third wish logo w color r

Book & Lyrics by Steven David Horwich
Music by Geoff Levin

INFO:

Cast Size: Male: 8    Female:6    Ensemble: 6 and up    Total Cast Size: 20-more
Orchestra: TBD, likely to be from 7-14 musicians for a full production.
Production Rights: If interested, contact us using our contact page, please.
Recordings: Full demo (you can hear it from this page)
Other shows by the authors: Beautiful Poison   Horwich: A Tale of Two Cities, Eden, Little Tramp, And The River Flows, 4 Lives In Two Acts, The Wheel Turns, Loveplay, Tragedy, The Kingdom That Was, I’ve Died & Gone To Acting School Heaven, All Of The People All Of The Time, Call To Arms, Sea Gulls, Scrooge & Santa Meet At Swan Lake With A Yente

WHO SHOULD DO THIS SHOW:

The Third Wish is a highly emotional musical. It is a dance show with lots of singing, and many strong characters, so you’ll need a company of triple threats. The cast size is flexible. But some of the casting is sure to be difficult, particularly the young lead, Seana, and the two leprechauns, both black and elderly. This is not a small show, but it isn’t enormous, it’s midsized. And most of your company must convincingly do Irish accents.

At this time, productions would be restricted to companies and entities capable of doing an original show, to be determined in discussion with the authors. It would work, however, for some Universities and Colleges, regional theatres, semi-professional and professional companies. It is a “Broadway” type of show, in terms of the needed production values.

Be Warned:

It’s all about Ireland and the Troubles. If that is not your cup of tea, neither is this show. If Irish isn’t something you do well and are comfortable dealing with, not your show. Also, if you are dedicated to avoid any controversy in your shows, not your show.

It’s funny, irreverent, violent, vital, and will require an audience that likes its musicals to be about something, and creative. The show will require a talented cast, and there’s a lot of dance. The set would be built around a unit concept, but will not be simple as, say, the Fantasticks is.

THE STORY:

THE THIRD WISH tells the fictional story of a 12 year-old Irish Catholic girl, Seana O’ Neill, who lives in contemporary Belfast, and the remarkable way she nearly brings an end to the 800 years of Troubles.

ACT ONE: In the opening number (“PEACEFUL LAND”), Seana tells (and shows) us the history of Ireland, letting us know that “Ireland” means “Peaceful land”…God’s little joke, as the bloody history is paraded before us of the wars between England and Ireland, Catholics and Protestants. She has three brothers who, like her father, are all proud members of the IRA. And as the show begins (“A GALLON OF GASOLINE”), her brother Marcus is accidentally blown up in a bus, as part of an IRA action.

Two American network news anchors are dispatched to Ireland to report on the increasing violence. They are a mature black man named William Charlton, and a mature white woman named Anne Sommers. Both are “past their prime”, and are being given a chance to prove they still have it. William just wants another crack at altering history. (“ONE MORE ROUND”) They are greeted at the airport by two proto-typical Irish denizens, Isabel Mulligan and Harry J. Lewis, who are each stunned to see a black reporter in Ireland, but do their jobs, assisting the Americans. They observe the bus blowing up, and catch it on camera. (“A FREE IRELAND”)

At the IRA funeral (“INTO THE NIGHT”), the IRA members fire guns in salute to their dead, which brings in the British police, and a gunfight ensues, resulting in a second of Seana’s brothers’ death. She runs into the woods to escape, and finds herself alone, distant gun fire fading, along with her belief in anything divine and benevolent. (“ST. PATRICK’S MISTAKE”) It is in these woods she meets the last two leprechauns on Earth (both tall, and black…) (“IT WAS HIMSELF, IT WAS”), and discovers their pot of gold, and three wishes. She wishes her brothers back to life. The black carriage descends from the sky, and they are alive and well, and join her to attend their own wake.

At the wake (“THE SON OF A SON OF A SON”), in a pub, William and Anne confront Seana’s father, and remaining brother, trying to get the story. Violence almost breaks out…when the two dead brothers appear with their sister.

