Last night, for the third year, I was transported to the Dublin home of the Morkan sisters for the Irish Repertory Theatre’s production of James Joyce’s “The Dead.” The show, directed by Ciaran O’Reilly, is performed in the most perfect setting, The American Irish Historical Society’s beaux arts building, located on Fifth Avenue across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A number of my friends appear in the show, among them the fabulous Peter Cormican as the loquacious and at times, riotous Mr. Brown, and the brilliant Aedin Moloney as the staunch Irish nationalist Molly Ivors.
The show, which stars Rufus Collins as Gabriel Conroy and Melissa Gilbert as Greta Conroy, is a feast for the eyes, as well as the palate, since the ticket-holders get to share dinner at the Morkan sisters’ residence.
The show is a marvelous holiday experience, which deserves to become a holiday tradition. I look forward to being invited back to the Morkan’s again and again.
Rufus Collins as Gabriel Conroy
Peter Cormican as Mr. Browne, Ciarán Byrne as Freddy Malins, Terry Donnelly as Mrs. Malins, and Melissa Gilbert as Gretta Conroy
Last night’s book launch of Colin Broderick’s “The Writing Irish of New York” was quite a success. The evening’s highlight’s…Malachy McCourt’s humor, Maura Mulligan and Honor Molloy’s readings… and Peter Quinn’s history lesson and conversation with Colin. The Ryan brothers and the Campions supplied the music and Pauline Turley and Rachael Gilkey of the Irish Arts Center hosted this wonderful event.
I’m proud to have contributed to this outstanding compilation of essays.
A few months ago a friend of mine asked, “If you could live or retire anywhere in the world where would it be?” My response was immediate…I spread my arms and said, “I”m there.”
I know New York City is not for everyone, but for me, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Last night’s event– my friend Serena Jost’s performance at Pangea on the Lower East Side–served to confirm what I already know. This is home.
I walked into Pangea and noticed a few friends, including Marty Plevel, a great patron of the arts and Theresa Sareo, an enormously talented singer/songwriter, sitting at a table. I joined them for some chat and good times and then we settled into Serena’s performance.
Thursday night I’ll be at the Irish Arts Center for the book launch of “The Writing Irish of New York” and Saturday evening I’ll be at the American Irish Historical society for a live production of James Joyce’s “The Dead.”
I am a very fortunate man.
I keep track of upcoming events at New York City’s museums and it was with great excitement that I noticed that the Museum of the City of New York has an upcoming exhibit titled “In the Dugout with Jackie Robinson.“
I spent a great deal of time in my youth studying the history of baseball…way more than my parents would have wished for me. I particularly enjoyed the history of New York City’s teams and players. Jackie Robinson was one of those players:
I was a little boy when my father took me to Ebbets Field…the Brooklyn Dodgers versus the Cincinnati Reds. I loved it all: The sights…Duke, Campy, Pee Wee and Jackie in their royal blue caps with the letter B on the front….the smells….cigars, beer, popcorn…and the sounds…”cold beer, getcha cold beer”…the crack of a bat.
“Gee, the Dodgers can’t get this new kid out, Charles, what’s his name?” my father said. As if he didn’t know.
“Frank Robinson, Dad,” I said, pounding Dad’s old glove that he let me wear to the game. “Yeah, he’s great.”
But it was another Robinson we came to see…Jackie. But as good as Jackie was, on that day Jackie didn’t win the game for the Dodgers. In fact, he didn’t even finish the game. In the eighth inning, Jackie hit a ground ball down the third base line that was ruled a fair ball—Jackie thought it was foul and hadn’t run to first—he argued the call and the umpire tossed him from the game. An inning later the game ended. The Dodgers lost two to one.
Dad put his arm around my shoulder and we walked out of the ballpark onto McKeever Place and began the drive through Brooklyn to our Queens home. I was sitting in the front seat of Dad’s Chevy, pounding his glove, thinking about the game as we pulled up to a light on Eastern Parkway. And then, “Hurry…Son…look who’s next to us.”
Is that Jackie Robinson? Are you kidding me?
“Say something, Charles.”
What does a seven-year old say to a legend? ”Hi, Jackie.”
Jackie smiled and responded with something like, “Hello, young man.”
But my father, seeing the bedazzled look on my face, flashed a smile at Jackie and came to my rescue with some brilliant repartee. “Hey, Jackie, the umpire’s call was horseshit.”
My father always had a way with words.
We all laughed, the light turned green and we drove on.
There was something about baseball and my father…no matter how contentious our relationship might become, baseball always provided a middle ground. Dad and I could lose ourselves in the joys of the game, its nuances and intricacies, and subsequently, the pleasure of each other’s company.
I think of my father on warm summer evenings…walking by a ballfield…hearing the crack of a bat…the memories coaxed by twilight’s lengthening shadows.
