by Rose Rushe
BIG bells rang with the four significant gongs won by Limerick Musical Society at the Association of Irish Musical Awards (AIMS) in Killarney on Saturday 13 for ‘The Witches of Eastwick’.
The March show at the concert hall (terrific houses that ovated) won Best Overall Show; Best Male actor, Dave Griffin, who played the part of Darryl Van Horne; Niamh Twomey, Best Choreographer. Also Best Chorus also for this production fired by a constantly rotating set, pyrotechnics, gunshot and Witches that flew to singe the moon with passion – for a Horne. Marie Keary-Scanlon was musical director and John Daly led the band.
Most showed up for a champagne and sausage toast at Flannery’s Bar, Denmark Street on Sunday night to bring together all elements and contributors to this nationally noted dynamic. The beautifully styled costumes were credited to Jacinta Florish and Barbara Meaney while Des Henn, director presided over the elated troupe with pride. Chairman James Scanlon gave short, inclusive speech and the group’s hard work and chummy resilience in the face of challenge were noted.
These Association of Irish Musical Societies nominations are described as the ‘Oscars’ of musical theatre in Ireland.
For the presentation, a banquet took place at the Gleneagle Hotel where member’s of each society in the country converged for the lavish weekend. It was attended by 1,300 of casts, crews, sponsors and well wishers.
P.R.O for the Limerick bunch, Gerry Ryan observes, “This is a superb achievement for all members, especially when you think it is all amateur”.
The Witches of Eastwick’ is a 2000 musical based on the novel of the same name by John Updike. It was adapted by John Dempsey (lyrics and book), and Dana Rowe (music); directed by Eric Schaeffer, and produced by Westend impressario, Cameron Mackintosh.
This is not the first time that the musical society has been nominated in their 15 year history. In 2002, Judy O’Connor – who wowed with her take on Felicia of the Cardigan Brigade in ‘Witches’ – won best actress and Paul Nash, best musical director for ‘Copacabana’, which was a tough win as the story is famously pants. Still, the music lives on as did the impression LMS made as a collective.
Again in 2004 for the ‘Hot Mikado’, Judy O’Connor of Spotlight Stage School got to wear the laurel. In 2006 Niamh Twomey, won best choreographer for the musical ‘Anything Goes’ and in 2009 for the musical ‘The King and I’, Edel Heaney won best actress, and Róisín Walsh, best singer.
Again as recently as 2014, the best actor category for the musical ‘Evita’ was won by Martin McNelis.