February 21, 2018
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James Joyce’s The Dead

Community Author: Frank Champa
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Contact: frando89@aol.com
Frank Champa
Frank Champa

The Marsh River Theater in Brooks is about to open the Broadway musical from 2000, “James Joyce’s The Dead”. The Tony Award winning show based on the famous short story by Joyce, Set in 1904 Dublin, Ireland, is on the surface about an annual Christmas party given each year by two elderly sisters and their niece, the Mrs. Morkains, all three music teachers. When you research the story some you find out that the story is laden with references to James Joyce’s opinion of not only Ireland as a country, but also the opinion of Irish people. The title of the story and the show, the dead, is referencing the Irish as dead, not only in spirit but also, under British rule, dead as Irish. Ireland was under British rule until 1949.

The party is attended by family and friends and an occasional musical celebrity.  The show is filled with 16 songs, written for the show, but many lyrics are that of Joyce’s poems or verse. Two songs are of actual people from Ireland, Kate Kearney and Charles Parnell. Kate was a famous pub owner. She brewed something she called Kate’s Mountain Dew, said by locals to be illicit. Charles Parnell was a Irish Nationalist that was brought down in shame by having his long term affair with a married woman exposed. This wonderful musical has something for everyone, dancing, singing, some jolly times and some tears.  The show stars Frank Champa, Suzanne Hall, Nancy Quimby, Theo Vanderventer, Melissa McDonald, Mike Switzer, Liz Yori, Larry Wyman, Randy Nichols, Cathy Butler, Elena Donovan, Chase Weaver, Lottie Eastham, Julia Vines and Molly Donovan. Musicians: Theo Vanderventer, Kathy Vanderventer, Lisa Cooley and Melissa McDonald.
The show opens October 20 at 7:30 and has shows on October 21, 27 and 28. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Call the Box Office at 722-3236 to reserve seats.