ACT TWO begins with the dead brothers explaining themselves. (“I WAS DEAD”) Their father is thrilled to have them back. But the head of the Shin Fein, the militant arm of the IRA, sees the possibility to wield a great power with the two remaining wishes, to kill all the Protestants. Gun pointed at Seana’s father (“CONSIDER THE NEED”), he forces her to lead them to the leprechauns.

With the reporters, Seana escapes the Shin Fein, and arrives to the leprechauns first. The Americans are stunned, there are leprechauns, and these mystical people know all about them. (“LOOK AT YOU”) Seana makes her second wish…and all the weapons in Ireland fly on the winds, and into the sea. (“ON ANGEL’S WINGS”) Only it’s not good enough. Men have fists, and there are rocks, and glass bottles. Though all of Ireland stands witness to a bonafide miracle, the fighting goes on.

At the O’ Neill home, Harry Lewis shows the Americans his video of the miracle…blank. There is no record to be had of the marvel, anywhere. Seana and the Americans return to the leprechauns, where she’s about to make her third and final wish, when she is reminded that the third wish will also drive the leprechauns into extinction. William asks her to tell him her wish. (“WE DREAM”) Then, he makes it come true without the leprechaun’s aid. He puts her on television, so the world can know of the Troubles, and perhaps understand and intervene. So the world can know there are still miracles…and that somewhere in the world, in the corner of some forgotten wood, magical things walk, and create wonders, and so, there is always hope.

THE SONGS: (NOTE – You can hear the music below this song list.  Pieces in italics are not on the demo.  All songs are copyrighted by the authors in all media, and may not be produced except without express written permission from the authors.)

Peaceful Land”,“A Gallon Of Gasoline”, “One More Round”, “A Free Ireland”, “I’ve Got The Chops”,“Into The Night”,“St. Patrick’s Mistake”,“It Was Himself, It Was”,“The Son Of A Son Of A Son”,“I Was Dead”,“Consider The Need”,“Look At You, There”,“On Angel’s Wings”,“The Dream We Dream”,“Last Snakes In Ireland”

Musical Numbers:

Peaceful Land

A Gallon Of Gasoline

One More Round

Into The Night

St. Patrick’s Mistake

It Was Himself, It Was

I Was Dead

Consider The Need

Look At You There

All On Angel Wings

The Dreams We Dream

The Last Snakes In Ireland

 

MY OPINIONS:

I co-wrote the show, and it is adapted from a screenplay I authored earlier. I think Mr. Levin has composed a dynamic, memorable score that memorably captures what I had in mind for the energy, emotion and humor of the piece. I think this show will be fascinating to watch, and very entertaining. But my opinion doesn’t much matter, as an author.

MY RATING: I do not rate original musicals.

PRODUCTION CONCERNS AND IDEAS:

DIFFICULTY OF MUSIC:

The music is a cross between musical theater, and Irish traditional. There are jigs and reels and Irish ballads. When William sings, the influence is Motown, and American R&B from the 60s-70s. Some of the songs are melodically and rhythmically complex. Your Musical Director needs to have had experience in these disparate musical styles. The score will take some work top play and teach.

Seana O’ Neill – Young girl with a very strong and clear belt, steady voice. Has a lot to sing. Must sing with Irish accent.

William Charlton – Baritone, sings R&B influenced songs. Must be able to inject the songs with personality and self-deprecating humor, or with ideological passion,. Depending on the number. Needs a strong voice, a belt, some high notes.

Anne Sommers – Doesn’t do much singing. An alto with some upper range, some belt preferred.

Cian – Baritone, full voice with a sweet quality, a bit of a belt, the ability to clearly put across a patter verse. Irish accent while singing a must.

Bean – Mezzo/Alto, sweet quality to the voice, some belt, warmth. Also has some patter verse to push across. Irish accent while singing a must.

Maitiu O’ Neill – Baritone, capable of a belt, and of anger and emotional expression when singing. Irish accent while singing a must.

Marcus O’Neill – Seana’s middle brother, in his late twenties. Irish accent while singing a must.

Lucus O’ Neill – Irish tenor, full voice, clear as a bell. Irish accent while singing a must.

