Riverdance brings 25th anniversary show to Chicago stop on US tour

By Michaela Schirra and Sally Ehrmann
Medill Reports

Legendary Irish themes with brisk contemporary footwork and dreamscape staging grace theaters across the country this year as Riverdance celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The Riverdance show is in Chicago through Feb. 9 to present audiences with the new show highlighting traditional Irish dance, music and elaborate costumes.

From the dramatic lighting to the vivid and animated backdrops, the show creates an immersive experience showcasing the heritage of Irish song and dance around the world.

Riverdance – 25th Anniversary Show [Anna Livia] (Photo courtesy of Riverdance, Photo credit to Jack Hartin.)
The phenomenon began in 1994 when the company entered a song contest in Dublin, Ireland, and burgeoned into the beloved performances audiences see today. Since the initial North American tour in 1996, many dancers have performed for U.S. audiences  and show them why this form of dance is unique.

Seeing the performance in 1994 blew now Lead Dancer Patrick O’Mahony away and inspired him to eventually audition to join the cast.

“That’s why I continued dancing because I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” O’Mahony said. 

He continued dancing and has been a part of the company since 2012, creating a second family with his fellow dancers. In addition to creating friendships with the other cast members, O’Mahony said the remastered show has new life to it, creating an amazing performing experience.

“It’s a timeless piece,” O’Mahony said. “It’ll never go out of fashion.”

Riverdance’s 25th Anniversary promotional poster. (Photo courtesy of Riverdance.)

The dancers create a timeless show but the 25th anniversary performances do have some different elements to introduce a new and different experience.

The show’s updated orchestrations, set and the video wall  contribute to the atmosphere and produce a show that audiences have not seen before, said production stage manager Marc Anderson. 

“It just feels like a brand new show again,” Anderson said. “You may have seen the show before, but this time it feels fresh.”

The show will be on display at the Cadillac Palace Theatre until Feb. 9. To purchase tickets, visit the box office or the theater’s website. 

Photo at top and video trailer: Riverdance — 25th Anniversary Show [Reel around the Sun] (Photo courtesy of Jack Hartin/Riverdance; Video courtesy of Riverdance)

See related Q&A story:
Life on the road for a Riverdance pro is hectic but “happy”
By Sally Ehrmann and Michaela Schirra