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Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) is proud to premiere Little Orphan Danny, a musical memoir from Dan Finnerty about what it means to be a good son, March 21 through April 15. This surprisingly touching, and irreverently funny show is for everyone out there who has a mother. Julie Foldesi, a veteran Broadway actor who recently appeared in Sunday in the Park with Jake Gyllenhaal, plays, among many roles, Dan’s birth mother and adoptive mother. The show is music directed by Dan Lipton, who was recently the associate music director for Sting’s The Last Ship on Broadway.

MRT has a history of presenting original one-person true musicals such as Little Orphan Danny, including The Lion (2015) and My-80-Year-Old Boyfriend (2017). This new work was written by and stars Dan Finnerty, who was a recurring comedy correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, fronts The Dan Band, and appeared in several cult classic films as an inappropriate wedding singer. Here he tells about growing up a small town Catholic altar boy in a nice conservative family, which does always suit our adopted protagonist. Childhood outbursts of blasphemy in church only lead to pathetic adolescent attempts at playing sports. But of the many lessons he’ll learn, none could prepare him for the fateful day he and his mother meet the woman who gave birth to him. This irreverent-yet-tender adoption story is about a boy—and the two women who made him.

Press performances are on Saturday, March 24, at 8:00 p.m. (opening night) and on Sunday, March 25, at 2:00 p.m.

“After three years of developing the story and songs with Dan Finnerty and the superstars at New York Stage and Film, I couldn’t be more excited to bring this piece to Lowell before it takes on the world,” says MRT artistic director Sean Daniels, who also serves as director and co-creator of the musical. “Dan’s story is a truly charming and deeply irreverent take on the family we are given and the family we make. People think they know Dan from the movies or from The Dan Band, but here he’s bravely sharing his true-life story, but doing it with the same edge and laughter people have come to expect from him. That and our music director, Dan Lipton, was just the music director on Broadway’s The Last Ship, which was written by Sting—so we’re once again bringing the best in our industry to Lowell.”

Dan Finnerty adds, “I met Sean Daniels after seeing The Lion in New York City and we decided to try to put a show together. I told him about 45 stories from my youth that I thought were hilarious and somewhere in the middle I briefly mentioned that I was adopted and had found my birth mother. ‘That’s all funny stuff,’ he said. ‘But go back to that part about finding your birth mother.’ And from there the show was born. Growing up as an adopted child, I always knew there was some secret about me. But what I didn’t anticipate was that even more difficult than uncovering the secret, would be navigating what happens afterward. As a graduate of Emerson College in Boston, I’m really excited to be back in the area and debuting Little Orphan Danny at MRT here in Lowell!”

Little Orphan Danny was developed with the support of New York Stage and Film & Vassar’s Powerhouse Season Summer 2016 and 2017, and New York Stage and Film’s 2018 Winter Season.


Performances, Admission, and Location

The approximately 90-minute show will be performed without intermission. Performances are March 21–April 15, 2018. All performances will be held at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre located at 50 East Merrimack Street in historic downtown Lowell. Tickets range from $26 – $73 and are on sale now at or by calling 978-654-4678. A senior discount is offered for 10% off adult ticket prices. Student tickets are $15. Group discounts are available for groups of six or more by calling 978-654-7561. Press performances are on Saturday, March 24, at 8:00 p.m. (opening night) and on Sunday, March 25, at 2:00 p.m. More information:


Creative Team and Cast

For Little Orphan Danny, book, lyrics, and music are by Dan Finnerty; created by Dan Finnerty & Sean Daniels; additional music by Dan Lipton; directed by Sean Daniels.

The two-person cast includes Dan Finnerty (Danny) and Julie Foldesi (band member/women). The band includes Dan Lipton (keyboards), Jeff Prescott (drums), Andrés Wilson (guitar).

The creative team also includes Michael Raiford (scenic designer), Jen Caprio (costume designer), Brian J. Lilienthal (lighting designer), Danny Erdberg (sound designer), and Seághan Mackay (projection designer).