All the world’s a cell: Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘The Tempest’ at St. Ann’s Warehouse

How it’s New York: Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse is one of the hippest places in the city; it’s known

L-R: Erick Betancourt, Harriet Walter, Sophie Stanton ©Teddy Wolff

especially as an importer of acclaimed and innovative work from overseas. The new building has the most comfortable lobby in town, with chaise loungeand often live music in the bar.
How it’s (Irish) English: The show is the third in the trilogy of Shakespeare plays performed by women, with the conceit that they are all inmates in a prison, and hails from England’s Donmar Warehouse.

Of all Shakespeare plays to set in a prison cell, “The Tempest” makes the most sense. Prospero, a sorcerer and the rightful Duke of Milan, is living on an island from which he cannot escape, after having been usurped by his own brother Antonio. He seizes a chance to cause a shipwreck when Antonio and King Alonso of Naples, complicit in the crime, are nearby, and restore himself and his daughter Miranda to their rightful places. Most prisoners can only depend on clemency.

The Tempest” at St. Ann’s Warehouse is the third in a trilogy from the Donmar Warehouse in London, all directed by Phyllida Lloyd, all featuring actor Harriet Walter, and casts of women performing a play within a play. “Julius Caesar” and “Henry IV” were presented earlier this season.

“The Tempest” is fiercely successful, asking the audience when and how does the punishment fit the crime. In each production, an actor frames the play by introducing the modern-day inmate telling the story. In “The Tempest,” Walter shows that Prospero’s interpretation  is based on the story of Judith Clark, a 67-year-old woman serving 75-to-life in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York. Clark drove the getaway car in 1981 for a bank robbery that resulted in the deaths of two

(L to R): Liv Spencer (blond, somewhat outside the frame), Leah Harvey, Harriet Walter, Sheila Atim, Jackie Clune, Sophie Stanton, Martina Laird, Jade Anouka
©Teddy Wolff

police officers.  (Andrew Cuomo has commuted Clark’s sentence this past December, according to press notes, and she will be granted a parole hearing this year).

It’s impossible not to hear her story at the top of the show and ask what justice means- and that was the point of the choice. One of the play’s most indelible moments comes at the end, as prisoners leave, calling “Bye, Hannah!” while Walter sits alone in her cell.

But thematic sincerity doesn’t always make for great theater, and this is great theater. It has everything– terrific performances, surprise, spectacle, insight. If you can nab a ticket (It’s sold out, performances through Feb. 19), even if you’ve seen “The Tempest” before, you need to go.

You’ve never seen it done like this.


Overcoming the Competition

How it’s New York: It is catching up Tom Dunne’s old buddies across the pond, and they are fixing to hop across it for a visit!
How it’s Irish: Diddley, innit?

Irish music competitions sound like a nightmare to me, what with all the stories of young wannabe champions passing out and vomiting with the stress, and the bitter disputes over the scoring.  Yet there are good things that come from it. One of these is the camaraderie and friendship between old sparring partners. Two of Tom Dunne’s fellow contestants and subsequent buddies from competitions back in the day, namely Seamus Walshe and Patsy Moloney, have recently made albums which are well worth your attention.

seamus-trad-coverSeamus Walshe plays the box in a very personal style. In the liner notes of one of Seamus’s previous CDs Traditional Irish Music on the Button Accordion  Joe Burke likened his approach to that of an architect (Seamus’ chosen profession).  At the time, I considered that notion fanciful, preferring to just savor the luxurious experience of having that CD on repeat for a leisurely drive across the Canadian Rockies. Now I get the architect thing. There is definite evidence of a stately, elegant and logical form, yet lyrical and emotional touches abound.


There are many examples of this on the new CD Turas: on the “Long Drop” Seamus shapes the first tune with phrasing and dynamic subtleties; as Eimear Reilly’s fiddle comes in for “Fred Finn’s Reel”, the stricter tempo and the “sit up and beg” figures enhance both the swing and the sadness in the tune; “The Torn Jacket” works as the release with a more straight-ahead approach (albeit with outstanding unison triplets).


