Oh! Susanna! Oh Stephen Foster! Rave reviews for ‘Kinds Hearts’

OVATIONS & PRAISE FOR FOSTER PLAY - The cast of 'Kind Hearts and Gentle People' are, from left, actors Alan Wright, Nicky Harley, Martin Bradley, and Kieran Griffiths. (181011JC6)
OVATIONS & PRAISE FOR FOSTER PLAY - The cast of 'Kind Hearts and Gentle People' are, from left, actors Alan Wright, Nicky Harley, Martin Bradley, and Kieran Griffiths. (181011JC6)
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The story of legendary American songwriter Stephen Collins Foster played to a packed house and standing ovations during its run at The Playhouse last week.

Now, ‘Kind Hearts and Gentle People’ will also run at Strabane’s Alley Theatre on Wednesday, October 26, and will return to Derry at the Waterside Theatre on Saturday, October 29.

Based on the life of the ‘father of American popular song’, Kind Hearts and Gentle People is a fascinating look at a songwriter who has become the stuff of legend in America, but whose roots begin in Ulster.

Regarded as America’s first professional song-writer, Stephen Collins Foster penned some of its earliest and most famous songs, including ‘Oh! Susanna’, ‘Hard Times Come Again No More’, ‘Old Folks at Home’ (‘Swanee River’), ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ and ‘Beautiful Dreamer’.

These songs, which all feature in the production, remain popular over 150 years after their composition. His songs have influenced many iconic music legends such as Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Bob Dylan, John Prine, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Mary Black, all of whom have covered his songs.

He is also one of the North West’s forgotten famous sons; his ancestors emigrated from the port of Londonderry in the 18th century.

Written by playwright Peter McDonald [The Green Room, Five Years Time] and directed by Anne McMaster [Sad Silence of Snow, Noir], Kind Hearts and Gentle People is a tale of the triumphs and tragedies that encompass the life and times of a songwriter who, despite passing away over a decade before the invention of sound recording, a long career in music that is still cherished today

For more information and to book tickets contact The Alley Theatre Box Office on: 71. 384444 (www.alley-theatre.com) and The Waterside Theatre on: 71. 314000 (www.watersidetheatre.com)