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STAGE TUBE: Reagle Music Theatre’s A LITTLE BIT OF IRELAND

The Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston is once again serving up its warm Irish brew, "A Little Bit of Ireland," described as "a sumptuous feast of Irish music, folk dancing, and light-hearted comic blarney designed to banish the winter blues and say 'welcome' to an emerald Irish spring." Now in its 14th year, this annual musical celebration of St. Patrick's Day, conceived and directed by Reagle's producing artistic director Bob Eagle, features some of the best and most renowned Irish performers assembled on stage anywhere anytime.

This year world-famous Gaelic fiddler Séamus Connolly joins the Reagle clan, bringing his internationally acclaimed talent to a number of traditional Irish folk tunes. The Sullivan Artist in Residence and recipient of an endowed chair at Boston College, Connolly is one of the world's most respected master Irish musicians and teachers. Born in Killaloe, County Clare, Connolly won the Irish National Fiddle Championship an unprecedented 10 times. Now living in Maine, he is currently working on a music book and an accompanying 10-CD collection of more than 300 Irish tunes. The work will include newly composed music and traditional songs seldom heard in performance today.

World Champion Irish Step Dancer Liam Harney, who performed the role made famous by the legendary Michael Flatley in the London production of "Riverdance," returns once again with his electrifying troupe from the Harney Academy of Irish Step-Dancing in Walpole. Harpist extraordinaire Judy Ross of Burlington is also back, leading an ensemble of 12 heavenly pedal harp players ranging in age from seven to 70.

Galway-born fiddler Larry Reynolds, founder of the Boston Chapter of the Irish Musicians Association, performs toe-tapping traditional Irish folk music with the lively Celtic ensemble Comhaltas. Featured soloists Rusty Russell and Broadway's Sarah Pfisterer ("Phantom of the Opera," "Show Boat") delight with favorites like "Danny Boy," "Harrigan," "If You're Irish, Come into the Parlor," and "The Irish Blessing."

Local comedian and Reagle favorite Harold "Jerry" Walker of Waltham gets Irish eyes smiling with a barrage of riotous jokes and irreverent stories told with an impish grin and the charm of a leprechaun. Reagle's own Irish Tenors croon familiar lullabies and romantic ballads in lilting four-part harmony. A host of spirited Irish classics are sung by Reagle's renowned adult choir, including solos by Lisa Dempsey of Boston, Katie Ford of Watertown, Erik Sachs of East Boston, Gary Vincent of Bedford, and Jean Alfred Chavier of West Roxbury.

If watching John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in "The Quiet Man" is your idea of classic St. Patrick's Day viewing, then Reagle Music Theatre's annual wearing o' the green is definitely your cup of Irish tea. Called "a truly great day for the Irish" by New England Entertainment Digest and "a little bit of heaven" by the MetroWest Daily News, "A Little Bit of Ireland" is also a bountiful pot of musicAl Gold at the end of the Celtic rainbow.

Performances of "A Little Bit of Ireland" are set for Saturday, March 17 at 2 and 6 p.m. and Sunday, March 18 at 1 p.m. in the Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham. Tickets are $35-$50 for adults, $25 for youths 5-18, with $2 off for seniors 60 and older. Group rates are also available. For tickets and information call the Box Office at 781-891-5600 or visit www.reaglemusictheatre.org.

 



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