The strong windswept melody of “Margaret’s Waltz” is stated with bold accordion and fiddle lines, leading into “Louis’ Waltz”, a staple of New York sessions (also known as “Dermot Grogan’s Favourite”). Here it is given a totally different treatment with the harp, fiddle and accordion creating a dense texture with the fiddle adding harmonic variations. The Poppy Leaf is another commonly recorded tune (twice by Tony DeMarco , and a stunning interpretation by Brian Rooney) which still gets a fresh treatment by Seamus and Grainne Hambly on harp. They take a relaxed pace, resisting the temptation to stuff the high part with notes, and smoothly transition into Charlie Lennon’s Rossinver Braes with its exquisite interplay of box and harp.

Turas means trip or pilgrimage and this album echoes that reflective note.  While it doesn’t have some of the exuberance of Seamus’ previous recordings it is an album of great sensitivity and maturity. It is also noteworthy that he has brought along some famous musical friends for this particular journey, including Alec Finn, Charlie Lennon, Noel Hill and Steve Cooney.


Murray Defeated Dimitrov In R4 Of US Open – Then Why Did The Scot Clutch Her Head?

September 7, 2016 - Andy Murray in action against Kei Nishikori in a men's quarterfinal match during the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.

Andrew Murray at the US Open (Courtesy of Garrett Elwood/USTA)

How it’s New York: This article covers a Men’s Round 4 (“R4”) at the US Open, which took place in Flushing, Queens.
How it’s Irish: Celtic – Andrew Murray, the No. 2-seeded player representing Great Britain, is Scottish!

At the US Open R4 Monday night, I saw Andrew Murray (Great Britain) get his own back from Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) – who had beat out Murray in the Miami Open this spring.


And Murray took control with his serves, firing off a personal-best, 141-mph serve that had commentator John McEnroe jumping out of his chair. 

…firing off a personal-best, 141-mph serve that had commentator John McEnroe jumping out of his chair.

“I did go up in [racket string] tension a little bit from the last match. Maybe that allowed me to feel like I was able to swing a little bit harder.” (Which also explains why Dimitrov halted the game to have his racket restrung.) Murray added, “I didn’t give him an opportunity, once I was ahead, to let him back in the match.”

September 7, 2016 - Andy Murray in action against Kei Nishikori in a men's quarterfinal match during the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.

Andrew Murray at the US Open (courtesy of Garrett Elwood/USTA)


Kids of All Ages Welcome

How it’s New York: It features an interview with Kevin Crawford, leading light of the Irish Trad scene in New musictonyYork, where he talks about his rambunctious musical beginnings in Birmingham, England.
How it’s Irish: It is the latest in a series on the Anne and Pat Molloy Summer School in Digbeth, Birmingham 

Pat Molloy understood kids. He knew how to get them engaged but also ,when they were under too much pressure, to just let them be kids. Some knew the tunes they wanted straight off the bat; others needed a little prompting so he used “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” as an introduction. Of course the idea grew into a jig version, a reel version and a hornpipe version (I’m sure he had barn dance and mazurka versions up his sleeve as well). For those who needed a bit of theatre he also had a party piece of a 4-part manoeuvre before putting the fiddle to the neck (think of a fun version of the military “present arms”). At the other end of the scale he used to also relish the senior student – if I recall correctly his oldest first-time student was 80 years old and full of self-doubt, but still walked out of Hendon Road with a tune.

This spirit is at the core of the Anne and Pat Molloy Summer School, about to run for its 5th year on the weekend of 23rd and 24th, 2016,  a welcoming place for all interested in traditional Irish music, whatever your current level or age.

We have noticed at previous summer schools that those attending or teaching could be split up into different categories: the Little Kids, the Big Kids and the Adults.


From Neuve Chappelle to New York – Songs and Poems of World War I

How it’s New York: At The Irish Arts Center in New York City
How it’s Irish: Irish Artists sharing words and music from and about World War I

Neuve Chappelle curtain call

It was fitting that on the night following the centenary of the death of World War I activist and unionizer Joe Hill, The Irish Arts Center presented a lively show of songs, poems and stories from and about the war entitled “From Neuve Chappelle to New York“.

