Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Angela’s Ashes” and bestseller “Tis” Frank McCourt and his brother Malachy, also a successful author, joined talents to write an autobiographical account of their years growing up in poverty in Ireland, “A Couple of Blaguards.”
Though times were tough in Limerick, the tales spun by the brothers McCourt simmer with bittersweet recollections, ferocious humor and a parade of colorful characters from the priest who warns of sinners’ eyeballs exploding in hell to the McCourt grandmother who spits on Franks unruly Presbyterian hair to tame it.
According to Malachy McCourt, “This show is the result of Frank and me listening to the stories of our elders which in turn tunes the ear, the eye and the tongue to observe and give voice to even the most trivial of events. I think we had more fun than anyone writing and performing Blaguards, which has become an affectionate term for the rowdy, outgoing, and sometimes drinking sort of boys. If you don’t have a good evening, you should have yourself checked to make sure you haven’t died during the day.”
The role of Malachy will be played by Howard Platt, a show business veteran of more than 37 years. As an actor he has appeared in at least 100 plays assuming the roles of everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Santa Claus to Frank McCourt and brother Malachy.
He has made numerous comedic and dramatic appearances on television, most recently as Rev. Weber in “What About Joan?” He is best known for his roles as Hoppy the Cop on “Sandford and Son,” Dr. Phil Newman on “The Bob Newhart Show,” Marvin on “Alice” and Judge Jonathan Stockfish on “Evening Shade” with Burt Reynolds, Charles Durning and Marilu Henner. As a series regular he played Captain Doug March on “Flying High” with Connie Sellecca, Pat Klous and Katherine Witt, Roger Martinson Esq. on “Empire” with Patrick McNee, Dennis Dugan, Edward Winter and Michael McGuire and Raymond Peterson on “Me, On The Radio?” with Sally Struthers.
His many movie roles include “The Rock,” “Nixon,” “The Cat from Outer Space” and “Norma Jean & Marilyn.”
Platt has directed a dozen shows including “A Couple Of Blaguards,” “Don’t Dress For Dinner,” “Pump Boys And Dinettes, “Love Letters” and “Steel Magnolias.” Among 20 shows Platt was involved in producing in Chicago with Cullen, Henaghan and Platt, his association with Robert Whitehead during the first Broadway Alliance production, Steve Tesich’s Speed Of Darkness, was a theatrical high point.
Frank McCourt will be played by Jarlath Conroy. Conroy was in “A Couple of Blaguards” at the Triad Theater in New York City. His Broadway credits include: “The Seagull,” “The Weir,” “The Iceman Cometh,” “On The Waterfront,” “Ghetto,” “The Visit,” “Philadelphia Here I Come!” and “Comedians.” Off-Broadway: “The Coward” and “A Man of No Importance” at Lincoln Center; “Our Lady of Sligo,” “A Life” and “Pigtown” at The Irish Repertory Theater; “Gardenia” and “Translations” at Manhattan Theater Club; and “The Matchmaker” and “Playboy of the Western World” at The Roundabout Theater.
TV and film credits include roles on “Law and Order,” “NYPD Blues,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “The Beat,” “Summer,” “A Marriage: O’Keeffe and Stieglitz,” “The Elephant Man,” “Putzel,” “True Grit,” “The Art of Getting By,” “Heaven’s Gate” George Romero’s “Day of the Dead,” “Kinsey” and “Stay.” His directing credits include “True West” and “Human Resources.”
“A Couple of Blaguards” will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 24; 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 25; 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26; and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 27. Tickets are at $35 to $39. Purchase them online at harriscenter.net or from Harris Center ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.