One of the most highly anticipated events of the year for fans of musical theatre across Mayo, the annual production from Ballinrobe Musical Society, kicks off with an eight night run of A Tale of Two Cities next week.
The award winning, rave reviewed, society is firmly ranked as the number one musical group in the country by AIMS (Association of Irish Musical Societies ).
This year it is celebrating a milestone 40th anniversary production.
Some of this year’s cast members, including Gerry Hughes, Tony Walkin, and Noel Ansbro, have been taking to the stage in Ballinrobe for four decades now, and were part of the society’s first production of The Pirates of Penzance in 1974.
Society stalwart Mr Walkin said the elaborate musical productions have become a pillarstone of community life in the south Mayo town.
“It is something that’s been bringing the whole town together for 40 years now. Great friendships have been formed and we’ve had some great times.”
“The whole community is behind this,” added Sean Costello snr, another original cast member and current president of the society. “There is such general good will and support every year.”
A Tale of Two Cities is a musical take on one of the world’s most famous novels by Charles Dickens. It is a tale of love, regret, villainy, and bloody revolution which travels from London to Paris and back again.
Des Treacy, chairperson of the society, likened it to a cross between Les Miserables and Oliver!
“The music and the story is absolutely super,” he enthused. “And we have a fantastic production team again this year.”
That team is unchanged from last year, when the society staged a dazzling production of Evita, which won national accolades and attracted audiences from far and wide.
The show is directed by Liam Butler with musical direction from Finola Higgins-Cosgrove and choreography by Aoife McClafferty.
The musical accompaniment will be provided by a 13-piece orchestra, which includes world famous violin maestro Iain King.
Tickets for A Tale of Two Cities, which opens on February 15 and runs until February 22, are available now from the ticket office at the Tacu Family Resource Centre in Ballinrobe or by phoning (094 ) 9542907.