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Frank McCourt’s ‘The Irish’ is a celebration
By Terry Byrne
SOMERVILLE — The late Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, teacher, and sometime actor,
represented the classic Irish immigrant of the first half of the 20th century. His text for the 1997 revue “The
Irish . . . and How They Got That Way,” now at the Davis Square Theatre, reflects that background.

Celebrating the Irish-American experience with familiar songs and poignant stories, “The Irish . . . and How
They Got That Way” features an ensemble of six multitalented performers who charm the audience with an
entertaining, two-hour show. The proceedings bear out a determination to set the record straight about the
tragedy of the Great Famine, and evince a reverence for John F. Kennedy, a pride in iconic Irish-Americans
George M. Cohan and James Cagney, and a humorous, slightly bitter attitude toward British oppression.

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Boston Globe
"The Irish..and How They Got That Way": with a Little Bit of Pluck
By Jack Craib
The musical revue “The Irish..and How They Got That Way”, now being presented at the intimate downstairs
Davis Square Theater in Somerville, begins rather unpromisingly with a medley of a half dozen Irish songs,
most very familiar, though quite well sung, threatening to be another one of those dreadfully dull “juke box”
almost plot-less (and often lifeless) musicals. Ah, but that’s where the magic of the late playwright Frank
McCourt (also author of “Angela’s Ashes”) comes in. Before we even realize it, the songs have become
integral parts of a moving tapestry that traces the historical pathways of the Irish on both sides of the pond.
What first seemed to be yet another of those ubiquitous ethnic celebrations that inevitably appear every
Saint Patrick’s Day, instead evolved into a tightly constructed and focused presentation of how the Irish “got
that way”, and, along the way, how the English “got that way” as well.
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South Shore Critic
New England Theatre Geek
Irish Nationalism and Irish Charm: “The Irish and How They Got That Way”
By Gillian Daniels
(Somerville) Frank McCourt’s The Irish and How They Got That Way is a musical revue that’s less about the
Irish than what goes into being Irish American.  Lots of drinking and tragic songs, it says. The fare is light,
airy, and mainly interested in adding to the mystique of the Emerald Isle.

The Irish and How They Got That Way is infectious in its charm.  It’s funny, sweet, and, at least for the first
half of the show, sad.  Stirring versions of “Danny Boy,” “Fields of Athenry,” and “Mrs. McGrath” can be
difficult to endure without a twinge of feeling.  The show never makes the mistake of taking itself too
seriously, though, with a cast all too happy to lapse into “Give My Regards to Broadway” as well as the
comic, “Finnegan’s Wake.”  
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Frank McCourt's The Irish...And How They Got That Way
By Nancy Grossman
Frank McCourt's The Irish...And How They Got That Way has settled into the Davis Square Theatre in
Somerville for an eight-week run which concludes, appropriately, on St. Patrick's Day. Written by the Pulitzer
Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes, the fast-paced musical revue premiered at the Irish Repertory
Theatre in New York in 1997 and previously played Boston in 1998. This production, under the direction of
Danielle Paccione, features the 2010 Philadelphia cast of six multi-talented young men and women, all of
whom play multiple instruments, sing, dance, and act, more or less in that order.
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