The brainchild of singer/songwriter Declan O’Rourke, with a script by Myles Dungan, the show is a raucous and touching journey through the years of the “Great War”.  The show featured songs both old and new, stories read by actor John Keating and poetry read by renowned Northern Irish poet Paul Muldoon. (more…)

You say Sow-een, I say Sah-wen: The Feast of Samhain, and the Gaelic Roots of Halloween

How it’s New York: Well, hey, who in New York doesn’t like Halloween?
How it’s Irish: Samhain, lots of discussion of interesting foods and activities, and a quick mention of Bram Stoker.

Hween picWell, it’s Oct. 31, so maybe you’re counting the hours until it gets dark so you can head out trick-or-treating. Or maybe you’re planning to sit the evening by the fire with some apples or cider and tell a few ghost stories.

In honor of Halloween, we’re going to take a look at some of the Irish (and English, Scottish, Welsh, Manx, etc.) influences on the day.

The end of October and the start of November coincide with the feast of Samhain, one of the most important feast times in the year for the ancient Celts. Samhain was, and still is for modern observers, a time for gathering in the harvest, heralding the arrival of winter and awaiting the return of summer.

A lot of traditions we associate with Halloween, particularly in the United States, were adapted in part from ancient Celtic traditions and rituals – quite a few of which had been co-opted over the centuries by Christianity – as well as some more recent traditions from around Britain and Ireland.


Her Majesty is majestic in “The Audience”

How it’s New York: New York actors have taken some of the roles that were originally done in London, and of course, it’s a Broadway play, with a hot elizabethallticket.
How it’s English/Irish/Scottish: It’s the Queen of England. And she drinks a hot whiskey! (she calls it a hot lemon). And a lovely scene takes place in Balmoral, Scotland.

A lot of English accents were heard online for people waiting to get in to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre to see Helen Mirren play Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Gordon’s play, “The Audience.” No wonder: it’s a play about the meaning and future of the British monarchy, and it was a big success in London (that’s how it has quotes on the boards even before it’s opened here).

Americans don’t care as much about that going in, nor do we know without reference to the program (and  larger handy stock-card with Prime Minister names on it inserted) who is who. But we do care about great acting, and in Mirren, you get lots of that.

The conceit of the play is to trace the queen having a private audience with 12 different PMs, as they’re called. It’s really to the play’s credit that it skips around in time and doesn’t pose an obvious linear question. Instead, we start in 1995, then flash back to before her coronation, and then basically skip around.

elizabethscotlandYet the play never seems to ramble. There’s an urgency about it and a beauty, too. This queen is regal, yet still a person, lovable and occasionally mischievous. Mirren’s sly smiles at a little teasing witticism are irresistible.

Mirren pulls off a tour-de-force  (she won an Olivier Award for Best Actress for the role in England, and an

Think being a princess is fun? Think again.

Academy Award for the role in “The Queen”).   

The play is adapted from the movie “The Queen,” also written by Morgan– but it’s somehow more powerful as a play. Having the sets described rather than shown, by the Queen’s Equerry (Geoffrey Beevers) forces us to enter into this world. It’s a world with more at stake in the end than what seems to American eyes an obsolete symbol. Monarchy by the end of the play is shown to be something more, something that embodies a national spirit, when governments come and go. Stephen Daldry’s direction is clear, forceful, and fun. He brings us into the world of the play at once by having the Equerry explain its conceit. Two Beefeaters stay onstage during intermission. It’s tempting, just as it is at Buckingham Palace, to try to make them laugh.


Urbane Legends – Review of the Documentary “Advanced Style”

How it’s New York: because Simon Doonan lives here,

l. to r.: Dell Cohen, Rapoport, Murdock, Carpati, Salomon, Royce-Smithkin, Plioplyte, Ari Seth Cohen, and Doonan

the movie had a NYC premiere, the women live here…
but I’m getting ahead of myself.
How it’s Irish: because Doonan is a son of Reading, Berkshire, England, with Belfast, Ireland relations.

