On Stage

Maurice_Walsh_Caricature

Illustrator: Denis Reeve

DONNYBROOK

(Broadway, May 18 – Jul. 15 1961): 2 previews; 68 performances

Book by Robert E. McEnroe; Music by  Johnny Burke; Lyrics by Johnny Burke

To our knowledge there has been only one previous musical stage adaptation of a Maurice Walsh novel; that is, prior to this adaptation of Castle Gillian.

On the 8th and 9th August 1960, the New York Times reported that Fred Herbert was to produce a musical based on The Quiet Man, called Donnybrook. Maurice Walsh said in an interview: “The Quiet Man was first published in the Saturday Evening Post and later incorporated into Green Rushes. The scene was in my native Kerry. John Ford, who made the film, transferred the scene to Connemarra and now Mr. Herbert brings it up to Donnybrook. Fair enough!”

According to a December 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, Johnny Burke, the composer-lyricist of the musical, negotiated for Gordon MacRae and Maureen O’Hara to play the lead roles, but was unsuccessful.

Walsh’s sarcasm and exasperation in the musical’s failure was evident given that Donnybrook is both an area in the south side of Dubin which was once the scene of a famous fair and is a word synonymous with the type of punch-up described so vividly in the novel.

With a cast of 38 actors, singers and dancers the financial realities of the production must have been considerable! It was revived as late as 2013 by the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York City.
Donnybrook_OBC

 

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