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The Ivoryton Playhouse has the perfect present for St. Patrick’s Day, tied with a big green bow, and you don’t have to travel to Galway Bay or Killarney to open its magical contents. Until Sunday, April 3, you’re invited to wear your green shamrocks for Frank McCourt’s delightful musical history lesson “The Irish..And How They Got That Way.”

A quartet of talented singers and dancers will lead the parade of almost three dozen grand Irish ballads and pop tunes: Morgan Crowley, all the way from Dublin, along with Annie Kerins Michael McDermott and Kathleen Mulready. You can temporarily change your name to Kelly or Paddy or Clancy, but this fine troupe will have you wanting to dance a jig before you can say “Molly Maguire and Mrs. Murphy” three times fast.

The wonderful world of the Irish will come to life as you learn about the land of the wee little people where dreamers and music makers, seafarers and storytellers grew in abundance. When the potato famine strikes in the 1840’s, this hardy people set off for new and distant shores, many of them landing in the promised land of America.

Their welcome, on the non-existent streets paved with gold, was much less than they could have hoped for, as the message “No Irish Need Apply” blocked and hindered their progress for decades. Yet these same sturdy folk are credited with building canals and railroads, roads and sidewalks, and fighting for their new country in a hundred patriotic ways.

Their story is told in the glorious music that marks their progress forward and upward, musical numbers like “The Rose of Tralee,” “Give My Regards to Broadway,” “Danny Boy,” “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye,” and ending with a rousing “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Some names of famous people of Irish descent are sprinkled throughout like Oscar Wilde, Eugene O’Neill, Roy and Walt Disney, James Joyce, James Cagney, Bing Crosby and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The legacy from the Irish is rich and textured as penned by Frank McCourt.

For tickets ($40, seniors $35, students $20, children $15), call the Ivoryton Playhouse 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318. Performances are Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Save Saturday, May 21 for a gala birthday party as Ivoryton Playhouse celebrates its 100 years of great theater. Call 860-767-9520 for more information.

Prepare to go across the pond to the Emerald Isle, without the need to pack your bags, renew your passport or purchase traveler’s checks. Faith and begorra, you’ll have a fine trip.

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