Irish Eyes Still Smiling: LAFFERTY’S WAKE back at Society Hill Playhouse 17 years later

In 1997, Inquirer theater critic Douglas J. Keating described a “congenial, amusing” show in the cabaret space of the Society Hill Playhouse. He attended the world premiere of LAFFERTY’S WAKE, an interactive Irish-style play (“or at least what Americans perceive to be Irish”) conceived by Susan Turlish and her cast of local actors.

Pictured left to right: Angie Fennell, Jeff Baxt, Michelle Pauls, Jason Klemm in LAFFERTY'S WAKE Photo credit: Stan Heleva

Pictured left to right: Angie Fennell, Jeff Baxt, Michelle Pauls, Jason Klemm in LAFFERTY’S WAKE. Photo credit: Stan Heleva

LAFFERTY’S WAKE has since seen performances on stages across the country, entertaining with singalong favorites “Molly Malone,” “Whiskey in the Jar,” “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” and others. Beginning March 6, the comedy returns to its original venue for six weekends of shows. The premise is simple: Charlie Lafferty is being waked, with his wife Kathleen; daughter Maggie; son-in-law Patrick; the village priest Father Pettigrew; his special friend, Molly; and his best friend Rory in attendance at Rory’s Pub. They tell stories, sing songs, and ramble along “a silly but apt enough plot.”

Jason Klemm returns from the original production, swapping the role of Patrick for that of barkeep Rory. The cast also includes Michelle Pauls, Tory Mittelman, Angie Fennell, David Ferrier, Stephen Fala, and Jeff Baxt. Costumes are by Tina Heinz, who also costumed the original production.

Oh! And Guinness is on sale in the lobby. [Society Hill Playhouse cabaret, 507 South 8th Street] March 6-April 12, 2015; societyhillplayhouse.com.

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About the author

Christopher Munden

Your faithful correspondent and publisher Christopher Munden has written and edited for many publications, websites, and cultural institutions. He was an editor/publisher of the Philly Fiction book series, collections of short stories written by local writers and set in Philadelphia. He's also a soccer coach and a pretty good skier.