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“Rockin’ Road to Dublin” steps into Keith-Albee spotlight

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The “Rockin’ Road to Dublin” will cross into Huntington’s Keith-Albee theater Tuesday, March 14, bringing an acclaimed combination of dance, music and lights — all set to live Irish rock.

The show has already performed in 38 cities since the fall of 2016, with 42 more live shows underway since the beginning of February, going until the end of March.

“It’s blown up bigger than we’d ever imagined,” said Scott Doherty, co-creator of the show. Doherty is an accomplished Irish dancer, holding numerous awards including the 2009 World Champion of Irish Dance. Doherty began Irish dancing at six years old in Boston, Massachusetts.

“My parents made me start,” Doherty said, “but luckily for me, I ended up falling in love with it. There’s something about Irish dance that kind of speaks to everybody. The rhythm and the synchronized dancing — everyone seems to be hypnotized by it.”

No less essential to the show is co-creator Chris Smith, a musician who has toured with numerous Celtic rock bands. Smith also has a bachelor’s degree in technical theatre.

“I’ve been around [Irish dance] for the past 10 years or so,” Smith said.

Smith said although he is not a dancer, “the rhythm, the precision and the tightness of Irish dancing is what really brings me to it.”

The team of Doherty and Smith met while performing together at different shows for Busch Gardens in Virginia.

“We became friends instantly,” Smith said. “One day we were at the gym talking about how we both wanted to create our own shows. I had my ideas, and he had his ideas, but the more we started talking about our ideas back and forth, it morphed into this Irish dancing rock show idea.”

“That was over six years ago, and we’ve hit the ground running with it ever since,” Smith said.

Coming from a background of music, performance and technical experience between them, “Rockin’ Road to Dublin” has been “a culmination of all of our experience, both in performance and design, over the past lifetime,” Smith said. “From music licensing, to buses, to travel and to marketing, all of that stuff has been a learning experience.”

“It’s definitely been from scratch,” Doherty said. “And we’re really proud of that.”

For Doherty, whose great-grandparents were from Ireland, heritage plays a large part in his influences for the show.

“I always grew up going to events with these really strong Irish national songs,” Doherty said. “There’s a song at the end of our show, ‘A Nation Once Again,’ that we’ve just made into this epic tribute. It’s something that I’m personally proud of — to give these Irish songs the ‘oomph’ they deserve.”

“It’s Irish dance, Irish music and, obviously, rock ‘n’ roll,” Doherty said.

And for the team, their experience touring across the United States has proven those elements “speak for everybody, everywhere.”

Student tickets for “Rockin’ Road to Dublin” can be redeemed at the Joan C. Edwards box-office by students who present their Marshall IDs.

Austin Creel can be contacted at [email protected]

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