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IF IT WASN'T FOR THE IRISH AND THE JEWS Plays Symphony Space 10/24


The Irish Arts Center, in association with American Irish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, Consulate General of Ireland, Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and NYU Glucksman Ireland House, presents If It Wasn't for the Irish and the Jews: A Tribute to the Irish and Jewish Influences on Vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley featuring Mick Moloney, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, String Quartet featuring Dana Lyn and special guests. The concert takes place Saturday, October 24 at 8pm, at the 760-seat theatre at Peter Norton Symphony Space (2537 Broadway at 95th Street). Tickets are $45 for Tier 1 seating and $35 for Tier 2 seating ($35 and $30 for IAC and Symphony Space members). Students with valid ID pay $25 for Tier 2 only. Tickets are available through Symphony Space at 212-864-5400 or

This all-star concert event celebrating the historic link between Irish and Jewish people and their contributions to an important chapter in American musical history is directed and hosted by folklorist and musician Dr. Mick Moloney, featuring Moloney, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, String Quartet featuring Dana Lyn, Kerith Spencer-Shapiro, John Roberts, Liz Hanley, Billy McComiskey, Susan McKeown, Gabriel Donoghue, Niall O'Leary, Jerry O'Sullivan, The Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra and Special Guests. The concert coincides with the launch of Mick Moloney's new album If It Wasn't for the Irish and the Jews, out on Compass Records.

New York City's Tin Pan Alley is known for the music of Berlin, Joplin, Waller, Cohan and others. What is not as commonly known is that Irish favorites such as "Sweet Rosie O'Grady," "My Wild Irish Rose," and "'Twas Only an Irishman's Dream" also emerged from this vibrant musical tradition. In 1912, famous songwriting duo William Jerome and Jean Schwartz composed "If It Wasn't for the Irish and the Jews," a catchy song that celebrated Irish-Jewish collaboration in many aspects of American social, political, and cultural life. What is virtually unknown, however, is that the creation of the song itself involved an Irish-Jewish collaboration. William Jerome was actually the son of Patrick Flannery, a famine immigrant from County Mayo, who changed his name when he saw trends in the song-writing business shifting from Irish to Jewish culture.
In this era, such ethnic fluidity was common-the famous Norah Bayes, who was known for her performance of "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?" was born Norah Goldberg while the noted "Jewish" star of the New York stage, Eddie Foy, was actually Edwin Fitzgerald! Irish-Jewish collaboration represents a charming and unexplored story of good-natured ethnic flux, competition, and cooperation that left a lasting imprint on American popular music.

Dr. Mick Moloney, originally from County Limerick, Ireland, is a legendary tenor banjo player, singer and a Professor of Music and Irish Studies at New York University. He is a recipient of the National Heritage Award and the producer and performer in a multitude of recordings and documentary films, author of Far from the Shamrock Shore: The Story of Irish American History Through Song.

This performance was made possible in part through generous support from Georganne Aldrich Heller, the Henry Rosenberg Foundation and Culture Ireland, a government agency dedicated to promoting Irish Arts worldwide.

IRISH ARTS CENTER is one of New York's most beloved multidisciplinary cultural institutions, celebrating the best of the evolving arts and culture of Ireland and Irish America since 1972. Recent highlights include acclaimed live music engagements such as Masters in Collaboration featuring legendary Irish singer-songwriter Paul Brady and Nashville sensation Sarah Siskind; Kilterclash, a world music combo featuring Japanese-Irish-American violinist Maria Millar; Absolutely Irish, a live concert documentary featuring top traditional musicians filmed at the Donaghy Theatre by Oscar-winner Paul Wagner, broadcast on public television across the country; and An Irish Christmas, our annual solstice celebration; theatrical premieres including Ladies and Gents, the live noir thriller by Paul Walker performed in the public toilets in Central Park; Rock Doves, a new play by Marie Jones; dance presentations featuring Darrah Carr, Niall O'Leary, and Donnie Golden; extraordinary literary evenings with such authors as Peter Quinn, Pete Hamill, Dan Cassidy, Joseph O'Neill, Dan Barry, Maureen Dezell, and Michael Patrick MacDonald; a monthly film series; and Sundays at Seven, an evening of comedy produced and hosted by Fiona Walsh and Ann Design. IAC also commissions, develops, and tours stimulating exhibitions that tell the evolving Irish and Irish American story, including Fighting Irishmen: A Celebration of the Celtic Warrior, which traces the history of Irish immigration through the sport of boxing, currently showing at the National Museums of Northern Ireland in Omagh, and To Love Two Countries: Ireland's Greatest Generation in America, a photographic exhibition by John Minihan featuring portraits of those Irish who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Also a home for contemporary visual artists, the Center has presented exhibits by John Kingerlee, Robert Ballagh, Michelle Rogers, John Spinks, and, currently, Enda O'Donoghue. IAC's dynamic and diverse education programs include twenty-seven classes per week in Irish music, dance, language and history, sharing the rich culture of Ireland with New Yorkers of all ages and ethnicities, preserving it for generations to come.

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