Harry J. Lewis – Doesn’t sing much. Carrying a tune enough. Irish accent while singing a must.

Ioseph O’ Neill – Baritone. Irish accent while singing a must.

Isabel Mulligan – Non Singing role.

Head IRA Man– Lyric Baritone, capable of a belt, and of singing with real ferocity and clarity. Irish accent while singing a must.

Patricia – Non-Signing role. Doubles in ensemble, and should sing.

Maire O’ Neill – Soprano. Irish accent while singing a must. Not much singing.

RUC Sergeant – Non-Singing, but doubles in the chorus.

RUC Private – Non-Singing, but doubles in the chorus.

Brian Boru – Singing, baritone, clear and strong. Doubles in the chorus.

St. Patrick – Singing, tenor, clear and strong. Doubles in the chorus.

Hugh O’ Neill – Singing baritone, clear and strong. Doubles in the chorus.

Ensemble – All must sing with Irish accents, sing with a belt, harmonize well.

DIFFICULTY OF DANCE, CHOREOGRAPHIC CONCERNS:

A dance show with intense choreographic requirements. Every manner of Irish dance should be integrated into the numbers, and the story is told as much through movement as through song and dialogue. The choreographer will need to be experienced at shaping movement to serve plot and character, rather than placing movement for movement’s sake. In other works, you’ll need a choreographer who thinks like a director, like a dramatist.

Most of the numbers require some dance, including “Peaceful Land”,“A Gallon Of Gasoline”, “One More Round”,“I’ve Got The Chops”,“Into The Night”,“It Was Himself, It Was”,“The Son Of A Son Of A Son”,“I Was Dead”,“Consider The Need”,“On Angel’s Wings”,“Last Snakes In Ireland”.

Peaceful Land” is a parade put on for the audience, demonstrating much of the history of that “peaceful island”, Ireland. Ancient Kings and Saints are marched out, in warlike attire. This is a pageant, it should shock, amaze, stir the audience to deep feeling and even wonder. It should be detailed by traditional Irish dance, but never loose the sense of pageantry, an almost formal demonstration of history.

A Gallon of Gasoline” forwards story in a highly stylized manner. We see a “bus” captured by the brothers, placing them in great danger. They finally blow it up. All of this is communicated through stylized movement, clear, a cross between mime and dance, and again, never loosing the Irish sensibility.

One More Round” is a reminder that William marched with Martin Luther King, that once, he was a fighter. An interesting approach might be to see, in silhouette, a young m,an willing to march, willing to fight and to go to jail, and perhaps show in multi-media the times. Make a connection between the fight for freedom in the U.S.A., and the Troubles in Ireland.

“I’ve Got The Chops” is William and Anne, singing an R&B influenced piece circa 1970.  He should have a few “moves” that might have worked for him 30 years ago, his “pick-up moves”, embarrassing today.  Anne’s got no game at all, both are easily exhausted, which means they must be actually moving.

Into The Night” uses the same mythical characters we saw in the opening number, and must feel almost dirge-like, as if the mighty forefathers were looking down in grief over humanity’s on-going errors. Movement should be simple, yet maintain the style.

It Was Himself” is the two elderly but ageless, spry, vital leprechaun’s number. Informed by jigs and leaps and anything silly and overly alive the actors can do. But don’t get in the way of the lyrics!

The Son of a Son” takes place in an Irish pub, men sing together and contemplate violence, Could be punctuated by the occasional violent gesture.

I Was Dead” again tells us a story, almost a fable, in song, but is colored by the urgency of what has happened. If we could see the Black Carriage over our heads in special effect, that would be wonderful, but it isn’t needed. The brothers have changed, they are unearthly, they do not feel as if they quite belong, now, and they hear voices on the wind. Their change should be somehow illustrated in the movement. There should be a feel of the primal, here, as we are confronting death and wind and the nature of things. It starts Act II, so it needs vitality and urgency.

Consider The Need” reveals the violence inherent too the IRA, their passion as a justification for any act. The gun must feel real. The number should be built around making that weapon feel real and dangerous. This is crucial for what is to follow to work. The number is steady,. Unbending, slow and violent, and the movement should tell the story without getting in the way. Stay away from dance, as such, here, don’t get artsy.

