The day has finally arrived, Tri-Cities: the Irish are here.
Guns of Ireland, the original dramatic musical written by two Tri-City residents and performed by drama students at Tri-Cities Prep, opens at Pasco’s Columbia Basin College Theatre on May 1 after a year of work to bring it to the stage.
The musical takes place during two Irish rebellions — the Wexford Rebellion of 1798 and the Easter Rising of 1916.
Writers Jeffrey Payne and Mike Speegle use the historical events to weave in numerous classic Irish songs, such as Whiskey in the Jar and When Irish Eyes are Smiling, as well as the more politically charged Come Out, Ye Black and Tans, by Irish writer Dominic Behan, and Back Home In Derry by Bobby Sands, an Irish Republican Army member who died during a hunger strike in prison.
The writers reached out to Prep drama teacher Nina Powers and her husband and Prep’s dean of academics and music, Brett Powers, to help edit and revise the play with the help of student actors. Those students, who also helped design sets and props, will now perform the full run of the show.
“If rehearsals are any indication of the performances to come, people are in for a real and rare treat,” Powers said in a release.
The cast and crew have done a lot to improve and promote the show in recent months. The Irish consulate invited them to march in Seattle’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and perform at Seattle’s Irish Festival last month. They also recently staged a flash mob performance at Columbia Center mall in Kennewick.
The students met with Anthony Kearns of the renowned Irish Tenors when he performed in the Tri-Cities last year. Now they are working with 2006 Kennewick High School graduate Janet Krupin, fresh off a Broadway performance with Idina Menzel of Disney’s Frozen fame.
Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. May 1-2, 7-9 with a 2 p.m. matinee May 10.