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Frank McCourt's The Irish… and How They Got That Way at The Kimmel Center

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The Irish

Editor's Note: With St Patrick's Day coming up this Wednesday, March 17, Philly2Philly.com wanted to highlight a few cultural things to do in Philadelphia to celebrate Irish heritage --whether you have some, or not! The most obvious of these events, is to see a performance of Frank McCourt's The Irish....and How They Got That Way playing now at The Kimmel Center. Stay tuned for a listing of other cultural things to do for St Patty's Day. . .

Generation Y seems to be least in touch with their heritage and perhaps also their identity; but justly so, when prominent aspects of the cultures that once made the U.S. a melting pot have become commercialized ploys to sell T-shirts. There is hope, however, at least for the Irish. Frank McCourt’s ‘The Irish… and How They Got That Way’ is an entertaining crash course of noteworthy Irish history that anyone whose ever tasted their dad’s Guinness should check out.

Pulitzer-Prize winning author Frank McCourt, best known for his memoir Angela’s Ashes, does a fantastic job condensing the history of Irish good time, and perhaps far more prevalent, bad times into an evening of music and story-telling. You’ll find yourself stomping your feet, singing along, laughing and even whipping a few tears away at times. Each cast member pops in and out of various characters when not contributing to the ongoing narrative that tells Irish tales, and history from the beginning of time, right up to a rockin’ U2 finale. An impressive cast of six, play upwards of fifteen instruments, sometimes throwing them to one another to belt out solos.

The IrishI had the pleasure to catch up with the small but tight-knit cast and crew after the show. The cast, all of some Irish heritage, have gotten in touch with, and come to further understand, their Celtic roots since joining the show. A sense of authenticity that is not lost on the audience. But this isn’t just a show for the Irish, although, the cast does admit they have more fun when the viewers join in singing.

‘The Irish…’ now has extended dates and will be playing at the Kimmel Center’s Innovation Studio through April 18. Bring your singing voice, warmed up with a couple ‘Too Rah Loo Rah Loo Rahs’ and make sure to come early enough to get a Jameson to hold up for toasts.

Photo (Right): (from left) Andrew Crowe, Meredith Beck (standing) Janice Mays, Gregg Hammer. John Dykstra on keyboards.

Photo (Left): (clockwise from top right) Meredith Beck, Janice Mays, Andrew Crowe, Irene Malloy, Gregg Hammer. John Dykstra in center.

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Joshua Dukeman is a guest writer for Philly2philly.com. He is an instructor at the Doylestown Rock Gym and Adventure Center. He is currently working in the Education field and has been a driving factor in the successful Adaptive Climbing Program for children with special needs. For more information, visit www.doylestownrockgym.com