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New production shows different sides of Celtic Woman

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Nearing the 10-year anniversary of its first show, Celtic Woman is hardly showing its age.

In fact, according to Susan McFadden, its new "The Emerald: Musical Gems" production is the liveliest the Irish troupe has ever present.

"It's quite high-energy and uptempo -- definitely probably the most energetic show that Celtic Woman have ever done," says McFadden, 31, a Dublin-born singer and actress who came on board in 2012. "Over the years as the lineup changes, we all dance now, we're all able to dance, so we've been given more to do and that goes hand-in-hand with the more energetic show we have now.

"So it's a lot of fun to be a part of, and the audience seems to be having a good time, too. It's definitely more fun than us just standing there singing."

For "The Emerald" -- which is a PBS special as well as an album -- Celtic Woman revisits much of its past repertoire, including standards such as "Danny Boy," "She Moves Through the Fair" and "Amazing Grace." That serves to connect the current lineup (violinist Mairead Nesbitt is the only founding member remaining) with Celtic Woman's history, while the new, freshened arrangements stake a claim in the present.

"They're new versions of the older repertoire of Celtic Woman, revisiting them again with new voices, new arrangements, new instruments, just a new take on the old classics," McFadden explains. "It's great to do them in these contemporary styles and really bring them into the 21st century. The music is so timeless already, but this lets it grow and live and be accessible to anyone who hears it."

Celtic Woman performs at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 8, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $43.50-$103.50. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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