“The Bloody Irish,” a musical based on the events of the 1916 Easter Rising, will arrive to Broadway in April as part of the year-long centenary events taking place throughout the US.
First featured on PBS on October 17, 2015, the epic new production will open in the Neil Simon Theater, formerly the home of Hairspray, for a two week run, reports The Sunday Times.
Described by the Times as the “Irish Les Mis,” the show, based on one of the most prolific events in Irish history, will open on Tuesday April 10 for two weeks before taking off on an east coast tour.
Written by Horslips’ front-man Barry Devlin, directed for the stage by Michael Barker-Caven, and featuring music composed and arranged by David Downes, “The Bloody Irish” tells the Rising story from a British perspective with the show’s main narration coming from General Sir John Grenfell Maxwell, the man who signed the death warrants of the 1916 leaders.
"Bloody Irish" 1916 musical soon to air on PBS ahead of live tour
“The Bloody Irish,” a musical celebrating the coming of Irish freedom and the 1916 Easter Rising, is set to air on PBS, this Saturday, October 17, in preparation for a US tour in 2016. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1LlR9OiPosted by IrishCentral.com on Déardaoin, 15 Deireadh Fómhair 2015
Powerful new renditions of familiar Irish songs such as “Rocky Road to Dublin,” “Monto,” and “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” bring us back to the heart of the Rising and the people involved. From Maxwell himself, played by Malcolm Sinclair, and his own uncertain stance on the Rising outcomes and the execution of the leaders, to the often overlooked story of Elizabeth O’Farrell—played by Lisa Lambe, formerly of Celtic Woman—an Irish nurse and member of Cumann na mBan, best known for delivering the surrender in the Easter Rising of 1916, the show’s characters tells the painful story of the loss and fear of those who put their lives on the line for Irish independence and those who stood in their way.
The 80-minute musical drama was first filmed in a one-off performance in the Helix Theatre in Dublin last year and shown on PBS to great acclaim. With the inclusion of original material, the stage show is set to run to two hours. The original 23-person cast will reprise their roles on the Great White Way with Sinclair and Lambe joined by Lorcan Cranitch as James Connolly and Gavin O'Connor as Patrick Pearse.
@The_BloodyIrish Watched "The Bloody Irish" Saturday night on local PBS station in Philadelphia area. Absolutely, positively loved it.— Kathleen Rummel (@krummel503) October 18, 2015
The show comes to the US as a highlight of the US centenary events officially launched in New York on Thursday January 7, 2016, by Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan, Ambassador Anne Anderson, Senator Chuck Schumer, and actor Liam Neeson.
Speaking to IrishCentral before the PBS screening, writer Barry Devlin said “The Bloody Irish” stayed away from the “standard reiteration” of 1916 events and aimed to bring “something that wouldn't be thuddingly trite.”
He told IrishCentral, “This is entertainment. It's meant to be enjoyable and it's not trying to rewrite Irish history or anything, but it is trying to make a distinction from the standard reiteration of the story. And I always think that’s worth doing.”
“Maxwell obviously states it straight down the line as he saw it, as the empire saw it, and he only gradually comes to terms with something that he already knows,” he continued, "that the rebels were always going to lose and that failure was going to win it for them. They became martyrs.”
The show starts rehearsals in New York in March, coinciding with a pledge drive by PBS and WNET. Following on from its run on Broadway (April 10 – 24) the show will tour the east coast. For more information visit thebloodyirish.com or follow the show on Facebook.
For a full schedule of US 1916 events, visit the Ireland 2016 website here.
For more coverage of the 1916 Centenary, click here.