May 1, 2010
To hear Colin Donnell tell it, his family hasn't ever actually researched its roots in Ireland and Scotland. He says his Irish credentials are more physical. "Look at me: Black hair. Blue eyes. It's only been a matter of just how Irish we are," Donnell said. "We are Irish, I just don't know the full story. I hope that one day we do find out our story better."
That day may have to come soon for Donnell, a singer/actor who has been tapped by the American Repertory Theater to play the lead in the world premiere of "Johnny Baseball," a musical about the Red Sox.
Donnell plays the fictional Johnny O'Brien, a hotshot young pitcher on the 1919 Red Sox, who deals with the issues of race in baseball and society as he falls in love with Daisy Wyatt, a "dazzling African American blues singer," played by Boston Conservatory alum Stephanie Umoh. Also in the mix is Johnny's idol, Babe Ruth, and the origins of "The Curse." As the American Repertory Theater writes in its promotional material, "The entanglements of love, friendship, and betrayal in these lives contain both the reason for the Curse and the secret to its end off the bat of Big Papi in 2004."
Directed by the ART's artistic director Diane Paulus, "Johnny Baseball" is written by long-suffering Red Sox fan and Worcester area native Richard Dresser with music by Robert Reale and lyrics by Willie Reale (brothers and lifelong Yankees fans).
For baseball fans in the area, the story of an Irish-American player certainly rings true. The first Irish-Americans in baseball all seemed to pass through Boston, according to the Baseball Almanac. Andy Leonard, who hailed from County Cavan, was the only Irish-born member of the "First Boys of Summer," the 1869 World Champion Cincinnati Red Stockings. The team had been in Boston first and Leonard competed in six world championships. That his heart was in Boston, not the Midwest is clear. Leonard is buried in New Calvary Cemetery in Roslindale.
The McCourt Foundation is gearing up for the annual fundraiser to benefit neurologic diseases. The gala and auction will be held on May 7 at the Boston Harbor Hotel and is one of several events the family is hosting to raise money for the foundation, which was founded by the seven sons of Robert and Mary McCourt. This year, the McCourt Foundation also had a team running in the Boston Marathon, which raised funds for neurologic research and was partnered with the Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women's Hospital, with a focus on Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis. The research is lead by the Center's co-founders Dr. Dennis Selkoe and Dr. Howard Weiner, who have dedicated more than 30 years to the study of these disorders and are internationally recognized for their original contributions to research.
Boston resident James McDevitt isn't waiting for literary success to come to him, he's out pounding the pavement and working the social media for the release of his first novel "The Last of the Last Call," which is due out via Amazon.com on May 11. McDevitt has filled the coffee shops of South Boston and other neighborhoods with the cards announcing the books arrival and already started interacting with his fans on jamesmcdevittwrites.com with news about the book's release.
According to the author, "The Last of the Last Call," is about three male college students during their senior year at the fictional Harrison University, a small college just outside of Washington, D.C. "Going to class is their best way to kill time between late nights at the nearby bar and clubbing in the city," McDevitt writes in his promotional material.
The 20something author is a graduate of Catholic University, and keeps current with his social media at Twitter.com/stoolattheend.