Rialto hosts Women of Ireland
By Randall G. Mielke For Sun-Times Media February 28, 2013 10:32AM
Women of Ireland will perform at the Rialto in Joliet March 7. | Courtesy of Rialto
Women of Ireland
♦ 7:30 p.m. March 7
♦ Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet
♦ Tickets, $20-$55
♦ (815) 726-6600
Updated: February 28, 2013 4:28PM
Eric Cunningham, the creator, producer and director of the stage show Women of Ireland, believes that the eclectic nature of the production is the show’s main appeal.
“The show is not one dimensional,” he said. “One minute you’re listening to some of the greatest female performers to come out of Ireland and the next you are watching one of Ireland’s greatest male dancers and then you’re treated to some of the best Irish musicians on the planet.
“I have ensured some of the music and songs are left in a raw state to demonstrate the real and unadulterated true sound of Irish music,” continued Cunningham, who also composed some of the material in the show. “These pieces can be found alongside bigger and more arranged numbers.”
Women of Ireland will be presented March 7 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet.
Women of Ireland is an energetic, concert production that features live Irish music. The show features a 14-member cast which includes five lead female performers (three vocalists, one fiddle player and one lead dancer), one lead male dancer, two additional female dancers and a six-piece band.
The current Women of Ireland tour of North America features sisters and vocalists Fiona, Naomi and Evangeline O’ Neill, dancer Kelly McDonnell and fiddler Niamh Gallagher.
“Women of Ireland showcases a select group of female artists during the North American tour in an effort to demonstrate the well of talent that exists within Ireland’s traditions of music, song and dance,” Cunningham said. “The show depicts the pure qualities of Irish music in a contemporary setting, but also includes well-known, popular songs which will be given a stirring Celtic treatment.”
The Women of Ireland show has been in existence since 2010.
“It was an idea I had following the success of an album featuring all Irish performers in Ireland,” said Cunningham of how the group first started. “I thought it might be good to tour something centered on Ireland’s greatest female performers.”
According to Cunningham, Women of Ireland were guests of the Dublin Philharmonic Orchestra during a 12-week tour of North America in 2010.
Cunningham is pleased by the reaction of audiences to the production.
“The United States audiences are great because they have come to know a lot about Irish music, song and dance,” he said, “so they know when they are being presented with something of a particular quality and they react accordingly.”