I am Some Mum Power Mum

Letterkenny Musical Society will present the outrageous “Nine to Five” to the boards of An Grianán Theatre next week.  This is the first production of the hit musical in the North West.

This wonderful, heartwarming and funny tale of three amazing women is being brought to us by a cast of equally brilliant local women.

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Three secretaries turn the tables on their boss in an office driven by chauvinism.  The film starred Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. Over 20 years later, it was adapted for the musical stage, with Dolly writing a number of new songs, combining country with rock and roll, along with some big band swing and beautiful ballads.

For lovers of the film, the story will be familiar. Indeed, large sections of dialogue are unchanged.

Nicola Shields plays Violet, Rachel Akkoç plays Judy, and Ciara Gallagher takes on the challenge of channelling Dolly as she brings Doralee to the stage.

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Rachel, Ciara and Nicola in rehearsals

Maria Rushe plays Roz, Laura Harvey plays Hart’s wife Missy, while Mariosa Bryce, Andrea Logue and Lorraine Porter are Kathy, Maria and Margaret.

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DW spoke to 5 of the ladies involved in the production on and off the stage; the 3 leading ladies, the Co-Director and the Choreographer.

 

Nicola Shields plays Violet.

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Nicola excels as Violet

Nicola is wife to Johnny & Mum to 2 beautiful furbabies, Belle & Seve.  She teaches Modern languages at Mulroy College, Milford. Nicola has been a member of LMS since 1999 & has been involved in every production since then, playing various leading roles over the years.
Nicola said, “I’m very excited to be part of 9 to 5 & very much looking forward to bringing Violet to life next week . Great to be involved in a show that offers 3 leading roles to ladies over 40 !!”

 

 

 

Ciara Gallagher plays Doralee

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Ciara has morphed into Doralee. She even has the giggle perfected!

Ciara is a primary teacher in Carrigart. She is married to James and is a mother of four.  She has made the role of Doralee her own and is loving playing the infamous character played by Dolly Parton herself in the movie version.   

Ciara said “Doralee is a wonderful character; she is sassy and feisty, funny and vulnerable. I feel very lucky to play such a strong female role, and luckier still to be involved in a show that highlights women’s issues in such a positive and uplifting way, with super-talented fellow cast members. This really is a show not to be missed!”

 

 

 

Rachel Akkoç plays Judy.

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Rachel is beautiful as vulnerable Judy

Rachel hails from Dublin, but considers herself to be ‘adopted Donegal’, having moved to Letterkenny in the early 90s. She has two sons, Ziya and Zana, with her Turkish husband, Ejder. Rachel works in the public service by day, but her real love is performing. The stage has been her spiritual home for all of her 45 years. She is a trained dancer, an accomplished vocalist and has taken on countless diverse acting roles over the years. 
‘The role of Judy in 9 to 5 is one that I’m relishing. She starts out downtrodden, but having returned to the workforce, and with the help of her feisty co-workers, she gradually regains her mojo and becomes a strong, empowered and self-assured woman. I love portraying that metamorphosis.’

 

 

 

Roz

Maria Rushe is hilarious as Roz

Maria Rushe plays Roz.

Donegal Woman columnist Maria is married to Emmet and they have two little Drama Queens who inspire her blog, The S-Mum.  She teaches English & Drama in Coláiste Ailigh and has been a member of the LMS since 2004.  Having choreographed past shows, she now directs the show alongside Donal Kavanagh.  Maria loves the stage and has played many roles with LMS.

Maria said “Playing Roz is so much fun. She is clumsy and awkward and misses the point in so many ways. She loves Hart desperately, but has a very different journey to the other ladies. Roz is an intricate character who the audience will hopefully love, hate and sympathise with in equal measure.  And any show where I get to sing, dance and make people laugh is a joy for me. This show is my favourite yet.”

 

Rebecca Thompson is the Choreographer.

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The Lady who keeps them on their toes, Rebecca is choreographer.

Rebecca Thompson is 36 years old, married to Ian and she is mummy to six boys, James, Charlie, Harry, Freddie, Max and Bobby. She left her post as a secondary school teacher to open Encore Performing Arts Academy. This is her third year involved with LMS as choreographer.

“I love working with and bringing Musical Theatre movement to adults who may have no previous experience of dance. I find it really rewarding and humbling watching everyone put in the effort in making my vision and ideas come alive on stage,” says Rebecca.

 

Obviously, we have powerful men in and behind the show also.  Our leading man Franklyn Hart Jnr is played by Donegal’s finest performers, Giles Murray.

