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At Gaslight Cabaret Festival, Irish performer Maxine Linehan tells an American story

Maxine Linehan is an Irish-born performer currently located in New York.
Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Irish singer and actress Maxine Linehan wants you to remember your roots.

This weekend, Linehan joins the Gaslight Cabaret Festival with her performance, titled ‘An Irish Singer. A Journey to America. An Immigrant’s Story.” The story she sings is her own; but it is also, she stressed, universal.  

“I came here 15 years ago from Ireland,” Linehan said, “but what I find quite remarkable, every time we perform this show, is how people connect with my story because it’s their story, or their parents’ or their grandparents’.”

Linehan grew up in a small town in County Cork and was “one of those kids,” she said, who tried everything. “I loved to sing, and I was an Irish dancer and a ballet dancer.”

When she was 17, the Irish Operatic Repertory Company had open auditions for ‘The Sound of Music’—her favorite musical and movie. “I auditioned for it, and I got it. That was the first step on the road to a career in the theatre.”

Linehan did not choose to study the arts, however; after moving to London, she studied law and became a certified barrister. That career, she said, got her to America, and to New York. Now an American citizen, she says she has planted her roots in this country.

“Ever since I was a very young girl, I wanted to live in America,” she said. “It had an appeal to me, this land of opportunity. We lived on the southwest coast of Ireland and my dad used to say to me, ‘if you swam all the way to the other side of the ocean, you’d be in America.’”

She worked on Cape Cod during the summers, she said. She fell in love with New York the first time she visited, “and spent most of my life up until then finding a way to get there.”

Now based in New York, Linehan both acts and sings. At one point, she starred as Charlotte Brontë in an eponymous one-woman show, which she said was different—and difficult—but rewarding.

“It’s very different. As a singer you have an instrument that you have to be very careful about taking care of it. It’s a little more stressful to be in a singing role than it is to be in a dramatic role.”

This weekend, Linehan will perform at the Gaslight Theater as part of the Gaslight Cabaret Festival, which runs through Nov. 21. She will be joined by a troupe of Irish dancers from The Clarkson School, who will open the performance.  

Related Event

  • What: An Irish Singer. A Journey to America. An Immigrant’s Story; Part of The Gaslight Cabaret Festival
  • When: Oct. 9-10 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Where: Gaslight Theater, 258 N. Boyle, St. Louis, MO 63108
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer, and Kelly Moffitt. The show is sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.    

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