I was physically threatened on the subway over the holidays by a young woman in her 20s or 30s. She began with a particularly disgusting diatribe, and capped the performance off by calling me an “old, ugly b*tch.” Then she offered to do me bodily harm “if only I wasn’t so old.”

Considering I am solidly middle-aged, a New Yorker, and literally a black belt in kung fu – and had just been admired for my sexy elegance at a party – her attempts to shock and intimidate just made me laugh. And I know she’d been “playing to the audience” on the train, but I must have scored some points by laughing because she got very upset and looked ready to cry. All this because she shoved herself ahead of me in line, and I had the temerity to call her on it.

Why do some people view boomers (people born within the 30 or so years after World War II) as stupid, unattractive, unwanted, unnecessary, and unloved? Now don’t tell me that this only happens among ignorant, callous people. This practice is unfortunately widespread: at eldercare facilities, government offices, in fashion, etc. And it’s a lot sneakier than that loud-mouthed idiot on the train: ageism is very much alive in business, too, despite some very strict laws. Such weird prejudice makes people over 50 (Yes, I did say 50! Did you flinch…?)

Yes, I did say 50! Did you flinch…?

the perfect targets for any predator who feels compelled to emotionally – or physically – beat them up if the perp’s own ego is flagging or s/he needs to get ahead.

05_ADVANCED STYLE_Photo Credit to Ari Seth Cohen

Tziporah Salamon


What is one antidote to this pandemic? Thankfully, the type of people featured in an amazing blog. Advanced Style  that became a movie, and then a book and tour. These people really live well with enviable courage and gusto. What young daredevils are these? Ha!

What young daredevils are these? Ha!

I refer to Advanced Style, a work of love, respect, and sociology by Ari Seth Cohen, about women and men over 50 who live life on their own terms. Inspired by his revered grandmother and her friends in his San Diego neighborhood, Cohen developed his own unique personal style. He came to NYC in 2008, and was thrilled and captivated by the mature women he saw. He began approaching them and asking to take their photographs – no mean feat of persuasion and courage on both sides in this City. But his sincerity and charm won them over. Cohen photographed scores of active, vital women and men ages 50+ and then, with Lina Plioplyte (a filmmaker he met in a coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn), developed a blog appropriately named Advanced Style. That blog still runs: Cohen and Plioplyte snagged an interview and photo op with Carol Channing for a recent entry.


Simon Says – An Informal Interview with an Informal Media Personality

How it’s New York: because Simon Doonan lives in NYC. simon doonan

How it’s Irish: because Doonan is a son of Reading, Berkshire, England, with Belfast, Ireland relations.

Simon Doonan – writer (Slate; Confessions of a Window Dresser; Wacky Chicks; Beautiful People; Eccentric Glamour; Gay Men Don’t Get Fat; and Fashion Asylum), bon-vivant, media personality, fashion commentator, window dresser extraordinaire, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York – interrupted his fabulous travels to chat with me.

Suze: What do you wish to do with your designs/creations/critiques? To instruct, to inspire, to shame-into-submission, to tell the truth?

I prefer to celebrate people’s idiosyncrasies and encourage them to be wacky and uninhibited.

SD: My goal is always to liberate people so that they feel confident to express themselves. I never make critical or disdainful remarks. I prefer to celebrate people’s idiosyncrasies and encourage them to be wacky and uninhibited.  [See also Doonan’s yawn over Kim Kardashian’s caboose in “Shocked? Shocked!” Slate – suze]

Suze: Has your Celtic/British background contributed to your personality or outlook?
SD: I think growing up in the UK made me rebellious. I reject conventional ideas. I appreciate designers like Vivienne Westwood and Rei Kawakubo .

