Nine years ago today, Mark and I were wandering through Times Square -- we'd lucked into seeing the David Letterman show (guests that night were Samuel L. Jackson and Jack Hanna) and we still had plenty of time to catch a Broadway performance. But it was very late in the afternoon -- what were the chances of getting decent tickets to anything? We decided to try for Riverdance on Broadway and headed down to the box office at the Gershwin Theater. As happened with us several times at later dates, we were told there were no tickets available -- except suddenly there were. I'm not sure if the ticket sellers were charmed by our southern accents or felt sorry for the hicks-in-the-big-city but we ended up with 8th row, center stage tickets.
I had heard of Riverdance, had seen parts of it on TV but didn't know much about it other than it was Irish dancing. When the show started, the first thing we heard was the most exquisite male singing voice I'd ever heard. Looking at the program, I learned it was a fellow named Brian Kennedy.
Never heard of him -- but nine years later, I'm still a huge fan.
Turned out Belfast-born Brian was a popular singer back home in Ireland. I jumped on the bandwagon immediately and, today, I own almost every CD (or guest performance on someone else's CD) that he's done.
Because of Riverdance and Brian Kennedy, other things fell into place which probably wouldn't have happened otherwise. I became a fan of another Irishman, Gabriel Byrne -- because I was besotted with all things Irish -- and then we ended up participating in a program called Project Children -- which brings both Protestant and Catholic children from Northern Ireland to the US for a few weeks during the summer. We did this three times -- once with Stacey (from Belfast) and twice with Sarah (from Derry). It was a good experience for my children and, I hope, for those two girls, both of whom we still hear from, from time to time.
Since seeing Riverdance on Broadway, we've seen the original Riverdance and we'll be seeing Lords of the Dance next week. There's nothing like Irish dancing to get my blood pumping -- and, hey, why don't they do that on Dancing with the Stars? You know Cheryl and Gilles could do it and make it hawt...
(For a more in-depth account of seeing Brian in New York, go here. For an account of meeting Gabriel Byrne, go here. I suppose I should also mentioned that the whole reason for the trip to NYC was to see comedian Eddie Izzard. Here's an account of that -- yep, met him, too.)
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When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus