Skip to main content Skip to footer site map



Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Greater Boston Stage Company at The Irish and How They Got That Way, created by Pulitzer Prize winning author, Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes). This musical revue is a celebration of a heritage that confronts adversity with determination, good humor, and a love of life. McCourt's wit, insight and boundless love for the Irish are underscored by music extending from the auld Irish folk ballads to World War II standards, and beyond. Directed by Dawn Simmons, performances run March 8 - 25, 2018. The Press Opening is Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 3:00pm.

"For me, music drives the storytelling in this piece. It was clear early on that I wanted to create a band, something that calls on Irish tradition, but puts a modern spin on it. Kirsten Salpini, the Music Director, has been an incredible collaborator, drawing out the connections between traditional Irish music and American Folk music," shares Simmons. Adding, "My Irish heritage has never been the way that I define myself, partly because it's not what people see when they look at me. But there is a resilience that runs in the blood of the Irish, that runs in the blood of Black lives, and all of humanity. If we can tap into that strength of character, that will carry us through - not just through this piece, but through generations."

The cast features Boston favorites William Gardiner, Nile Hawver, Michael Levesque, Kirsten Salpini, Nicole VanderLaan, and Ceit Zweil. Many of the actors will provide accompaniment on guitar, piano, violin and percussion.

The design team is comprised of Music Director Kirsten Salpini, Scenic Designer Shelley Barish, Lighting Designer Karen Perlow, Sound Designer John Stone, and Greater Boston Stage Young Company alum Brittany Rolfs in the dual-role as Costume Designer and Props Master.

The Irish and How They Got That Way production credits: Book by Frank McCourt, Original musical arrangements by Rusty Magee, Presented by special arrangement with The Irish Repertory Theatre Company, Inc.

Single Tickets for The Irish and How They Got That Way: $50-60 Adults; $45-55 Seniors; $20 Students (with valid ID). Thrifty Thursday tickets cost $15 at the door and are available for the Thursday, March 8, 2018 performance at 7:30pm. There will be a Talkback after the performance on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at 2:00pm. Girls' Night Out will take place Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 7:30pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at Greater Boston Stage Company at (781) 279-2200, or visit

DAWN SIMMONS (Director) is pleased to be making her Greater Boston Stage Company debut. She has directed productions for: SpeakEasy Stage Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare's Apprentice Program, Bad Habit Productions, Lyric Stage Company, Boston Public Works, New Exhibition Room, Suffolk University, Fresh Ink Theatre, Dorchester Fringe Festival, GAN-e-meed Theatre Project, The Theater Offensive, Our Place Theatre Project, Mill 6, Actors Refuge Repertory Theatre, Fort Point Theatre Channel, Boston Theatre Works, and As Yet To Be Theatre. Dawn is the Artistic Director of the Front Porch Arts Collective, Co-Artistic Director of New Exhibition Room, Director of Performing Arts at Boston Center for the Arts, and a proud Board Member at StageSource.

KIRSTEN SALPINI (Music Director/Ensemble) is returning to Greater Boston Stage Company after appearing in She Loves Me and Jonah and the Whale. Other Boston area credits include: Gypsy, Murder for Two (Lyric Stage), The Donkey Show (American Repertory Theatre), The Snow Queen (New Repertory Theatre). Kirsten is also a pianist and singer/songwriter, having worked for Carnival Cruise Lines, Bobby McKey's, Hershey Park, and more. She is a film & commercial actor locally, and teaches with Watertown Children's Theatre. Up next: Stuart Little at Wheelock Family Theatre. BFA Musical Theatre, Shenandoah Conservatory. More at

WILLIAM GARDINER* (Ensemble) is thrilled to be back in Stoneham! He has been seen in many holiday productions at GBSC: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (Santa), Nutcracker (Uncle Drosselmeyer), Miracle on 34th St. (Kris Kringle), It's a Wonderful Life (Clarence), Christmas on the Air (Perceval B. Frank) and Meet Me in St. Louis (Uncle Propheter). Other productions at GBSC include: Guys on Ice (Ernie the Moocher), Lumberjacks in Love (Dirty Bob), and Lobster Girl (Ole' Joe). Bill has worked with many other regional companies including; Wheelock Family Theatre, New Repertory Theatre, Boston Playwrights, Actor's Shakespeare Project, North Shore Music Theatre and the Publick theatre. Bill is a proud member of StageSource and is currently the drama instructor at Boston University Academy.

NILE HAWVER* (Ensemble) is so happy to be on the stage at Greater Boston Stage Company! He has been seen photographing most of their productions since 2016, and is grateful for the opportunity to be playing and singing with this amazing cast. Other Boston credits: Man of La Mancha (New Repertory Theatre), Edward II (Actor's Shakespeare Project), Finish Line (Boston Theater Company), Violet, and Mothers and Sons, (SpeakEasy Stage), Carmen and Greek (Boston Lyric Opera), The Edge of Peace (Central Square Theatre), Etherdome (The Huntington Theatre Company), Twelfth Night (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company). Regional credits include performances with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Ocean State Theatre Company, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and many more. Nile holds a BFA in acting from the University of Rhode Island, and an MFA in acting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His first professional acting job in the Boston area was actually The Irish and How They Got That Way, which ran in the Davis Square Theatre in 2013. During the run, he met Maggie Hall, the woman he would eventually marry. Proud AEA member. |

Michael Levesque (Ensemble) is eternally grateful to be asked back even though his last appearance on this stage included excessive amounts of pleather (Altar Boyz). Other regional credits include: Man of La Mancha (New Rep), Next to Normal, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Far From Heaven (SpeakEasy Stage Company), City of Angels (Lyric Stage Company), and Creative License (Boston and NYC premieres, via FringeNYC). Michael graduated with his BS in Computer Engineering from Northeastern University and counts himself a proud Husky.

NICOLE VANDER LAAN (Ensemble) is thrilled to be making her debut with Greater Boston Stage Company. Most recently she performed at New Repertory Theatre in Man of La Mancha (Tenorio/Guitar) and at Sturbridge Village with Brian Clowdus Experiences in Big River (Widow Douglas/Violin). Other recent credits include works with: Boston Lyric Opera, New Repertory Theatre, Reagle Music Theatre, Bad Habit Productions, NextDoor Theater, Woodland Theater Company, and Salem Theatre Company. Nicole is a multi-talented performer, working in the Boston area as an actor, musician, stage manager and teacher. In addition to her production credits, she works with various education and entertainment programs for Theatre Espresso, Kids Party Productions, Sciencetellers, Big Smile Entertainment, and History at Play. Nicole received a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance and a Minor in Theater Arts from Gordon College. Originally from Grand Rapids, MI, she now resides in Somerville, MA.

CEIT M. ZWEIL* (Ensemble) recently appeared as Dory/Evelyn in Merrily We Roll Along (Huntington Theatre Company), Gooch in Mame (IRNE nom.) and Rita in Lucky Stiff (both at Greater Boston Stage Company). Other credits include Smitty in How to Succeed... (IRNE nom.) and Alice in The Addams Family (both at GBSC), as well as work with OTP Slam, CHROMA, Commonwealth Shakespeare, Lyric Stage, Wheelock, New Repertory, New England Light Opera. She is front woman for Boston band Better Her Than Me, and a choreographer and arts educator with a BA in History (Smith) and a MA in Theatre Education (Emerson). She frequently works with The Young Company at GBSC.

*Denotes member of Actors' Equity Association.

Related Articles View More Boston Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You