‘Tommy and the Brothers’ – A Toe Tapping Second Coming

By Ernest Kearney — This tribute to Patrick, Tom and Liam Clancy and their musical confederate, for their most productive years Tommy Makem, is long overdue. Known collectively as the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem the influence of this quartet reverberated throughout the musical scene of yesterday and continues to echo today.

Arriving in time for the American folk music revival, during the early 1960’s, the group had tremendous impact on such performers as Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger. And with their popularity they opened the path to every Irish band that followed from Christy Moore to U-2.

As written by Thomas G. MacNamara, who also directs, Tommy & the Brothers is a musical review of the group beginning with the arrival in New York in 1951 of the two older brothers, Paddy (Sean Faye Cullen) and Tom (Danny Oberbeck), where they were soon appearing on and off Broadway while residing in Greenwich Village during its glory days. A few years afterward the youngest of the Clancy brothers, Liam (Dalton Maltz,) and his friend Tommy Makem (Joel Reed Mankey) joined the two older Clancy’s and the rest, as they say, was history.

Toe tapping history at that.

As produced by MacNamara and Ken O’Malley who open the show as the “American Narrator” and “Irish Narrator” respectively, Tommy and the Brothers is a full to the bursting review of the group’s musical chronicle that is guaranteed to warm the “cockles and mussels, alive, alive O” of the hearts of every Clancy fan from horizon to horizon.

It is certainly to the credit of MacNamara and O’Malley, who served double duty as the show’s musical director, that they have managed to find—or perhaps clone for all I know—a quartet of singers who not only can perform up to the band’s measure but also bear striking resemblances to the four.

For those unaware of the music of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem this show will be a revelation, for older fans this show will be a resurrection.

I am aware that O’Malley and MacNamara plan a multi-city tour of this production, and I’ll be willing to bet, that in whichever cities they play, the used record stores in those towns will be seeing a significant depletion of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem vinyl.

A solid, shiny GOLD MEDAL.

Fringe Award-Gold Medal-The TVolution

Tommy and the Brothers

Played During

Hollyywood Fringe Festival 2022


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An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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