PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Tony Nominee Rory O'Malley Picks His Favorite Irish Pub Songs

By Michael Gioia
March 5, 2014

Rory O'Malley, a Tony nominee for his performance in The Book of Mormon, will debut his autobiographical show, Pub Crawl, March 10 at Joe's Pub. In anticipation of his solo show, O'Malley picks his favorite Irish pub songs as part of this week's Playbill Playlist



Pub Crawl, according to press notes, "is Rory’s hilarious coming of age story that tells the tale of being raised in an Irish pub on the west side of Cleveland by his single mom and all of the bar’s eclectic patrons. Using classic Irish pub songs from The Wolftones, U2, Van Morrison and more, the evening will feature music direction by Tony and Grammy Award winner, Stephen Oremus."

Show time is at 7:30 PM. 

In anticipation of the concert, and in celebration of St. Patrick's Day, O'Malley picks his favorite Irish pub songs and tells us why they made the list. 

O'Malley is best known for starring in the original company of The Book of Mormon on Broadway, earning Tony and Drama Desk nominations for playing openly closeted Mormon Elder McKinley. His Broadway debut was in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and he was recently seen Off-Broadway in Little Miss Sunshine. He is the co-founder of the non-profit organization Broadway Impact, which mobilizes theatre communities across the country and around the world to take action for marriage equality.

Joe's Pub is located at 425 Lafayette Street. For more information and tickets, call (212) 967-7555 or visit JoesPub.com

"Wild Rover" (The Dubliners). This is a classic Irish drinking song about a prodigal son, who promises to settle down — very popular on St. Patrick's Day. However, I doubt it has inspired any Irishman to "play the wild rover no more."

"Where the Streets Have No Name" (U2). I realized what this song was about the first time I went to Dublin and got completely lost. You were right Bono… The streets are very poorly marked.

"Where Everybody Knows Your Name (Theme from 'Cheers')" (Gary Portnoy). I watched "Cheers" every Thursday night as a kid because it reminded me of my favorite place, Paddy's Pub. Except Paddy's had a lot more firemen than psychiatrists and baseball players.

"The Moonshiner" (Folk Song). I sang this Irish Pub song for show and tell in the first grade. It didn't go over very well with Sister Marion.

"Dirty Old Town" (The Pogues). LOVE The Pogues. They sing all the old drinking songs I heard in the pubs with their own punk twist.

"Irish Rover" (Dubliners and The Pogues). A collaboration between two of Celtic music's greatest bands, the classic sound of The Dubliners and the new sound of The Pogues. The song is an epic tale of a ship and its crew. Spoiler Alert: There is drinking, and it does not end well.

"Fields of Athenry" (Paddy Reilly). Without a doubt, Paddy Reilly is one of the most famous Irish folk singers and this classic is the most beautiful of Irish tunes.

"Some Say the Devil is Dead" (The Wolftones). The Wolftones are an Irish rebel band. They play a lot of songs that require the listener to pump his fist in the air. Have at it!

"Jackie Wilson Said" (Van Morrison). There is no singer-songwriter like Van Morrison. He is the most soulful artist to ever come out of Ireland. I dare you to listen to this song and not smile.

"Dreams" (The Cranberries). Just listening to this song instantly transports me into the rolling hills of Ireland. It's a majestic place with beauty unlike that I've experienced in any other land. This song is perfect background music for a trip back to the old sod. When I'm in Ireland, I just listen to it on repeat.