Donnybrook – a Knockdown Irish Love Story

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Jenny Powers and cast
Credits:
Carol Rosegg
by: Sandi Durell
Based on the 1952 movie with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, “The Quiet Man,” this musical version, with book by Robert E. McEnroe and music and lyrics by the great American songwriter Johnny Burke, is a sweet love story that takes place in a fictitious village of Innisfree where tradition is everything.

When ex-boxer Sean Enright (bold voiced baritone Michael Halling) returns to his birthplace of Innisfree from “Pittsburgh – America,” he holds a secret. However, one of the first sights that takes his breath away isn’t the rolling hills, but a white-washed cottage, that he must immediately buy, and a feisty redheaded beauty Mary Kate Danaher (Jenny Powers) with whom he becomes immediately smitten. However, in order to court and marry the lovely, he would have to fight her ill-willed, quarrelsome brother Will Danaher (Ted Koch) for the 300 pd. dowry, which means so much to Mary Kate, from a tradition standpoint.The town matchmaker Mikeen Flynn (Samuel Cohen) is already scheming on how to make that happen, conjuring and creating a match between Will and the widowed local landowner Kathy Carey (Kathy Fitzgerald). Kathy, however, is more taken with Flynn.

It all unfolds in delightful song and dance and a look back to the mawkishness that was part of the great Irish tradition of love and romance. Will Sean fight again for his beloved Mary Kate? And who will Kathy choose to be her new mate?

Well, it’s a lot of blarney that gives rise to the magic of love with a charmingly talented supporting cast including the town busybodies Terry Donnelly, Barbara Marineau, along with Father Finucane (David Sitler).

A fine voiced Jon Fletcher sings the opening “Innisfree” (music/lyrics Richard Farrelly –used as the theme in the movie). Mary Mallen plays Esme, with Peter Cormican as Toomey and Kern McFadden as Gilbane.

You’ll get to hear some favorites; “It Could Happen to You,” “But Beautiful” and a comedy routine sung by Flynn and Kathy “I Wouldn’t Bet One Penny” and “Dee-lightful is the Word.” Heartfelt ballad “He Makes Me Feel I’m Lovely” (Jenny Powers) is a romantic moment.

And, yes, there is a Donnybrook – a knock-down, drag out fight between Sean and Will, but as in all magical love stories, all’s well that ends well.

Musical direction is by John Bell, choreography by Barry McNabb with skillful direction by Charlotte Moore.

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