Bethlehem Press

Friday, March 23, 2018

Getting their Irish up

Friday, March 9, 2018 by DAWN OUELLETTE Special to The Press in Focus

On the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin Irish Dance brings to life an epic tale of Irish immigration to the United States with an all-star cast of Celtic dancers performing to traditional Irish music and song at 7:30 p.m. March 9 at the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.

Members of the cast have performed with such hit Irish dance and music productions as “Riverdance,” Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance,” and “Celtic Woman.”

Ryan O’Shaughnessy, 27, lead dancer with Dublin Irish Dance, is a 2012 “Britain’s Got Talent” finalist, and will represent Ireland in the celebrated 2018 Eurovision song contest in Lisbon, this May.

O’Shaughnessy has been in show business his entire life.

“I was born and raised in Dublin,” he says, “and was a child actor on an Irish soap called ‘Fair City,’ from 9 to 17. I joined a band at 17, which gave me the bug for songwriting. After ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ I was signed to Sony RCA and released an EP.”

The producers of Dublin Irish Dance approached O’Shaughnessy about being a part of the touring show.

“I love to travel, so it sounded like a great opportunity,” says O’Shaughnessy. “It is a lot of fun traveling with like-minded people and getting to see the small towns in northern America. I like to get outside and explore whenever I have free time.”

O’Shaughnessy believes Dublin Irish Dance’s popularity is because of the large number of people of Irish descent living in the United States. “It’s nice for people here to have a cultural experience that they can identify with. Our show tells the story of why Irish immigrants left Ireland for America.”

One such song, “Lonesome Road,” is an audience favorite, according to O’Shaughnessy. It tells of how no matter how good life is on the other side, thoughts of home are never far away.

“It is beautiful,” he says. “There is great dancing throughout it and throughout the show. When the lead dancers do solos, the audience goes wild.

“Everyone here seems to have a little bit of Irish in them,” he says with a laugh.

Tickets: State Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 453 Northampton St., Easton;; 1-800-999-7828; 610-252-3132