On Angel Wings” should be the biggest piece in the show. As a stream of weapons fly overhead (we see their shadow, a lighting effect), the lives of every person in Ireland is changed forever. It is an explosive number requiring dance that expresses wonder, fear, and fury. Use as much of the company as possible.

The Last Snakes In Ireland” should be celebratory, as if the cast and audience have all met in an Irish pub to regale themselves and toast old times. It is also the curtain call, and I’d recommend strongly breaking the fourth wall with it, inviting the audience into the celebration as much as possible.

CASTING CONCERNS:

Seana O’Neill – A fourteen-fifteen year old girl to look 11, legitimately Irish, red-headed, Catholic, great voice, Great presence required. Straight-forward, honest, easily amused, deeply devoted to family. Lots of singing, lots of lines. A star-making role. Irish accent a must. Cast for look, voice, acting. Some movement, not significant.

William Charlton – Black, 60ish, attractive, American, a news anchor. Must sing R&B pop style. Charismatic, comfortable in front of a camera, but conflicted about the path he has taken with his life, and deeply desirous of another chance to do something important, something wonderful. Cast for look and acting, then voice, movement.

Cian – (Pronounced “Kean”) Black male, Elderly but spry, Irish, a leprechaun. With rapidly changing emotions, a deep sense of time, and power that is sensed about him and occasionally seen. Charismatic, humorous, capable of being self-deprecating. Irish accent a must. Cast for type and acting, then voice, then movement. Musty be strong at all three.

Bean – (Pronounced “Ban”) Black female, Elderly but spry, Irish, a leprechaun. Cian’s mate, and similar to him in most respects. Less volatile, a bit more arch, and capable of more gentle affections. Irish accent a must. Cast for type and acting, then voice, then movement. Musty be strong at all three.

Anne Sommers – American, Caucasion, in her late forties, attractive, a news anchor just passing her prime and in danger of having the life she’s built with so much devotion and care tossed aside. Self-involved, vain, intelligent, but deep down has a sense of duty, and a deep sense of loss regarding her family and her past. Cast for look and acting. Voice and movement minor.

Maitiu O’ Neill – Seana’s eldest brother, in his early thirties, healthy, dynamic, angry. Must look like an O’Neill. (It would be interesting, for instance, to have all the O’ Neill’s except Da to sport red hair.) Cast for type and acting, then voice, then movement. Must do all three, though.

Marcus O’Neill – Seana’s middle brother, in his late twenties. More the follower, the go-alonger, but willing to step into danger for a thrill. Irish accent a must. Cast for type and acting, then voice, then movement. Must do all three.

Lucus O’ Neill – Seana’s youngest brother, in his early twenties. Sweeter-natured than his brothers, with more of a gentle sense of humor. Irish accent a must. Cast for type and acting, then voice, then movement. Must do all three.

Harry J. Lewis – Irish cameraman, forties, strong comic actor in the Barry Fitzgerald school of acting. Cast for type and acting. Irish accent a must.

Ioseph O’ Neill – 50s or so. Seana’s Dad. Grizzled IRA vet, wounded physically and emotionally by the cause to which he’s given so much. Reliable, emotional. Irish accent a must. Cast for type and acting, some singing.

Isabel Mulligan – Irish, fifties, no-nonsense, direct, very funny in her humorlessness. Irish accent a must. Can double.

Head IRA Man– Lifelong soldier in the IRA, in his fifties. Prone to violence, to any means necessary. Dangerous, seeming a patient and calm man who will turn around and shoot you with no apparent change or misgivings. Can double.

Patricia – American woman in her 40’s-50s, cold and sophisticated, a professional news network executive. Should double. Acting, then voice (as she doubles) and movement.

Maire O’ Neill -Seana’s Mother. The classic Irish mother, loving, holding her family together, living in fear for her sons and husband. Catholic. Irish accent a must. Cast for look and acting, then voice, then movement. Double.

RUC Sergeant – British man in his forties, overworked and underpaid, living a life of constant jeopardy, deeply distrustful. Lower class British accent. Double. Voice, acting, dance.

