MUSIC MAD is …

…….a celebration of traditional Irish culture,       

…….a showcasing of Chicago’s leading Irish musicians, actors, and storytellers,

…….a drama recounting the story of how Chicago’s top cop rescued the music of Ireland.

Many people do not now know that a Chicago policeman may very well have rescued traditional Irish music from being lost to the ages. Who was this guy? His name is Francis O’Neill and he is a folk hero among practitioners of traditional Irish music.

O’Neill left his home in Bantry Bay at the tender age of 16 to see where the tides of life would carry him. In 4 years, he circumnavigated the globe, worked his way across the United States, settled in Chicago, joined the police force and served as Chicago’s Chief of Police from 1901-1905.  Throughout his travels, the music of Ireland was his constant companion.

During O’Neill’s 32 years on the police force, he heard a lot of Irish music being played by the city’s huge population of Irish immigrants. At some point, the crazy idea took hold of him that he better write this music down before it is forgotten. The resulting publication, O’Neill’s Music of Ireland, is now considered the leading resource on the topic.

MUSIC MAD entertainingly and reverently relates O’Neill’s wonderful story. Formatted as a historical interview, O’Neill is given voice as he recounts for us the stories of his life as derived from his actual writings. The show is infused with traditional Irish music, and punctuated by dramatic interludes performed by some of Chicago’s most talented Irish actors and musicians.

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