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Arts and Entertainment

12th BCMfest gathering impressive lineup for Jan. 9-11 production

By BIR News Room, October 3, 2014

Boasting a line-up of familiar favorites, new faces and sounds, and creative collaborations, BCMFest (Boston’s Celtic Music Fest), presented by Passim, will once again warm up the winter in celebration of the Boston area’s abundance of Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, and other Celtic-related music and dance traditions. Read more

For McCaela Donovan, life is all about theatre

By R.J. Donovan, special to the BIR, October 3, 2014

The actress and educator McCaela Donovan (no relation) could definitely use a few more hours in her day. For her full-time job, she’s Assistant Director of the School of Theatre at Boston University. Beyond that, she also finds time to serve as Associate Artistic Director of Bridge Repertory Theatre, currently beginning its second season. Finally, as a much in-demand talent, she’s appearing in Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning “Assassins” at New Repertory Theatre in Watertown. Read more

Phil Coulter will perform at IPC benefit event Oct. 14

By BIR News Room, October 3, 2014

Legendary Grammy-nominated musician, songwriter, singer and producer Phil Coulter will perform a concert on Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill to benefit the Irish Pastoral Centre-Boston (IPC), a non-profit organization that helps Irish immigrants make the transition to life in America. Read more

For the O’Briens, it’s about more than dancing

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, October 3, 2014

The O’Brien family has plenty to show for its involvement with Irish dancing. Their Newton home’s basement, renovated some years ago to accommodate a small practice studio, is full of photos and trophies that chronicle the success of Conor, 21, Claire, 23, and Alana, 25, over nearly two decades of competitions in the US and elsewhere. Read more

Early fall concerts slate: Lots going on

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, August 29, 2014

Greater Boston’s early fall Irish/Celtic concert slate includes a rare duet appearance by Beoga members Niamh Dunne and Sean Og Graham and a concert by new “super group” The Alt, both at The Burren, and a performance by one of Scotland’s most enduring and popular bands, the Tannahill Weavers, at a new location for the notloB Parlour Series.

• The Somerville-based Burren welcomes Dunne and Graham as part of its “Backroom” series on Sept. 10. The two are an integral part of Beoga, regarded as one of the most inventive and exciting groups to emerge in 21st-century Ireland. Read more

In the works: ‘Dancing at the Crossroads’ – one man’s look back at the ‘Irish Catskills’

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, August 29, 2014

It’s a sad but true fact of life, says Arlington resident Kevin Ferguson: Sometimes it takes a tragic event to spur you to start that project you’ve always been meaning to do. Read more

Backstage at ‘The Lion King’: Tending to the fetching jungle

By R.J. Donovan, special to the BIR, August 29, 2014

Sue McLaughlin, with three of the many puppets and masks she tends to backstage at Disney’s “The Lion King,” playing the Boston Opera House September 9 - October 12. 	Photo by Selena MoshellSue McLaughlin, with three of the many puppets and masks she tends to backstage at Disney’s “The Lion King,” playing the Boston Opera House September 9 - October 12. Photo by Selena Moshell

Somewhere in the depths beneath Boston’s Opera House lies a home and hospital for the extraordinary puppets that come to life nightly in Disney’s “The Lion King.”  One of the guardians of this theatrical ménage of giraffes, hyenas, and gazelles is the company’s Puppet Assistant, Sue McLaughlin. 

A native of Milford, NH, Sue has been working her magic with “The Lion King” for 16 years.  She was initially hired as a dresser with the original Broadway company, working closely with the Scar and Zazu puppets.  More recently, she has been applying her professional touch with the national touring company, which plays the Opera House from Sept. 9 to Oct. 12.

McLaughlin studied theater at Hofstra University and has a master of professional studies in art therapy from Pratt Institute.  Originally pursuing an acting career, she eventually found her calling backstage, building an impressive list of credits at Lincoln Center where she was part of the wardrobe department for prestigious productions of “Carousel,” “The Heiress,” and “A Delicate Balance.”  

We spoke by phone about her work with “The Lion King” during the show’s Washington, DC, run.  Here’s an edited look at our conversation. Read more

From Broadway to Boston Common

By R.J. Donovan, special to the BIR, August 1, 2014

Broadway actress and Nashua native Kerry O’Malley.Broadway actress and Nashua native Kerry O’Malley.

The Broadway actress Kerry O’Malley is currently spending her evenings on Boston Common appearing as Olivia in Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of “Twelfth Night.”   

Directed by Steven Maler, the Bard’s classic comedy of love in disguise runs through August 10.  All performances are free and open the public. Read more

Sharon Shannon shows set at Burren, Cultural Centre

By BIR News Room, August 1, 2014

Sharon ShannonSharon Shannon

Sharon Shannon has played with the likes of The Waterboys, Christy Moore, Jackson Browne, Frankie Gavin, Michael McGoldrick, Sinead O’Connor, and the RTE Concert Orchestra, among others, while taking her masterful Irish accordion playing (not to mention fiddle and whistle) on excursions through Appalachian, country, rock, hip-hop, reggae and Portuguese music. She has performed for Bill Clinton and Lech Walesa, and appeared in a charming music video frolicking with her dogs.
This month, the Clare native will be stopping in the Boston area for shows on Aug. 6 and 7 at The Burren in Somerville as part of the pub’s Backroom series, and on Aug. 8 at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton. She recently spoke with the BIR’s Sean Smith.
Read more

Irish fests at Music Circus, Melody Tent, and much more

By Sean Smith, special to the BIR, August 1, 2014

The South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset will hold its first-ever Irish music festival on Aug. 21, featuring renowned fiddler Eileen Ivers and her world-music band Immigrant Soul, along with The Fighting Jamesons and Celtica: Pipes Rock. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the concert begins at 7 p.m. Read more