Monday, September 26, 2011

A Tribute to the Rowdy Irish Musicals of Ned Harrigan & Tony Hart

Here at the Tenement Museum, we talk a lot about the day-to-day difficulties of life in a 19th century tenement. But even the poorest New York City dwellers sought entertainment when they could. Before movies, television, and even radio, theatergoers flocked to see performers like the famed Irish American actor and playwright Ned Harrigan and his partner Tony Hart, who kept their audiences in stitches with their vaudeville routines.

On October 13, the Irish Art Center will present a tribute to Harrigan & Hart at Symphony Space in New York --a rare chance to enjoy the hilarious energy of these early icons of musical comedy.

Tony Hart and Ned Harrigan in "The Little Frauds"

The duo was known for finding humor in the everyday experiences of working class citizens, bringing some much-needed levity to communities struggling to stay afloat in tough circumstances. In "Squatter Sovereignity" a New York City shantytown (home to many Irish immigrants) was the setting for a raucous musical comedy about a broken engagement and the resulting family battle.

Click here to get tickets for the upcoming tribute to Harrigan & Hart featuring Irish musician Mick Moloney and others. We think these songs and stories have weathered the last hundred years quite nicely--and who says a history lesson can't be funny?

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