Suze: What or who inspired/inspires your personal fashion and style?
SD: I am inspired by people who have their own style and defy convention: Tilda, Gaga, Daphne Guinness, Elvis, Cher…you know who I’m talking about. (more…)

Sting’s new musical “The Last Ship” sails on a tide of traditional tunes

How it’s New York: “The Last Ship” is playing on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre,
How it’s Irish: The themes in the music draw on the English, Scottish and Irish Traditions
©Matthew Murphy

©Matthew Murphy

When I first heard some of the music from “The Last Ship” a few years ago when Sting did a series of concerts at the Public Theater, I was intrigued to see how he was going to translate these to the stage.  Going to see the show earlier this fall, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the familiar strains of traditional waltzes, jigs, and reels rising and falling alonside the poppier tunes that pepper this rich and emotional piece.

I got the chance to sit down this week and talk with Lisa Gutkin, who plays fiddle in the orchestra along with other traditional scene staples Christopher Layer on flute, whistles and pipes and Mick McAuley (most notably a longtime member of the trad supergroup Solas) on accordion.  They join Paul Woodiel, a veteran Broadway violinist, with a solid traditional pedigree.  All of them were handpicked by Sting and orchestrator Rob Mathes to bring the true flavor of the musical tradition to the show.

Talking with Lisa about her experience coming into the show when it moved to Broadway, she is truly enjoying the experience and collaboration between all the musicians and Sting.   (more…)

More Grist To The Mill – The Trip to Birmingham TradFest

How it’s New York: Kevin Crawford is headlining with Long Acre, his first band, at the Trip to Birmingham Noreen Cullen - falling?TradFest. Kevin must be an honorary New Yorker by now, no?
How it’s Irish: Diddley. One of a series on the traditional Irish music scene in Birmingham

The Trip to Birmingham TradFest is a brand new festival happening the last weekend in November – I was asked to an article for the program showcasing the Anne and Pat Molloy Summer School. I include below:

What is inspiration? It is tough to pin down – hard to bottle and label.

The best kind is not usually loud and noisy, but works on you stealthily and silently so you are not always aware of it. 2014 marked three years since Pat Molloy’s death but his inspiration to the Birmingham Irish music community grows stronger every year.

In a fiddle class this July at the 3rd Annual Anne and Pat Molloy Summer School Noreen Cullen recalled a particular occasion when Pat had inspired her. Pat had entered a fiddle competition in his later years. He might be expected to play it safe. Not a bit of it! He decided to play Carolan’s Concerto. This is a tune written by harper Turloch O’Carolan in the eighteenth century, inspired by the Italian baroque music of the time. It is a tricky tune, beloved of classical crossover musicians, but that is not the reason most traditional players avoid it; it is because it is difficult to “make your own”. As Noreen explained, not only did Pat make it his own, but he stood proud, two feet square on the ground, and laced into it, swinging and variating – playing “in the pocket” as the jazz boys say, but still on the high wire. The message was clear, not least because Noreen also spelt it out –

“don’t be afraid of falling on your arse”. (more…)

My first Irish and Celtic trad

How it’s New York: This list was sparked by a discussion in Catskills Irish Arts Week.imwildandbeautiful
How it’s Irish: It focuses on Irish(and Scottish, and English) traditional music.

In the Catskills last week, Paul De Grae and Marta Cook led a discussion about Irish music and authenticity. (The discussion had some other name but this is what it became). Why do people make albums? Should they?  James Keane was eloquent in his feelings about how “traditional” is sometimes applied to things that aren’t, such as Riverdance. Michael Tubridy was a little more forgiving, pointing out that the show was about dance, and that Japanese people came to a Miltown Malbey Willie Clancy week to learn the tradition after having been exposed to it. This was an in-the-round discussion, with voices from students as well as from teachers. Jane Kelton said that as a woman with a Scottish name, she sometimes had faced skepticism when she was learning …

This is all by way of introduction to say that in my turn I said with a laugh that I was Jewish. Willie Clancy, a fellow Jerseyan whom Keane had praised, still came from an Irish family and had been exposed to the music. But I, a little Jewish girl from New Jersey, would never have heard it at all had my brother Stephen Orel not come home from Cornell one summer with a stack of albums. Up to then, the only Irish music I’d ever heard had been the jingle on the Lucky Charms commercial, some operatic tenor stuff they played on TV on St. Patrick’s Day, maybe the score to “The Quiet Man.” Oh, and that character Finnegan who beat up Kirk in “Shore Leave” on Star Trek, they played a jig (Irish Washerwoman?) under that.

