatre, the play is a memory-laden journey of Irish and Irish-American history, WRITTEN WITH BOTH A DASH OF WIT AND A MOURNFUL SMILE by Frank McCourt and sharply directed by Charlotte Moore. Casting is excellent. Particularly memorable is Ciaran Sheehan sings some of the more soulful numbers. Kerry Conte does a nice turn with such numbers as Galway Bay and Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly? Terry Donnelly works well with the hilarious story-song Finnegan’s Wake and nicely teams with Conte for The Rose of Tralee. Rounding out the cast are musical director Kevin B. Winebold (on piano) and Patrick Shields on numerous instruments (both of whom do a letter-perfect job). “The Irish…and How They Got That Way” is above all, an introspective piece. It offers a verbal (and very involving) historical essay, as well as some excellent music and more than a few elements of humor. IT’S A SHOW DEFINITELY WORTH CHECKING OUT.” — Epoch Times
“All that was missing was a pint of Guinness.” – CurtainUp.com
“The six performers entertain with a glint in their eyes, a sprint to their steps and a touch of Irish humor and wit to tell their many tales. A captivating capsule of Irish history performed to the hilt by a great ensemble cast.” – Talk Entertainment