The song is central to the theme of the production. Its arrangement opens with a flute solo, which is prevalent in Irish traditional music, and is reminiscent of the haunting flute melody in the film, “Titanic.”
“I’m so proud to have the opportunity to sing that piece in the show,” Wood said. “The song’s lyrics bring up the issues that black people and Irish people alike faced when first coming to the United States.”
According to the singer and dancer, although the country is a big melting pot, people’s differences are always being tested.
“Riverdance” at the 1994 Eurovision Spirit of Mayo in Dublin.
A seven-minute version of “Riverdance” was transmitted to an estimated 300 million viewers worldwide on April 30, 1994. That performance put the historic dance on the cultural map.
Flatley endeared himself to American audiences, who credit his “Lord of the Dance” for the Irish dance step’s worldwide popularity. In 2000, he brought “Riverdance” to Broadway with his stylized choreography. Since then, the show has been performed and acclaimed throughout the world.
Though no stranger to the stage, Michael Wood is making his theater debut with this tour of “Riverdance.”
Wood spent two years singing and dancing aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines’ stages, enjoying ports such as Bermuda, Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Alaska, among others.
“I had never left the U.S. before, so it was pretty thrilling,” Wood said.
After one of his cruise performances as an Irish dancer, someone tied to the show asked Wood about his interest in performing in “Riverdance.”
The stage was set to launch Wood’s career. When he went to a New York audition for the show, the director asked if there was, among those trying out, an African American male who could tap dance and sing baritone.
“The only thing he didn’t ask for was that his name should be Michael Wood!” he quipped.
Wood said he was passionate about the performing arts as far back as elementary school. While growing up he danced to Michael Jackson and sang to whatever was on the radio. In high school, he enjoyed performing in show choir.
“When I watch ‘Glee,’ I see every day of my life while in high school,” Wood said. He added that he has been lucky to have talented choir directors throughout school. Each mentored and encouraged him to sing and perform.
Wood attended Oklahoma City University, where he began his technical training.
He studied ballet, jazz and tap, and received a degree in fine arts/dance performance. His major required voice lessons, which helped him develop his smooth baritone.
When asked what he plans to do after this tour is over, he said he’s open to doing other shows and would like to do more acting.
“I am especially interested in doing some television and commercial work,” he said.
The Texan said he has family members all across the state, including Austin, Houston and San Antonio, in addition to Dallas.
“Riverdance” will play at the Music Hall at Fair Park with performances at 8 p.m. Tues. and Wed., Feb. 7 and 8, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Wednesday.
White Rock Lake Weekly raises a pint and a flute to Michael Wood with congratulations on his burgeoning career.