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Broadway dream of Tyrone actress Zara Devlin put on hold by coronavirus


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Zara Devlin will perform Sing Street Grounded tonight

Zara Devlin will perform Sing Street Grounded tonight

Zara Devlin will perform Sing Street Grounded tonight

Zara Devlin will perform Sing Street Grounded tonight

Sing Street Grounded: At Home with the Broadway Cast will be live-streamed tomorrow night at 11.30pm at facebook.com/singstreetbway/

Sing Street Grounded: At Home with the Broadway Cast will be live-streamed tomorrow night at 11.30pm at facebook.com/singstreetbway/

Zara Devlin will perform Sing Street Grounded tonight

A young Co Tyrone actress who was due to make her Broadway debut in an exciting new musical 10 days ago has been silenced by the coronavirus pandemic which has put the lights out on America's theatre capital.

Zara Devlin (24) is back home in lockdown in her home in the tiny village of Kildress near Cookstown instead of playing to packed audiences in New York City where all Broadway's theatres have shut.

Zara had been busy rehearsing for her starring role in Sing Street at the Lyceum Theatre when the plug was pulled and the cast were sent home.

The show, which was due to premiere on April 19, is the stage version of John Carney's 2016 film Sing Street which was nominated for a Golden Globe and is about a Dublin teenager who forms a rock group to impress a girl, Raphina, played by Zara.

The actor who portrays her father in the musical is Billy Carter from Bangor. He was recently namechecked on RTE's Late Late Show by Dublin star Brendan Gleeson who expressed his sympathy for theatre professionals put out of work by Covid-19.

Zara and English actor Brenock O'Connor, who was in Game of Thrones and Derry Girls, have been seen by millions of TV viewers on the abc7 news channel in New York speaking about their sadness at the postponement of the show until Broadway returns to normal.

From the bedroom of her home Zara told viewers the delay was "extremely disappointing".

But she added: "After five minutes you realised what the bigger picture was and what the priority was and that was to make sure that we were all healthy and that our audience would be healthy."

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Zara Devlin will perform Sing Street Grounded tonight

Zara Devlin will perform Sing Street Grounded tonight

Zara Devlin will perform Sing Street Grounded tonight

Despite the setback, a cast album of Sing Street has been released. Zara said: "It couldn't have come at a better time when we all need joy and positivity."

The cast, who are now dispersed across the world, have also recorded videos of themselves performing Sing Street songs on laptops and mobile phones in their homes which they will be streamed on Facebook tomorrow night. Proceeds from the broadcast will help several charities, including the New York Mayor's Fund for the battle against coronavirus.

Before the lockdown Zara told the Belfast Telegraph about being cast in Sing Street and said: "I'm the luckiest girl in the world."

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Sing Street Grounded: At Home with the Broadway Cast will be live-streamed tomorrow night at 11.30pm at facebook.com/singstreetbway/

Sing Street Grounded: At Home with the Broadway Cast will be live-streamed tomorrow night at 11.30pm at facebook.com/singstreetbway/

Sing Street Grounded: At Home with the Broadway Cast will be live-streamed tomorrow night at 11.30pm at facebook.com/singstreetbway/

She also talked about the woman who inspired her acting career... a former Loreto Convent nun, Sister Aengus Fitzpatrick, who ran the cross-community Hazel Wand theatre school in Omagh before her death in 2017.

Zara also took part in plays in Drumragh Integrated College in Omagh before, as an 18 year old, she joined the Lyric Drama Studio in Belfast, a move which she said motivated her to apply for a three year acting course with the Lir Academy at Trinity College Dublin.

Zara had once considered a career in the health service but nursing's loss was the theatre's gain as she quickly made her mark on the Dublin acting scene.

After her graduation in 2018 Zara, who's also a talented piano and guitar player, was nominated in the Irish Times theatre awards for a best supporting actress award in the Abbey Theatre's acclaimed production, On Raftery's Hill by Marina Carr.

She also received rave reviews for her performance as Laura in the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams at the Gate Theatre in Dublin and for her work in Carr's adaptation of the Greek tragedy Hecuba for the Rough Magic company at the Dublin Theatre Festival.

Zara also found time to appear in a number of films including The Other Lamb, a horror movie which was shot in Wicklow and the Bronagh Gallagher production, A Bump Along the Way.

Zara's father Michael is a well-known singer with rock bands, and also wrote and performed in a musical drama about his hero Bruce Springsteen.

Michael, his wife Michelle, and their other children, Shane, who's a chef and Emily, a budding dancer, were all in New York at Christmas to see Sing Street off-Broadway.

The positive responses that the musical received there and advance bookings led to confidence from the show's backers that Sing Street will still be a major hit when it returns to Broadway.

Sing Street Grounded: At Home with the Broadway Cast will be live-streamed tomorrow night at 11.30pm at facebook.com/singstreetbway/

Belfast Telegraph