Irish Music and Dance at the Strand with McLean Avenue Band & Emerald Fire

Posted on February 23, 2016 By

Direct from Ireland, this interactive show From Galway to Graceland includes magic footwork, raucous fiddle, traditional Irish favorite songs, Celtic fairy tales, and critically acclaimed rock and bluegrass originals. Experience Irish music, song, and dance, featuring Padraign Allen’s McLean Avenue Band and Joanna Barry Connolly’s Irish dance Emerald Fire at the Strand Center for the Arts, 400 Clifton Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on Thursday, March 10, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.

The band’s expansive repertoire bridges the 3,000 miles between Ireland and the U.S.A. with a blend of song and story.prqueen3942 From a toe-tapping medley of traditional Irish jigs and the interactive anthem, Rattlin’ Bog, to a memorable cover of Johnny Cash’s 1961 tune, “Forty Shades of Green,” the production takes the audience on a musical adventure. Other highlights include the exhilarating footwork of dancer/fiddle player, phenomenon Jake James and the band’s excellent rendition of “The Devil Went Down To Yonkers,” an adaptation of a famous Charlie Daniels Band song. The band also performs original material, including “Pedestal,” a captivating duet featuring Allen and folk singer/dancer Alice Ryan.

The Irish Echo said, “The group has mastered the art of blending the old and new, embracing the traditional while adding their own signature sound – a sound that screams fun.”

Allen said, “Being from the Emerald Isle myself, a big part of my life revolves around family and friends,” says Allen. “This is a show that you can enjoy with your entire family, whether you’ve got some Irish ancestry or not.”

For more information, contact Scott MacFadden at or Stephanie Chaiken, S.C. Entertainment (212) 929-0630, Photos Available Upon Request.

Tickets for From Galway to Graceland are $29 Orch/Loge, $24 Mezz/Tier (Plus $5 fee per ticket). Buy tickets at (732) 367-7789 or Video at and .

About Padraig Allen: McLean Avenue Band is led by singer/songwriter Padraig Allen, who was born and raised in an urban village named Mount Temple, outside the town of Athlone, in County Westmeath, Ireland, where the Shannon waters flow. Padraig comes from a long line of successful Irish traditional/country musicians and singers. His uncle Tony Allen from the famous “Foster & Allen” was mainly responsible for kick starting his career, engaging Padraig to tour with the band. In 1993, one of Padraig’s first performances was on a show called “Big Top” on the Irish TV network “RTE.” In 1999, he landed on American shores with the popular Irish Band “The Whole Shabang” as lead singer and bass player. Currently Allen has been touring the U.S. and internationally with McLean Avenue. Their album, Easy & Free received critical praise and radio airplay. A Christmas song Christmas on McLean was played on many radio stations. WFUV regularly reports the band as being one of their favorite bands on the scene. Allen notes, “My love for America and my own country, Ireland, leaves me singing “God Bless America and God Save Ireland.”

About Joanna Barry Connolly: Emerald Fire is led by director/choreographer Joanna Barry Connolly. Dublin born, Joanna began her performing arts training at the age of three. The daughter of a rock singer and a professional dancer, she studied a full range of dance styles, including ballet, jazz, modern and tap; however, it was traditional Irish dance that became her passion at a young age, both as a performer and choreographer. Her long running career as a professional dancer has led her on tour from Ireland to Europe, Japan and the U.S., from The O2 Theatre in Dublin to Carnegie Hall, N.Y.C. and TV appearances on RTE (Ireland), NBC “Today Show,” Fox NY, and PBS. From its debut in Austria in 2001, at Landeck Concert Hall and the Vienna Music Festival to shows at Mohegan Sun and N.Y.C.’s Battery Park, “Emerald Fire” has been treating audiences to their unique ability to introduce jazz, ballet, tap and even hip hop into their dynamic, multi-faceted, diverse and hugely entertaining Irish dance performances.

Padraig and Joanna’s collaborations began with The Whole Shebang. The groups were commissioned to perform together and audiences responded superbly. Given their backgrounds and their mutual desire to bring other ethnic influences to their shows, Padraig and Joanna felt they were a perfect production partnership. McLean Avenue Band and Emerald Fire complement each other in every aspect and proudly represent their Irish heritage with shows that have been selling out theatres throughout the East Coast. “A thoroughly entertaining variety show.”- The Irish Voice

About the Strand Center for the Arts
The historic STRAND THEATER, Ocean County’s premier entertainment venue, is operated by the nonprofit 501(c)(3) Strand Ventures, Inc. THE STRAND opened in 1922 and its landmarked interior shines as brightly today as it did then. Located in historic downtown Lakewood, New Jersey, THE STRAND is easily accessible, has free parking, and offers a wide variety of live entertainment, including concerts, dance, musicals, theater, comic performances, and arts education to all of New Jersey and the surrounding region.