Nothing, in short.

These albums changed.



If I’d heard them five years earlier, I’d have been ditching youth symphony for a fiddle class somewhere. I’d have pestered my parents until they found me someone to work with (I’m studying with Brian Conway now, because, better late than never! And along the way have had classes with James Malcolm, Caitlin Warbelow at Irish Arts Center, and Amy Beshara).

I’d have been at fleadhs. Just the right amount of competition for me (not the ulcer-inducing challenges at Interlochen though).

So I said, G-d bless albums. And I listed what the albums were.

Here they are. At Stanford a few years later I shoved them into my backpack to host my radio show, “Wild and Beautiful” because  KZSU did not own them. I rushed out and bought a lot more, marking the second wave of albums, but that’s for another post.

Here they are. What are the ones you heard first? Do you remember? Was it always in your life? Was there a special tune?

planxtyblack1. Planxty Black.

“Sweet Thames Flow Softly” was one of the most beautiful love songs I’d ever heard. That it was original and connected to “Romeo and Juliet” only made it better.

2. Planxty, “After the Break.”

I loved “The Good Ship Kangaroo” and also a jig set, “East of Glendart/Brian O’Lynn/Pay the Reckoning.” When it goes from the tension of Brian O’Lynn into Pay the Reckoning you just have to smile!


3. Silly Wizard, “Wild and Beautiful.”

This setting of “If I Was a Blackbird” is haunting and unforgettable. (more…)

Trad in Birmingham Comes Full Circle

How it’s New York: Tom Dunne and myself are the New York pilgrims – we wouldn’t miss this for the world.
How it’s Irish: It is part of an ongoing tale of the birth and growth of a Irish Traditional Music Summer School in Birmingham, England.

Something beautiful has sprung to life in Birmingham these last two summers, and it’s happening again the last weekend in July.

It is first of all music, yet is also traditional and it is Irish” to paraphrase the carefully inclusive words of Pat Molloy, the man who has inspired this happening. It is no secret that it is also fun and a chance to let it all hang out. What I am talking about is Irish Traditional Music (ITM or “Trad” for short) and the Anne and Pat Molloy Summer School is where you can get your first lesson, a refresher course or just a plain old session fix – whatever you like. All are welcome.

“Long Acre” by Catharine Kingcome.  Ivan Milititch, Bernadette Davis, Kevin Crawford, Mick Conneely, Brendan Boyle and Joe Molloy in the Big Bull’s Head, Digbeth, Birmingham in 1998

“Long Acre” by Catharine Kingcome. Ivan Milititch, Bernadette Davis, Kevin Crawford, Mick Conneely, Brendan Boyle and Joe Molloy in the Big Bull’s Head, Digbeth, Birmingham in 1998

The story for me, like many, starts much earlier – in the 1980s in fact. It is no exaggeration to say that Birmingham was then THE place for the music. I’m talking THE place, worldwide. The full history of that time is waiting to be written but let me give you some insights. The scene was very different then. I called it the Irish music “underworld”, where creative anarchy ruled with a flagrant disregard for the licensing laws (with the sessions typically starting at “closing time”). There was also an urge to pack as many people into as small and as smoky space as possible, as if in some perverse Guinness Records attempt. Going home before complete physical exhaustion was forbidden under almost any circumstances (Karen Tweed recalls her bus ticket being eaten when she tried to make a break for it after an entire weekend of playing). If in this underworld Joe Molloy was the captain of the young exuberant “crew”, his father Pat was the benign Don in the corner, playing sweet fiddle and smiling at the craic.

“Meets” seemed to require a code I could never quite crack – I remember phoning Pat at 9:30 one evening hoping for some information and him saying “well I’d say there’d be a session tonight but I wouldn’t like to say where. It’s a bit early for the boys. Can you call back in half an hour?” He might throw in a whistle (also part of the ritual?)

