After a world stage premiere in Dublin last October, director John McColgan realized immediately his new two-hour international salute to dance called "Heartbeat of Home" was meant to tour cities around the world.
"This performance is a multi-cultural celebration that picks up right where 'Riverdance' ended," said McColgan, speaking by telephone last Friday from his office in Dublin.
"Audiences find this production to be heart-racing."
Broadway In Chicago, McColgan and the producers of "Riverdance" are excited to have "Heartbeat of Home" make its U.S. premiere in Chicago for a run at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, for a limited two-week engagement March 4 to 16.
"We did play Toronto in January, which was the first performance in North America," McColgan said.
"But our arrival in Chicago marks the U.S. premiere."
He said "Heartbeat of Home" is best described as a music and dance spectacular featuring the dynamic, vibrant components of traditional Irish, Latin and Afro-Cuban music and dance. The world-class cast of 40 includes a 10-piece band creating a new and electrifying sound written by award-winning, Golden-Globe-nominated composer Brian Byrne.
The show also employs high-definition, cutting-edge projection technology and has an engaging narrative structure. Produced by Moya Doherty, devised and directed by McColgan with narrative and lyrics by award-winning Irish writer Joseph O'Connor.
"When we marry the sexiness of salsa to the thunder of Irish dance, the lyricism of tango to the yearning of Sean-nós, what a night of storytelling we shall have," are the welcoming words of O'Connor's narration.
The cast includes world-class Irish, Latin and Afro-Cuban dancers and with choreography by David Bolger, to create a dream-world of joyous, heart-stopping, high-energy music and dance.
"I say that everyone is a star in this show," McColgan said.
"From London to New York and in Dublin, we did an exhaustive open search for talent, with 10 of the dancers cast via an unprecedented online talent search resulting in a dancer roster that comes from the U.S., Canada, Australia and the UK. These dancers are the new generation bringing with them the versatility of other dance forms including tap, ballet, hip hop and street combined with their outstanding Irish dance skills. The online talent website received in excess of 2.2 million hits."
McColgan said a portion of the online auditions ask the dancing hopefuls to submit a minute and half video that not only showcased dance talent but also offered a nod to their home roots and scenery.
"We had dancers who filmed themselves on a mountain on Colorado contrasted by other dancers filmed doing their routine in front of the Sydney Opera House in Australia and yet other recorded in dance in front of the famed Hollywood sign," McColgan said.
In October 2012, a 40-minute workshop of "Heartbeat of Home" was held at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin. International promoters traveled from China, Australia, USA, Canada, Germany and the UK to attend. McColgan said they were unanimous in their positive reaction to the presentation.
"Since we launched, I've fine-tuned and added two routines," McColgan said.
"The final result offers audiences a unique blend of dance that spans everything from gymnastic ballet to hip hop and centuries old traditional steps. It's an amazing showcase of talent from around the world."