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Phoenix Productions Recipe – Oliver Highlights

Phoenix Production – Oliver Highlights 2010 from George Willoughby on Vimeo.

The recipe for any outstanding musical performance, guaranteed to pack a theatre every night, is really quite simple.

1 X Aishling Doyle (Director/Choreographer). 1 X David Wray (Musical Director). 1 X Gerard O’Brien (Producer). 1 X Trevor Killeen (Production Manager). 1 X Gerry Taylor (Lighting Designer). 1 each X Siobhan King and Mairead Hackett (Dance Captains). 1 X John O’Donoghue (Stage Design). 1 each X Alan Butler and Jack Rossiter (Stage Managers). 1 X Star Systems (Sound). 60 X 1 X Talented Youngsters (Cast)

Mix the above ingredients together into a fine paste.
Sprinkle with a fine mixture of locally trained, talented and dedicated Make Up Artists, Stage Constructors and clever General Go – Fors, and stirr well and continuously for six weeks.
Cook’s note:
The result is an outstanding musical theatre production called “Oliver” worthy of playing in London’s West End or on New York’s Broadway.
Our video above, prepared earlier, demonstrates a few of the personalities and highlights and out sincerest congratulations to all those talented individuals involved.


Phoenix Productions Caberet Set For Two Packed Performances

Phoenix Performer Deidre Ryan

The guys and gals of Phoenix Productions have a little something special in store for their followers this weekend when they take to the stage in The Source for their annual fundraising cabaret.

This year’s ‘Heart and Music’ will see fifty or so of Thurles’ ever so talented youngsters take to the stage in what promises to be one of Phoenix’s most diverse and contemporary cabaret set lists yet.

All the big hitters are in here this year, the Michael Buble’s, Michael Jackson’s and the Abba’s are all there, as too are more of the stalwart musicals we’ve come to expect from Phoenix Productions,e.g. Chicago, Beauty and the Beast and ‘Heart and Music’s’ shared namesake, the classic musical, Cabaret with the superb renditions we have come to expect from Deidre Ryan, Shane Willoughby, and Garry Butler, to name but a very few.

Despite recessionary times, this will be a sell out folks with only a small number of tickets still available. (This statement is true, there is no sales pitch intended here folks, so to avoid disappointment don’t wait for the night, we’ve warned you.)

These tickets can be booked online or in the Source booking office for both the Friday and Saturday performances right now and will set you back all of €10, a measly sum for the kind of high quality performers that will be on stage.

With musical direction by David Wray and production by Gerard O’Brien you are guaranteed a polished, professional and enjoyable performance.


Mitchell House Restaurant Thurles – Dinner Theatre

Its new, its innovative, its “Dinner Theatre” and its coming to Mitchell House Restaurant, Mitchell Street, Thurles, Co.Tipperary, for the first time, on Friday 26th June next.
The first of what we hope will be a series of Dinner Theatre, followed by late night dancing, will feature none other than Ireland’s number one swing diva Ellen McElroy accompanied by well known Musical Directer, Arranger, and Composer David Wray.

Ellen McElroy
No stranger to R.T.E, TV3 and B.B.C viewers, the very beautiful Ellen McElroy has been on stage since the age of nine. She received her training at the Bull Alley School of Performance ellen-mcelroyand continued her theatre studies under Audrey Behan. She also trained under Dr Veronica Dunne at The Royal Irish Academy of Music and under David Wray at the Leinster School of Music. Her most recent performances include Fay Apple – Anyone Can Whistle, Mary Magdalene – Jesus Christ Superstar, Maria – West Side Story, Mabel – Pirates of Penzance and as Ellie in Showboat. Her favourite roles to date have been as Phantom in The Rocky Horror Show (Olympia Theatre), Louisa in The Sound of Music (Olympia Theatre), Giulietta in Aspects of Love (Olympia Theatre & Cork Opera House), Pitti-Sing in the Hot Mikado (Olympia Theatre), Marta in Kiss of the Spider Woman (Theatre Royal Waterford), Linda Porter in Red Hot and Cole (National Concert Hall), Madelene Astarte in The New Lesbian Vampires of Sodom (Andrews Lane). She also starred in the critically acclaimed Side by Side by Sondheim staged at the Everyman Palace Theatre in Cork. Ellen also played Vikki Nichols in the recent smash hit comedy The Full Monty staged in the Olympia Theatre and the show also had a national tour. Ellen also played Ruth in Jim Molloy’s Pirates of Penzance staged at The Helix. Ellen just starred the smash hit show Michael Collins staged at the Olympia Theatre and The Cork Opera House and is returning to both venues in July and August with the same show.
Ellen is one of the “Irish Divas” and has toured extensively throughout America for the past couple of years. As a member of Musical Theatre Ireland she has featured in such productions as “The Great American Songwriters Series”, “The Glorious MGM Musicals”, “Cole Porter Songbook”, “Simply Sondheim” and the national tour of “New York Songbook (Way off Broadway)”. Earlier this year she completed a smash hit tour with her old friend Kevin Hough in ‘Songbirds’ – The Golden Age of Swing, Jazz and Blues, selling out Nationwide.
Ellen made her London debut in The Cuchulainn Cycle at Riverside Studios. She also completed a successful world tour on board the QE2 performing with the Concordia Theatre Company. Ellen is a regular performer at The National Concert Hall with Kevin Hough’s Theatre Nights. For the last five years she has been a star singer at The Everyman Palace in Cork in Sunday Night at the Palace series. Live TV work includes The Late Late Show, Live at Three, Echo Island, Jo-Maxi and a series of Open House with Kevin Hough. She is also a regular singer on the popular R.T.E. radio programme Theatre Nights and the live recording of Simply Sondheim for the BBC.
Future projects include another nationwide tour with Songbirds with RTE’s Kevin Hough. She is currently on tour with the Three Tenors as guest Soprano. Ellen will also be touring with her new Burt Bacharach show and also her brand new big band extravaganza “The Music of 007”.

