"If It Wasn't for the Irish and the Jews: Exploring Irish and Jewish Historical Musical Links and Influences on Musical Theatre, Vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley America"
In recent years Mick Moloney has been actively involved in documenting Irish American music from 1880 to 1920, a time when vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley flourished with the fertile contributions of Irish and Jewish songwriters, theatrical producers, and music publishers. Taking its title and inspiration from a catchy song composed in 1912 by William Jerome (real name: William Flannery) and Jean Schwartz, “If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews” is an engrossing, entertaining, and insightful examination of this cross-pollination in a bygone era of U.S. cultural history. Former Broadway luminaries such as George M. Cohan (Irish ancestral surname: Keohane), Eddie Foy (real name: Edwin Fitzgerald), Norah Bayes (born Norah Goldberg), Tony Hart, Ed Harrigan, and Ada Jones populate Dr. Moloney’s richly illustrated talk on the nimble wit, socioeconomic observation, exuberant rhythms, melodic charm, and sentimental appeal pulsing through this under-appreciated chapter of American musical history. With a rich trove of visual illustrations and archival film footage, Moloney extends the musical discussion to the social backdrop of Irish-Jewish relationships in American film, theater, Tammany politics and organized crime in the prohibition era.