A theatrical sing-along that will fill your soul with
music, laughter, and pints of Guinness.
By Ken and Sarah Keating
The Wakehouse is a world in which two Irish American families--the Muldoons and the Donnellys--are forever at each other's throats.
Join us as we stop the clocks, cover the mirrors, and say goodbye to a dear friend in a high-spirited, beer-soaked experience known the world over as an Irish wake.
An Irish wake is a musical celebration of life, and this show is the sing-along of all sing-alongs. Each song has been specifically selected to create the maximum opportunity for audience participation.
Song lyrics are included in your program, and for those who truly want to enter into the spirit of the drama we have pints of Guinness and bottles of whiskey available for purchase.
Don't be surprised when cast members engage you one-on-one. In addition to their musical ability (on instruments such as the guitar, fiddle, accordion, whistle, or bodhrán) they have all been chosen for their improvisational skills. Throughout the show the Muldoons and the Donnellys will find ways to involve you in their drama and encourage you to sing, clap and shout. If they stumble drunkenly over lyrics or botch otherwise heartfelt eulogies, by all means call them out on their mistakes and demand penance with Our Fathers or shots of Jameson!
The Wakehouse has everything you could possibly want in a night out at the theater: characters you'll love, catchy songs, gut-busting laughs, and a corpse that was chosen by you, the audience. Each night the person being waked is decided by popular vote, online in advance of the show. (Did you remember to nominate a friend or family member?)
The Wakehouse dispenses with the traditional fourth wall and invites you inside an Irish pub (or the likes thereof), with a simple wooden bar and a plethora of Old Country bric-a-brac on the walls. Here, everyone is Irish and everyone is family. And whether you find yourself at a table surrounded by Muldoons or Donnellys, you'll be immersed in a world of fast-paced repartee, farcical situations and a plot line involving courtship and marriage.
This is the epitome of a feel-good musical and it will have you leaving the theater ready to face the afterlife, your soul full of music, laughter, and pints of Guinness.
The Wakehouse features energetic rock interpretations of traditional Celtic folk music.
i. "Seven Drunken Nights"
ii. "I Don't Speak Boy"
iii. "Stick to the Craythur"
1. "OLD DUN COW"
2. "BOG DOWN IN THE VALLEY"
3. "IRISH ROVER"
4. "I'M GONNA BE" (by The Proclaimers)
5. "THE WILD ROVER"
6. "NELSON'S BLOOD"
7. "ROCK ON, ROCKALL"
8. "FINNEGAN'S WAKE"
9. "I'M A ROVER"
10. "IF I WERE A BLACKBIRD"
11. "EXCURSION AROUND THE BAY"
12. "JOHNNY, I HARDLY KNEW YE"
13. "MARI MAC"
14. "IF I EVER LEAVE THIS WORLD ALIVE" (by Flogging Molly)
15. "THE NIGHT PAT MURPHY DIED"
For Katie Muldoon, the feud between her family and the Donnellys was part of a nearly forgotten past, until tonight at the wake of a mutual friend. Katie enters The Wakehouse with her fiancé Rupert, excited to share with him what used to be her "most favorite place in all the world." They are greeted by her parents Jimmy and Erin Muldoon, who are thrilled their little girl is returning home to start the next chapter of her life. Their disposition takes a turn, however, when Mike Donnelly enters accompanied by his mother Maureen and his miserable old grandfather Charles.
Mike and Katie used be a couple - and they were in a band together that played every Irish wake in the neighborhood. But when they broke up, so did the band. Katie left and got famous. Mike did not. That was three years ago. Not long into the evening, Mike and Katie realize The Wakehouse has really changed since they left. Their friend Wolfhound is still here, but Father MacIntyre is in charge now, and almost everything is different: gone are the drunken eulogies, good natured fist fights, and all night sing-alongs.
Katie confesses to Mike that she came here tonight to talk to him ... to ask him to leave town, so that she and her fiancé can have a fresh start. Mike laughs, refuses and declares he still loves her. He then tricks her into playing this one last wake with him by making her a bet: he promises that if she can play this wake with him without losing her infamous Irish temper, he'll leave town forever. But if she does lose it and Father MacIntyre kicks her out, she has to give him another chance. Katie believes she has changed and accepts his wager.
The Wake begins. Erin is not happy to see her daughter playing with "that Donnelly boy" again. Learning of their bet, Erin convinces Maureen to enter into a temporary alliance to make sure their kids don't get back together. As Mike, Katie, and Wolfhound continue to play--and Mike tries different ways to get Katie to lose her temper--Erin corners Rupert to see if he's open to getting married tonight. Rupert tries to protest, but Erin seems to have answers for everything (and points out Mike and Katie's on-stage chemistry).
Although Mike wants to win the bet with Katie, he puts a stop to a plan his grandfather concocts to grift Katie's dad Jimmy out of all his cash. Katie overhears and is shocked. The old Mike would have jumped at such an opportunity. Has he changed? Meanwhile, Jimmy tries to teach his future son-in-law his secret to pouring the perfect pint of Guinness, but Rupert doesn't seem interested. Katie starts to wonder if she's making a mistake. "If Rupert doesn't get this place, maybe he doesn't get me."
Mike then comes up with an idea he's sure will get Katie to show her temper. He spreads the rumor that Rupert was just seen in the bathroom getting busy with one of the McGuire twins. He then suggests it's time for the Mad Lib eulogy part of the evening and goads Rupert into doing the honors. As Rupert reads what he considers a very inappropriate eulogy, the room starts accusing him of cheating on Katie. She is about to explode, when her mother intervenes, saying she believes in Rupert, so much so that she is happy to announce that he and Katie will be getting married, here, tonight.
Mayhem breaks out! Starting with Mike and Rupert, everyone except Katie loses their temper at someone. Punches start to be thrown, although no one actually hits who they intended to hit. The fight continues until Father MacIntyre surprises everyone by breaking out in a beautiful and touching song.
Rupert tries to get Katie to leave with him, and she almost does, but on their way out he says something about her dear departed friend "being in a better place." This drives it home for Katie. For her, there is no better place than The Wakehouse.
So she sends Rupert packing. She then intentionally loses the bet with Mike by pretending to lose her temper, and afterwards she warns him, "You better not mess up this time, Mike Donnelly!" He swears he will not and they kiss. It looks like the Muldoons and Donnellys will soon be one happy family, and so Wolfhound declares that The Wakehouse is once again The Wakehouse.
Story and Book
Plays: Super Nova, Skies of Death (commissioned and produced by Brooklyn-based UglyRhino); Simon's Pirate Adventure (a children's show produced and performed by The Lost Colony of North Carolina); Sacrifice; The Wakehouse, an Irish sing-along. Screenplays: The 13th Christmas (Best Screenplay, Monterey Screenplay Competition); Tiananmen (Screenplay of the Month, Triggerstreet). Just for fun: Quarantine Island, a haunted house (sold-out run, produced by the Roanoke Island Historical Association). I am committed to interactive, immersive theater that provides audiences with new experiences, either life-changing or fun-filled--hopefully both.
Story and Music
Acting credits include work with The Spirit of Boston, The Boston Conservatory, The Warner Theater, Tri Arts Center for the Arts, and Torrington Summer Stage. Production credits include work at The Boston Conservatory, Berklee College of Music, and Berkshire Boys School. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, through her work at Putumayo World Music and Scholastic Inc., Sarah focuses on finding ways to harness the power of arts to find creative and effective new ways to teach history, language arts, and science.