Actor Aidan Quinn hosts “Irish Stories”

Since March is the month of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s fitting that WTTW’s March Pledge Month will feature an original doc, “Irish Stories,” and for good measure, Chicago native and actor Aidan Quinn is the doc’s host and narrator.

Ch. 11 will air twice it during Pledge Month, on March 3 at 7:30 p.m. and again on March 16 at 8 p.m.

The building of Chicago and the Irish are almost one and the same story, beginning in 1835 when the Irish found an American home in Chicago and worked with muscle and brains to build it.

“Irish Stories” is told by a group of contemporary Chicagoans, many with familiar names, who are descendants of earlier leaders and residents. Rare historical footage and archival photos augment their tales.

Some of the Chicagoans interviewed were state Senate president-elect John Cullerton; Tom Tunney, 44th ward alderman and owner of Ann Sather’s restaurant; Father Jack Wall, Pastor Emeritus of Old St. Patrick’s, now with Catholic Extension; Sister Susan Sanders, faculty member of St. Xavier’s University, writer James McManus and artist Megan Williamson.

Executive producer VJ McAleer and producer/director Dan Andries came up with the idea for the doc, produced between September and December, 2008.

Sara Medlin was associate producer, Paul Thornton edited and Tim Boyd was the cameraman.

Singer/songwriter Nicholas Tremulis was the lead composer on the score; Rick Barnes, Jimmy Keane and Mike J were co-composers.

“Irish Stories” and “Out and Proud” were the only two original docs the PBS station created last year.

One of the busiest and most sought after actors in show business, Aidan Quinn has starred in Broadway hits and more than 35 studio and independent features and especially favors films that allow him to return to his Irish roots.

He trained at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston and began his career on the Chicago stage. He taped his on-camera and voiceover parts at Ch. 11 studios.