Here is what the critics had to say regarding her most recent performances:-

“Irresistable, with a sparkling personality” – The Boston Globe
“Induced me in an inchoate wish to ask if she sang requests” – Irish Times
“Excellent performance” – Irish Times
“Ellen Mc Elroy has the range and confidence to move from soubrette to torch singer with effortless precision.” – Irish Times
“Ellen’s voice is above the weight of the music but she has the vocal and theatrical intelligence to reveal the quality of the music while making it her own.” – Irish Times
“Ellen Mc Elroy’s voice is amazing. What a talent” – Evening Echo

David Wray
No stranger to Thurles David Wray’s depth of musical knowledge across a wide range of genres has assured his success as a Musical Director, Arranger, and Producer in Dublin and London for nearly 20 years. He is currently the Musical Director with the exciting new 5-male vocal group from Ireland, Druid, and he has been arranging and directing the 3 Irish Tenors since its formation in 1999. With these 2 groups, he has recorded 3 albums and performed extensively throughout Ireland, Europe, North America, and Asia. In addition to his work with these projects, he is currently the Musical Director for Dublin’s Opera in the Open as well as a select group of david-wray1independent artists, including singers Nyle Wolfe, Danna Davis, Ciarán Nagle, Naoise Stuart-Kelly, and violinist Tara Novak.
David trained in the U.K. at Lancaster University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Before relocating to Dublin in 1991, he worked as the assistant to the director of London’s English Bach Festival, appearing in productions at the Royal Festival Hall, Covent Garden, Wigmore Hall, the Barbican Centre, and across Europe. During that time, David also established and directed the Baroque ensemble “Musica Stravagante,” with whom he performed extensively and recorded on Italy’s RAI, worked with the Wexford Festival Opera and Opera Ireland, and performed as the continuo player for many high profile opera festivals, including the Festivale d’Peralada Barcelona.
In 1998, David founded Musical Theatre Ireland. Through this company, he has produced, directed, and arranged or composed numerous productions, including: “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,”Songs for a New World,” “A New York Songbook,” “Noel and Gertie,” “And the World Goes Round,” and “Red, Hot and Cole.” David’s additional work as a musical director and arranger includes “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “The Hot Mikado” at the Olympia Theatre, and “Side by Side by Sondheim” for the Temple Bar Music Centre.
Outside of the musical theatre realm, David’s creative voice can be clearly heard in the albums and shows of the artists he has worked with and developed, particularly Ellen McElroy, Danna Davis and Nyle Wolfe.
As a composer, David has written “Just Bodies” for the Irish Modern Dance Theatre, co-written “Ovid’s Transformation” for Belfast’s Rainbow Factory of Youth Action Northern Ireland, and recently was commissioned to co-write with tenor Ciarán Nagle the piece “Amergin,” which is featured in both the live performances and the recently-released album by Druid, “Come Follow Me.”

What more can I tell you folks, except, if you enjoy good food and good music get out your best frock, brush down the jacket and be there for what promises to be a very, very special evening.

Make a Note:-

Venue:- Mitchell House Restaurant, Mitchel Street, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

Bookings:- Tel No: 0504-90776 or email:  mitchelhouse@eircom.net

Date:– Friday 26th June 2009.


The Last Five Years – There are two sides to every story

Music Theatre Ireland under the direction of David Wray of Thurles’ Phoenix Productions fame, returns to the Pavilion Theatre in Dublin with yet another emotionally powerful and intimate musical performance.

The Last 5 Years” chronicles the story of two young people, their diverging paths and the consequent demise of their five year relationship. The two stories are told from each individual perspective, providing insight into the most personal and honest of human emotions. Poignant, heartfelt and at times hilariously funny, audiences can not help but identify with this compelling story, which reflects our changing society, where choice and alternative options abound.

Set in New York City, The Last 5 Years is written by Tony award winning composer Jason Robert Brown and stars emerging Irish talent Ranae Von Meding in her professional debut, alongside Dublin born A.J O’Neill, who returns home following his successes in ‘Chicago’ in London’s West End.

Musically directed by David Wray, designed by Shawn E Boyle and directed by Joseph C. Walsh, Music Theatre Ireland promises to produce yet another fantastic production in Dublin, with the cream of Irish music talent, both on stage and as part of the six piece orchestra. This, the Irish premiere of The Last 5 Years is set to follow in the successful footsteps of ‘Songs for a New World’, ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ and ‘A New York Songbook’.

This is one show for music lovers not to be missed.

Venue: Pavilion Theatre, Marine Road, Dun Laoghire.
Dates: Thursday 6th – Saturday 8th November – 8.00pm