Woodbury actors take 'An Irish Journey'Grab your green, your shamrock and get ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Woodbury Community Theatre in St. Paul.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Grab your green, your shamrock and get ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the Woodbury Community Theatre in St. Paul.
The Woodbury Community Theatre will present the Irish-music revue “An Irish Journey” March 18 to March 19 at the James J. Jill House.
“There’s a strong Irish ethnicity in St. Paul – there’s a big hunk of Irish immigrants who settled here,” director Lenore Weir said. “But it doesn’t matter if you’re not Irish because everybody’s Irish that weekend.”
A partnership in St. Paul
The Woodbury Community Theatre began performing at the James J. Hill House three years ago when it performed an Irish-themed show.
From there, the Woodbury Community Theatre performed three other revue shows.
“Since that first Irish show, the manager has been plaguing me to come back and do it again,” Weir said. “So this year I said ‘all right.’
“They love having us and it’s a wonderful setting.”
Performing at the James J. Hill House, in the art gallery, is a unique performance for the 12 performers in the show since they have to fit into a 16-foot by 12-foot space.
“It’s a very different type of performance since you don’t have a stage —you’re right in the audience’s lap,” Weird said. “You have to figure out how to make it fun, interesting and exciting in a very tiny space.”
The space only seats 120 people.
A journey of Irish music
“An Irish Journey” is a revue of traditional and nontraditional Irish music, however there is a threat that ties all the songs together.
“Essentially the show is a journey from Ireland to American singing many of the Irish standards you love to hear,” Weir said. “We tied a little storyline through the show telling what happened in the 1840s when the potato famine happened in Ireland.
“People were dying, so they had to leave their home or starve to death — the show is about these immigrants who came across the ocean.”
Some of the songs included in the show are: “Danny Boy,” “Molly Malone,” “Look to the Rainbow” and “Sidewalks of New York.”
Even though “An Irish Journey” will showcase many of Ireland’s traditional songs, don’t expect to see any clogging.
“Unfortunately that’s something we don’t do very well or had time to do,” Weird said.
However, Weir said her cast has been working on their Irish accents for the small bit of dialogue in the show.
“They won’t have the accents during the numbers because it’s hard enough to learn complicated vocals without learning a complicated accent as well,” she said. “But, during the dialogue, they’re working on their accents — it’s actually kind of fun to hear them.”
Weir said she is very excited about “An Irish Journey.”
“I am ecstatic about this show,” Weir said. “I like the music in this particular grouping more than any other show we’ve done.
“Some of the music is very challenging, but I have people who can handle it — I truly love the music.”
Woodbury Community Theatre’s production of “An Irish Journey” will run March 18-19 at 7:30 p.m. at the James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Avenue, St. Paul. Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for children ages 6 to 17. Tickets can be purchased by calling (651) 297-2555 or online at www.woodburycommunitytheatre.org.
Visit www.woodburybulletin.com for a video of Woodbury Community Theatre’s performance of “Paddy Works on the Railway” from its production of “An Irish Journey.”