I’m looking forward to the Jackie Robinson exhibit, which opens January 31, 2019.
Over the past thirty months, the David Raleigh Quartet, including Tony Carfora/sax, Daniel Glass/drums and Danny Weller/bass or Evan Gregor/bass and I have taken our audience on a journey…a musical journey, incorporating story and song. The show features the stories and songs of the artists and composers who for the past one-hundred years have paid homage to city they call home. Many of their songs were popularized in New York’s venues like the Village Vanguard where Miles, Mingus and Monk performed and venues that are long gone, such as Cafe Society where Billy Holiday debuted “Strange Fruit.” And then there are the stories and songs that I associate with New York through ancestral, familial and personal recollections.
We are now working on an all new Jazz in the City, which will feature great jazz standards, some well-known, others equally great but not as popular. Once again, we’ll be blending the music with New York themed stories.
Certain songs jump out at me for personal reasons and are contenders for inclusion in the new show. One of them is “You’ve Changed” a 1941 tune written by Bill Carey and Carl Fischer. Click here to hear what I consider the quintessential recording of this tune: Eva Cassidy “You’ve Changed”
More details to come in the following weeks.
You are invited to a festive holiday event,
The event, a fundraiser for Renata Hinrichs’ one-woman show, “Random Acts,” which will celebrate women’s stories, is being presented by Charles Hale Productions and Magic Window Productions, will take place on Sunday, Dec 16, from 3-5 pm, at the Cell Theater323 West 23rd St, New York, NY 10038
Performances by: Angela Dohrmann (Moth GrandSLam winner), Barbara J Spence, Hope Singsen
Musical guests: Nicole Zuraitis, Theresa Sareo, David Goldman and Niamh Hyland
And featuring: Renata Hinrichs presenting a section of Random Acts
Join us for an afternoon of music, refreshments, stories, raffles and more….. Suggested Donation: $25. RSVP by Dec 13th firstname.lastname@example.org
Renata is closing the gap on her fundraising efforts for the upcoming production of Random Acts at the TBG MainStage Theatre on West 36th St, Feb 14 – Mar 2, 2019 but she needs your support to reach her final goal. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated. If you are unable to attend the event and want to contribute here is the link below:
You can donate by credit card online…click here.
If you prefer, you can also donate by check. Please send contributions to, Renata Hinrichs, 4 West 101 St Apt 22 New York, NY 10025. Checks should be made payable to Fractured Atlas, with RANDOM ACTS in the memo line.
Random Acts is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non‐profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Random Acts must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” and are tax‐deductible to the extent permitted by law.
I’m proud to announce that the book “The Writing Irish of New York”, which includes an essay I wrote, is available for purchase in hardcover. The book, which was conceived and edited by Colin Broderick, is now available at Amazon. You can click here to order now
They’ll be an official book launch at the Irish Arts Center in Manhattan on December 6th.
In the ten years following the Great Famine Irish flooded into New York at an astonishing rate. By 1860 one in every four New Yorkers was Irish, and by the 1920s Irish-American authors like Eugene O’Neill and F. Scott Fitzgerald had transformed the American literary landscape and lay the foundation for a century that would put Irish writing at the forefront of American letters.
This series of essays by and about Irish-American writers traces that heritage from it’s humble origins through the twentieth century. Editor Colin Broderick provides background essays on Brendan Behan’s New York, Maeve Brennan’s heartbreaking decent into madness, Frank McCourt’s rise from school teacher to literary phenomenon, and 23 of today’s top Irish-American authors—including Colum McCann, Peter Quinn, Luanne Rice and Dan Barry—provide personal accounts of how they found their voices in the Big Apple. Taken together, the stories provide a vivid portrait of a community of authors who continue to fight for Ireland’s place at the top of literary canon.
There is a fine green thread that binds them all. These are The Writing Irish of New York.
The Writing Irish of New York includes original essays by:
Peter Quinn, Luanne Rice, Larry Kirwan, Kathleen Donohoe, Daniel James McCabe, Mike Farragher, Malachy McCourt, Don Creedon, Maura Mulligan, Kevin Holohan, Kevin Fortuna, Christopher John Campion, Dennis Driscoll, Billy Collins (poem), Honor Molloy, Colum McCann, John Kearns, Charles R. Hale, Dan Barry, Seamus Scanlon, Brain O’Sullivan, Mary Pat Kelly, and Colin Broderick.
And essays by Colin Broderick on:
Maeve Brennan, Frank McCourt, Eugene O’Neill, Jimmy Breslin, Frank O’Hara, J.P. Donleavy, John F. Kennedy Jr., Brendan Behan and Oscar Wilde.
Charles R. Hale Productions’ events at Colleges and Universities.
Shows that were written and created by Charles R. Hale