RUC Private – In his twenties. Lower class British accent. Double. Voice, acting, dance.

Brian Boru – Ancient King of Ireland. Singing role. Double. Cast for type, then voice and dance.

St. Patrick – You’ve heard of him, a Catholic Saint. Singing role. Double. Cast for type, then voice and dance.

Hugh O’ Neill – Ancient King of Ireland. Singing role. Double. Cast for type, then voice and dance.

SETS:

The action moves rapidly through locations. I think a massive Dolmen should be the core of the set, at the back, in shadows, ever present regardless of where we go. A unit set should be built around this edifice.

We start with a parade of Irish history, and this can be played on a barely-lit stage, made to be mysterious and awesome, the Dolmen perhaps radiating some sort of light and energy behind the action, throwing everything into semi-silhouette.

We see an office in an American TV news network building, and this can be a few chairs, maybe a table, rolled in, or even danced in. (All “sets” can and probably should be brought on by company, and choreographed.)

A plane, a few plane seats isolated in light, a sound effect.

The mad streets of Ireland, no set required, it’s suggested.

A bus, suggested, a cutaway, or just a few seats again.

A hill overlooking Ireland, perhaps no set, or a cutaway of a tree, green and alive, moved on and off at will.

A graveyard, some crosses and stones brought on, maybe even a cut away of a wrought-iron gate at the back or side.

The woods, lush and green, suggested by lighting.

The Dolmen, lit now.

A pub, again, just stools. You get the idea. I’d go bare stage on much of the action. Make your stage feel green, in touch with nature, alive, and place all the action into this background, this context. Who is most at home in this setting? The most foreign of characters, the leprechauns.

Even the cutaways should feel Irish, perhaps be laced with vines and flowers, almost as if the story allows no escape from the place, the time. It is essentially a single set, which should keep costs and complexity down. But the need for creative design and a sense of Irish play will be necessary.

COSTUMES:

Really, keep these simple. The reporters are New York professional. The Irish characters are common dress for the place and time, about 1990. Only the Leprechauns may call for something interesting, suggestively magical while outwardly plain and even poor. Overall, not a difficult job. Just remember that your leads sing a lot, and there will be a lot of dance throughout, so the actors must be able to breathe and move.

PROPS:

A crock o’ gold, that’s right you’d be hearin’ me correctly. A believable gun, believable RUC rifles and guns. More believable guns to throw into a grave. The believable makings of a small but potent bomb, with gasoline. Bottles of booze and glasses for the wake. Cut bottles, shattered and used as weapons. A pro camera to shoot news stories, circa 1990, but on the small side. Some magazines for the flight. Some bags, keep these light, for the flight. Crosses for various Catholics to wear. Not a hard show to do, outside of the many weapons you’ll need.

LIGHTING:

A big job! Lots of cues and moods. And special effects. At one point, a bus blows up, and we’ll need a pop in the lights, probably aimed at the audience to blind them. The biggest effect is the shadow thrown across the stage and maybe even the audience by an unseen stream of ancient weapons of every size, passing overhead on its way to the sea. This effect must be believable.

When actually at the Dolmen (perhaps lit from within, magically, a small throb of power and light), with the gold (lit separately and magically, perhaps from within the crock…), all should feel wild, nature in command, and a harsh preternatural moon up above. When they work a magic, then a harsh beam of light from directly overhead, isolating them, erasing features in light, would be wonderful.

Anyway, the whole show should be fluid, move quickly through changes, and the lighting should always work to isolate attention to where it’s needed, while projecting the emotion of the moment.

MAKE-UP:

Stay out of the way of the leads and featured roles. And don’t go overboard with the leprechauns, we should see them as elderly Blacks. Keep it simple.

KEY PERSONNEL (The ones you MUST get right.):

Director, Musical Director, Choreographer, Lighting Designer, Seana, William, the Leprechauns. Maybe a coach for the Irish accents.

MY THOUGHTS:

A vital show about a subject that will always be times, our dreams as individuals and a species, and how we get in our own way.  The best and worst of humanity on display.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Steven David Horwich
Geoff Levin