The Irish… and How They Got That Way

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The Irish… and How They Got That Way
MusicVarious
LyricsVarious
BookFrank McCourt
Premiere1997 (1997): Irish Repertory Theatre
Productions1997 Off-Broadway

2000 Off-Broadway revival

2010 Off-Broadway revival

The Irish… and How They Got That Way is an Off-Broadway musical first performed in 1997 at the Irish Repertory Theatre. With book by Frank McCourt, the play featured an eclectic mix of Irish music: ranging from the traditional "Danny Boy" to U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."[1]

Development[edit]

Recognizing a 1990s interval of cultural Hibernophilia, Frank McCourt wrote The Irish… and How They Got That Way, which premiered in 1997 at the Irish Repertory Theatre, where McCourt had previously acted.[2] The play combines primary documents, such as news, letters, photos, paintings, and journals, either in spoken words[3] or in projections upon the backdrops[4][5] to illustrate the Irish-American struggle over the prior 150 years.[5]

Press notes described it as an "irreverent but affectionate history of the Irish in America that mingles laughter and sentiment in a tapestry of classical songs and stories. The production encapsulates the most tumultuous times of the past century with the vibrant humor and bitter irony that had become the trademark of the author."[6]

The show was revived at the same theatre in 2000,[7] and again in 2010 with some script changes[4] for the one-year anniversary of McCourt's death on July 19.[2][6][8] Previewed from July 14 and scheduled to run from July 22 to September 5,[2][6] the show was extended through September 26 due to enthusiastic reviews and responses.[3][9]

Reception[edit]

Broadway World summarized the play's reviews:[2][5][7][8][10][11]

The Associated Press' Jennifer Farrar called The Irish… and How They Got That Way "pure enjoyment ... an exuberant, mostly Irish cast enacts McCourt's wide-ranging material that sizzles with outrage, wit, pride, and of course, sentiment." For NY1, Time Out's David Cote proclaimed: "The cast of two men and four women put on a spirited, jaunty show by alternating singing, dancing and reciting with fluid ease in Charlotte Moore's brisk, affectionate staging." In his The New York Times review, Andy Webster observed "the buoyant blend of traditional songs, show tunes and pop is delightful." According to Theatermania.com's David Finkle, the revival is "a fitting tribute to everything Irish." In the New Yorker, Trish Deitch wrote "the production, directed by Charlotte Moore, is full of confidence and humor, and with the help of a talented cast, the Irish come out on top." And in her CurtainUp.com review, Elizabeth Ahlfors concluded "all that was missing was a pint of Guinness."[9]

Cast and credits[edit]

Notable cast and credits included:[2][6][11][12][13][14]

Performances[edit]

Venue City Season
Irish Repertory Theatre Chelsea, New York 1997
Irish Repertory Theatre Chelsea, New York 1999
Irish Repertory Theatre Chelsea, New York 2000
The Fulton Opera House Lancaster, Pennsylvania 2006
Irish Repertory Theatre Chelsea, New York 2010
Ivoryton Playhouse Essex, Connecticut 2011
Somerville Theatre Somerville, Massachusetts 2013[15]

Songs[edit]

The musical incorporates the following Irish-American music:[2][3][4][5][7][11]

A cast album was released in 1998 by Varèse Sarabande.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Byrne, Terry (4 Feb 2013). "Frank McCourt's 'The Irish… and How They Got That Way' is a celebration". Theater & Art. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 18 May 2014. The proceedings bear out a determination to set the record straight about the tragedy of the Great Famine, and evince a reverence for John F. Kennedy, a pride in iconic Irish-Americans George M. Cohan and James Cagney, and a humorous, slightly bitter attitude toward British oppression.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Webster, Andy (5 Aug 2010). "'The Irish… and How They Got That Way': Tale of Immigrant Tribe Viewed in Emerald Lens". Theater Review. New York Times. p. C2.
  3. ^ a b c Propst, Andy (22 Jul 2010). "'The Irish… and How They Got That Way' at the Irish Repertory Theatre". Backstage. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Hollander, Judd (27 Jul 2010). "'The Irish… and How They Got That Way': Quite entertaining". Theatre. The Epoch Times. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d Farrar, Jennifer (1 Aug 2010). "'The Irish… and How They Got That Way' is pure enjoyment". Arts. Dallas Morning News. New York City: Associated Press. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Gans, Andrew (22 Jul 2010). "Irish Rep Revival of 'The Irish… and How They Got That Way' Opens July 22". U.S./Canada. Playbill. Playbill, Inc. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Finkle, David (22 Jul 2010). "'The Irish… and How They Got That Way': The Irish Repertory Theatre offers a lively revival of Frank McCourt's tune-filled show". Theater Mania. New York City. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  8. ^ a b Cote, David (27 Jul 2010). "Time Out Theater Review: 'The Irish… and How They Got That Way'". Theater Reviews. NY1. Time Warner Cable News. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  9. ^ a b BWW News Desk (11 Aug 2010). "Irish Rep Extends 'The Irish… and How They Got That Way' Thru 9/26". Broadway World. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  10. ^ Deitch, Trish (2010). "Also Notable: The Irish… and How They Got That Way". New Yorker. Retrieved 8 Aug 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Ahlfors, Elizabeth (2010). "A CurtainUp Review: The Irish… and How They Got That Way". Retrieved 8 Aug 2014.
  12. ^ Lohrey, David (2001). "A CurtainUp Review: The Irish… and How They Got That Way". Retrieved 8 Aug 2014.
  13. ^ "'The Irish… and How They Got That Way': Irish Repertory Theatre". Lortel Archives. Lucille Lortel Foundation. 2 Oct 1997. Archived from the original on 9 August 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  14. ^ "'The Irish… and How They Got That Way': Irish Repertory Theatre". Lortel Archives. Lucille Lortel Foundation. 26 Sep 2010. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  15. ^ "Frank McCourt's 'The Irish… and How They Got That Way': About the Show". 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  16. ^ "The Irish... And How They Got That Way [Original Cast Recording] - Frank McCourt | Releases".