The sessions were one thing, but there was a whole other world which was the teaching. Anne and Pat’s house in Hendon Road, Sparkhill, was the academy, spiritual center and sometime flop-house where fiddle lessons, words of encouragement, soda-bread and eccentric curries were served in equal measure.

7 Hendon Road

7 Hendon Road









These two complimentary activities of lessons and sessions have provided the winning formula for the first two years of the summer school. There are expert teachers on pretty much every instrument (tin whistle / flute/ button accordion/ melodeon/ piano accordion/ banjo/ mandolin/ bodhran/ bones/ anglo-concertina/ guitar&piano accompaniment/ ballad singing/ sean-nos dancing and of course the fiddle), and classes are designed so that no one is left out – from complete beginners who have never touched an instrument through to advanced.

Master Class - Noreen Cullen and Tom Dunne

Master Class – Noreen Cullen and Tom Dunne


A lot of summer schools may of course have a similar format but there is something unique about the Anne and Pat Molloy Summer School which is hard to put your finger on. Part of it is the very definite Birmingham flavor, but to me it is really the love and affection that all the musicians had for Anne and Pat that you can feel. One manifestation of this is the Sunday group performance afternoon where we gather to cheer on the class arrangements from the simple to the (intentionally) humorous to the extravagant -check out Noreen Cullen’s grand opus last year on Facebook.




London Lasses with Chris O'MalleyMusicians who travelled to Birmingham for those famous sessions of the 80’s and 90’s are becoming enthusiastically involved in this year’s development, the Saturday night concert. This is to be headlined by the world-acclaimed London Lasses & Chris O’Malley, supported by DisKan (who happen to include Ivan Miletitch, the consumer of the afore-mentioned bus ticket), who are reforming for the event





It all happens on 26th & 27th July 2014 at South & City College, Digbeth, starting at 10am Saturday. It costs next to nothing – of £15 for the weekend of workshops and a small charge for the concert. For more info and to sign up check out or search for “Pat Molloy Summer School 2014” on Facebook.

I feel a bit uncomfortable giving away so much information (it could be bad luck) so let me tease you with not too much about the sessions. They will be in some of those great old Victorian pubs in the Irish district. One of them will have a small, no longer smoky, back room. They will definitely happen Friday night through Sunday night but I would lay money on Thursday and Monday as well. If all else fails, look for Facebook events with a Start Time: of “now it would be hard to say” and an End Time: of “while you still have your ticket home”.

A Chinese Richard III comes to New York

How it’s New York: New York is a multicultural mecca. Shakespeare lends himself to global investigation, and no surprise that we get to see beijinggoldan exciting Chinese Richard III here.
How it’s (Irish) English: William Shakespeare was an English playwright, and of course his plays have been popular in Ireland for many years. Frank McCourt recalls learning to love Shakespeare in “Angela’s Ashes.”

We conducted this interview with director Wang Xiaoying, the director of the National Theatre, who brings his “Richard III” to the NYU Skirball Center from Wednesday, March 26, through Sunday, March 29, through an interpreter. We’ll be seeing it on Thursday, and are very much looking forward to it! The production is part of fthe second annual Visions + Voices Global Performance Series which focuses this spring on China.

From the press release:

The production is presented as part of the second annual Visions + Voices Global Performance Series which focuses this spring on China. This production of Shakespeare’s wicked horror-show of power and paranoia, was an audience favorite and critical hit during London’s Globe to Globe Shakespeare festival and Cultural Olympiad in 2012. Performed in Putonghua, or Mandarin, with English supertitles, the plays fundamental themes of desire, power, ambition and jealousy, are potent reminders of humanity’s ongoing struggles. National Theatre of China stages work in three different performance spaces in Beijing and works with the finest playwrights and directors in China. Their trailblazing productions reveal the new face of 21st century Chinese theatre. The Visions + Voices Global Performance Series is an annual performing arts series held at the NYU Skirball Center that creates a unique opportunity to celebrate and closely examine a singular world culture through a wide ranging artistic lens.