As you all may know, over the last four years I have been producing and music directing “Tommy and the Brothers”, a show about the lives and careers of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem. My partner, co-producer and director is Thom MacNamara, a long time producer, former Director of the Celtic Arts Center in Hollywood, Barnum and Bailey clown and a well loved Ronald McDonald. He is also the current owner of the oldest Irish import shop in the US: MacNamara’s Irish Import Shop, in Hollywood, also home of the Wren Theater.
Thom and I began this project with the thought and belief that the story of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem needed to be brought to the stage as they were four men who changed the course of Irish music and singing across the world, from New York City to Sydney, Australia to Dublin, London and everywhere else in the late 1950’s through to 1984, their final tour. When a couple of the boys retired, Liam and Tommy formed Makem and Clancy and continued their career for many more years.
Thom and I auditioned many actors and singers in the eighteen months pre Covid and battled the ins and outs of players coming and going, dropping in, dropping out but through a few serendipitous moments, last year the team became an amazing foursome who, as individuals, have a love for the old Irish ballads and particularly the catalogue of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem.
What we present on stage is a show in which our boys tell their stories of coming to America in the early and mid-1950’s, their time spent in the pubs, coffee houses and theaters around Greenwich Village in NY, their rise from part and full time acting jobs, which was their original ambition and goal, to becoming the four “best known Irishmen in the world” as described by Ireland’s celebrated radio and TV personality Gay Byrne at the time.
A couple of spots on the Ed Sullivan Show launched their career into a stratosphere they never expected, and our lads present the story through narrative and twenty one songs that will bring the audience back to a time and place; their world comes alive with the rollicking, devil may care approach they took to their performances, but as actors, every note and mannerism was very finely rehearsed. They were heavily influenced by the intense high energy of the American folk and union songs, took the Irish parlor songs and songs of rebellion and emigration and added the drive that delighted audiences worldwide. They hung out with the Beat crowd, Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte, Odetta, Josh White, to name a few: they were trailed everywhere at the time by a young kid named Bob Dylan, with whom Liam Clancy remained a lifelong friend. Bob Dylan once said he “hoped to be as famous as the Clancys some day”
Come join us at one of our shows, if you like Irish ballads, chances are you’ll here most of your favorites performed by Dalton Maltz as Liam Clancy, Danny Oberbeck as Tom Clancy, Sean Faye Cullen as Paddy Clancy and Joel Mankey as Tommy Makem. With authentic instrumentation the presentation is lively and heartwarming, and a definite date to put on your calendar. CLICK ON THE PHOTO ABOVE for tickets and information.