November 8, 2018: The Keegan Theatre announces the cast and creative team of its beloved holiday tradition, AN IRISH CAROL, written by Dublin native and Keegan company member Matthew J. Keenan. AN IRISH CAROL, returning for its eighth season, runs December 13- 31, 2018, at the Keegan Theatre in Washington, DC. Press opening is December 14, 2018.
Directed by Mark A. Rhea, AN IRISH CAROL features many cast members reprising their acclaimed performances from years past: Kevin Adams (Dave), Caroline Dubberly (Anna), Mark A. Rhea (Jim), Timothy H. Lynch (Frank), Josh Adams (Bartek), and Mick Tinder (Richard) all return to familiar roles. This year, two AN IRISH CAROL alumni return to the show playing different roles: Josh Sticklin, who originated the role of Bartek and played the role for the production’s first 6 seasons, now takes on the role of Simon; and Jon Townson, who originated and played the role of Simon for the first six years, moves into the role of Dave’s brother, Michael.
“It’s going to be particularly fun to work on the show this year,” says director and Keegan’s producing artistic director Mark A. Rhea. “Audiences will recognize a cast of beloved AN IRISH CAROL veterans, but will get to experience them in new roles.” There are several reasons for the casting shifts, some of which are practical. “As we’ve aged with the show, some cast members are now more suitable for different roles,” Rhea explains. “But it’s not only that. Having people who know this script so well take on a different role in it brings an exciting energy to the stage. Those actors now get to experience a familiar story through an all-new perspective of a different character. It shifts the dynamic in terrific ways, and keeps the work fresh and even more textured than in years past. I have a team of IRISH CAROL all-stars.”
The 2018 production team is also filled with AN IRISH CAROL veterans. Led by Helen Hayes Award-winning director Mark A. Rhea, the artistic team includes Sheri S. Herren (Assistant Director), Josh Sticklin (Production Manager), Alexis J. Hartwick (Production Stage Manager), Matthew J. Keenan, (Playwright / Set Designer), Dan Martin (Lighting Designer), Jake Null (Sound Designer), Kelly Peacock (Costume Designer), and Cindy Landrum Jacobs (Properties / Set Dressing).
Keegan audiences return year after year to enjoy this wildly popular production; it has become a tradition to bring friends and family to Keegan over the holidays to enjoy this uniquely Irish take on the classic tale. Set in a modern Dublin pub, AN IRISH CAROL is an homage to Dickens’ classic — told as only the Irish can. The play follows one evening in the life of David, a wealthy pub owner who has lost touch with his own humanity in the interest of self-protection and material success. But on this Christmas Eve — challenged by a voice from the past, provoked by those in this present, and faced with the reality of a lonely future – David’s life may change forever. AN IRISH CAROL is a modern fable, told with the biting humor and incisive candor of its Irish playwright.
Following the special early performance on Saturday, December 22 at 7:00 pm, Keegan presents a special holiday concert at 9:00 pm: “The Harry Bells: Keegan’s Greetings.” Back by popular demand, The Harry Bells holiday concert is another Keegan holiday tradition, as audiences raise a glass to the season alongside the cast of AN IRISH CAROL, while enjoying the unique sound of this wildly original, outrageously talented band. Hailing from Washington, DC, The Harry Bells are a horn-and-percussion tribute to the music of Harry Belafonte. WAMU’s Michael J. West has described their sound as “boisterous,” with each song “threatening to dance right out of the speakers.”
Rhea agrees. “If you served eggnog in a coconut, in a beach bar with Christmas lights, you might be getting close to The Harry Bells’ Keegan holiday concert,” he says. “This event is going to be so special — there’s no better way to celebrate the holidays than with Keegan’s IRISH CAROL and then THE HARRY BELLS. It’s a true Keegan tradition.”
This is Keegan Theatre’s 22nd season performing in Washington, DC.