When it came to starting preparations for her latest role, Limerick’s Amanda Minihan did not have to look too far. Ms. Minihan will play the role of ‘Grandma’ in the upcoming production of ‘Angela’s Ashes: The Musical’, which will receive its world premiere at Lime Tree Theatre next month.
“I re-read the books and then chatted to my parents about that time and got an idea about how their parents lived, and heard all these interesting stories about them growing up. I had only one grandparent still alive when I was born – my mother’s mother – and I’ve a funny feeling I’ll be playing a version of her on stage!” Amanda told Limerick Life.
The Granville Park native admits that she was somewhat taken aback when the role of the more senior character was offered to her initially. “The first time they said that I was the grandmother, I said ‘you’re kidding me!’ but it makes sense; women were grandmothers much younger back then. Looking at the script, the dialogue is quite curt for her; she seems a strong character.”
The musical adaptation of Frank McCourt’s memoirs of growing up in Limerick in the 1930s and 1940s sees renowned producer Pat Moylan team up with composer Adam Howell and writer Paul Hurt. The best-selling book was previously adapted into a film in 1999 by the director Alan Parker.
However, for its Limerick cast member, the musical version retains much of the same spirit of the original text, which some detractors felt was missing from the film. “I think the script is brilliant. Not being rude, I felt that a lot of the humour was gone from the film adaptation of it; I thought it became very grim. There’s much more humour and fun in this script,” said Amanda.
With rehearsals just commencing in Dublin, Ms. Minihan – who has appeared in several West End productions herself – believes that there is potential for ‘Angela’s Ashes: The Musical’ to be staged beyond its initial run, which also takes in Dublin and Belfast after its eleven-show stint in Limerick.
“There’s a life in this show. The book is so well known in the States and even here in London. Just the other day I was sitting in the park and got chatting to a Filipino woman. She was asking about what I worked at, and when I explained that I did musical theatre and I was getting ready to do the musical version of ‘Angela’s Ashes’, she told me that she knew the book and was hoping to see the musical, so it definitely has travelled.”
The production has a cast of twelve, with Eoin Cannon taking on the role of ‘Frank’, while Jacinta Whyte will play ‘Angela’. As the sole Limerick representative, Amanda Minihan is very much looking forward to the opening night on Thursday, July 6.
“I’m the only Limerick person in it so there’s no pressure at all!” she said, laughing. “I’m honoured to be flying the Limerick flag in it. To come home and do something is very special. My parents are thrilled, as are all my friends and family.”
‘Angela’s Ashes: The Musical’ runs from Thursday, July 6 to Saturday, July 15. Tickets, priced €30/35, are available from Lime Tree Theatre (www.limetreetheatre.ie)