Kieran Connor plays Joe, the junior accountant who’s in love with Violet; Joe Harley plays Doralee’s husband Dwayne; while Anthony McGarrigle plays Dick, Judy’s ex-husband.  The leading men deliver stellar performances along side the women.

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Our male chorus. Director Donal Kavanagh back centre, Producer Noel O’Donnell Back left.

The show is produced by Noel O’Donnell and directed by Donal Kavanagh and Maria Rushe.

Musial direction comes from the ubertalented Mark Bradley.

The show runs at  An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny from Tuesday, February 27, to Saturday March 3.

Show time is 8pm and tickets cost €18 and €20.

For booking, go to www.angrianan.com or ring 0784 91 20777.

 

 

 

I am Still Stage Mum

The talented folk of the Letterkenny Musical Society take to the stage tonight for the opening night of  their production of Jesus Christ, Superstar.
I watched the dress rehearsal last night.  It’s stunning and apart from the Saturday matinee, is sold out.
Rightly so.
It’s utterly spectacular.

I’m not involved this year.
That makes me sad.

Obviously,  I have my hands pretty full with Mini Me and Princess, so the show this year was really not an option for me.
I hadn’t really missed it to be honest…until Sunday.

Hubby was in the theatre helping to build the set as usual.
I took the kids in to see what was happening and to say hi to everyone.

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It was the most beautiful, sunny and crisp February Sunday.  The side door to the stage was rolled up, sunlight flooding the stage.  Lighting rigs were hoisted at head height while the crew worked on them.  The production team were creating what would be huge columns for the set.
I stood in the middle of it and closed my eyes.  The familiar voices of Hubby and the usual suspects calling instructions to each other, co-operating and working together, made me smile.  The sounds of the cordless drill…the smell of fresh wood and sawdust…the muffled conversation of the sound guys from the auditorium… it was beautiful.

I opened my eyes and looked at the chaotic scene in front of me, wondering (not for the first time in my theatre life), at how within just a few hours, this chaotic canvass would be transformed into a completely believable world into which the cast would step.
Do you miss us?”  My thoughts were interrupted by the familiar voice of our Producer.   And for the first time, I answered that question without having to think about it or feel guilty for admitting it.
Soooooo much.”

I’ve been asked this asked few times in conversations over the past few weeks.  As the publicity for their show caused conversations to turn to it more and more, I’ve heard “Are you involved this year?” or “Do you miss it?”   My automatic answer?  “Not at all, sure I dont have time to miss it!” (Cue careless laugh!)

More often than not however, the question has been more of a statement.  “Obviously you’re not involved this year.” or “I’m sure you don’t miss it, sure you have more important things to think about.
One friend, meaning well when I admitted that I was missing the build-up to the show, went as far as “But sure look at what you have there.  That’s much more important than a show.”

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He pointed at my 3 month old Princess who was sleeping in my arms while I ate lunch (with one hand as usual!)
And of course he was right.
She and her sister are the most important thing in my world.
They are my show.
They are my production.
They are the choreographed chaos of which I’m most proud, and I’ll direct them through life with the same dedication and love that I put into the shows.

But they are also only a part of me.
Yes, I am their mummy, but I’m still me.
I’m still the drama queen that lives for the stage.
I still love the theatre.
I still get goosebumps when I hear someone hitting that note.
I still get so carried away watching my closest friends on stage, that I cry because I absolutely believe the pain they are conveying.

And so, standing there on Sunday,  I didn’t feel guilty admitting that I miss it.
I didn’t feel guilty last night at the dress rehearsal when I admitted that I’m heartbroken that my friends and Hubby are going to have the best week of their year, without me.
And I won’t feel guilty getting involved again next year.

My girls will grow up in rehearsals for shows.
They’ll see the stress and work and time and effort that goes into this “hobby”.
They’ll learn confidence, respect, organisation skills.
They’ll experience the fruits of the long months of hard work, and they’ll learn that if you want something to happen, you must work to make it happen.
They might even perform on stage with me at some point.
Maybe they’ll hate it all.  That’s OK too.

But if I can’t continue up to be who I’ve always been, just because I’ve been blessed with two little darlings, I’m not doing anyone any favours.

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So this week, I’ll pull up my big girl pants and enjoy watching the people I love so much enjoying their success.
I’ll  cheer them on and encourage them to believe that they are indeed fabulous.
On Saturday night,  I’ll sit in the audience and I’ll clap and cheer and celebrate their achievements.
Because they are Superstars.

And whether I’m on the stage, or in the audience,
I AM Still Stage Mum.

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