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Thurles Musical Society All Set For Calamity Jane

Leading Tipperary Star reporter and Thurles Musical Society P.R.O. Mr Noel Dundon brings us up to date on the company’s next major Thurles production.

Thurles Musical Society will stage the fabulous “Calamity Jane,” in the Premier Hall, Thurles, from Tuesday March 27th -Saturday March 31st inclusive.

A wonderful show full of gaiety and frivolity, Calamity Jane was last staged by the Society back in 1970, and there is just one cast member surviving from those days with Michael Hickey all set to don his Stetson forty two years later. However, quite a few members of the Society from the Black Hills of Dakota days of the 70’s are still involved, with stage crew member Pierce Murphy doing exactly the same job now as he was back then – a remarkable feat.

Photo shows Jonathan Gleeson (Wild Bill Hikock) and Cathy Keane (Calamity Jane) star in Thurles Musical Society’s Calamity Jane which opens in The Premier Hall next week.

With music by Paul Francis Webster, the show was adapted for the stage by Phil Park and Ronald Hanmer. We happen upon two of Deadwood City’s most famous peace officers, Calamity Jane (Cathy Keane) and Wild Bill Hickock (Jonathan Gleeson) as they get involved in saving the neck of Henry Miller (John Butler), the local saloon operator.

It seems that “Millie,” has been promoting a beautiful actress named Frances Fryer (Brendan Bailey), but Frances turns out to be a boy, Francis. Millie’s attempt to cover up is soon unmasked by the angry miners, and only Calamity can cool the crowd with her trusty pistols. To keep the peace, Calamity sets out for Chicago to bring back the miner’s real heart-throb, Adelaide Adams (Maria McElgunn).

In Chicago Calamity mistakes Adelaide’s maid, Katie Brown (Michelle O’Connell ), for the actress and hauls her back to Deadwood. On stage Katie is greeted warmly, but breaks down and confesses that she is not the famous star. Calamity once more has to restore order and persuades the audience to give Katie a chance. They do, and she wins the heart of every male in town including Calamity’s dashing love hope, Lt. Danny Gilmartin (Frank Tuohy).

Calamity reluctantly overcomes her jealousy over losing Danny and discovers her true love for Wild Bill. Susan Miller is played by Fiona McCullagh, while Philip Egan (Rattlesnake), Jim Hanly (Doc Pierce), John Hayes (Joe), Geraint Fyler (Hank), Gary Dempsey (Peter) and Jim Kennedy (Colonel ) also play key roles in the plot.

There is great excitement amongst the company to be staging such a highly entertaining and comic show and Director David Heffernan has been busy collaborating with Musical Director Mary Rose McNally, Choreographer Debbie Kiernan and Dance Captain Trisha McElgunn to ensure that the stage really is set for the Deadwood Stage.

The Society has been very busy promoting the show and part of that promotion has seen a very innovative schools colouring competition, which has gone down a real treat. All participating school children will receive free entry to the show, but must be accompanied by an adult.

Tickets are available from cast/committee members, at the door on the night, or through the Booking Office in Hickey’s Pharmacy, Liberty Square, Thurles. A special phone number for bookings is 0504 21423. Tickets cost €15 for adults with an €8 concession for children etc. Tickets for the Saturday night performance cost €15 with no concessions, as there will be a post show supper and live band to follow in the Premier Hall.

So, mark the dates in your diary and don’t miss this chance to see a great show – a great night’s entertainment guaranteed for all the family.

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