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Revisiting The Ferryman

Since my first trip to see The Ferryman in October, I've been incredibly impatient to find some time to go back, so I did. Twice.

On a Saturday in early December, I bought a ticket from TodayTix for a matinee. I found myself just as blown away as the first time I saw it, if not even more. For my first return visit the cast was the same, and the show was just as good as it was the first time. For my second visit during the holidays, Catherine McCormack had stepped into the role of Mary Carney, which she played in the West End, and I saw understudy Peter Bradbury in the role of Muldoon. Both gave wonderful performances, and during both visits to the show I was blown away even more than I had been the first time.

This cast is probably the strongest on Broadway, with each member giving a stunning performance. However, Tom Glynn-Carney and Fra Fee as Shane Corcoran and Michael Carney stood out to me both times. In Act 3, what begins as most of the boys in the family drinking and telling stories turns into sharing stories and secrets involving the IRA. While the beginning scenes of this act set the course for the end of the show, it is the performances from both Glynn-Carney and Fee that kept me on the edge of my seat, with some lovely comedic bits from Michael Quinton McArthur as Declan Corcoran to lighten up this heavier section of the show. The line "there's only so much whiskey a thirteen year old can drink" remains one of my favorite lines in the show, especially because of McArthur's delivery.

What I was most reminded of when I returned to the show was not only how much I enjoyed it, but how powerful it is. With 21 people in the cast plus a baby, a rabbit, and a goose, it is one of the largest plays on Broadway and it is expansive in its nature as a family story. Though it is set during the Troubles, the themes of family and loss are still very relevant today. The Ferryman keeps its audience engaged for over three hours, and by the time it is over you're wishing it had not ended. Powerful and breathtaking are the only words that can describe it. This show, and the performances given by every actor in the cast, is why we go to the theater. To be moved, to be made to feel, and to leave thinking about what happened on stage with the yearning to go back.

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