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Published: Wednesday, 12/17/2008

Tony Kenny s Christmas Time In Ireland comes to the Maumee Indoor Theater

BY ROD LOCKWOOD
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It takes a lot of miles and road work to bring Christmas Time In Ireland all the way to Maumee.

Irish entertainer Tony Kenny s holiday celebration of music, dance, and comedy logs endless hours on the road, zig-zagging America in a tour that requires as much stamina for sitting in a van than performing on stage.

Kenny had to take a break from piloting the troupe s 15-passenger van and hand over the driving duties to another performer so he could take a call from a reporter. They were heading from Jonesboro, Ark., after performing the night before in Chicago.

He said each tour starts the same way: with everyone vowing to get plenty of rest and eat well. Then they find themselves driving from northern Illinois all the way to Arkansas.

You really start these things out with the best intentions and then you re on the bus all day and you have to grab something to eat and sometimes you don t get enough sleep and sometimes you sleep too much, he said.

Like most touring acts, being on stage is what matters. Tonight Tony Kenny s Christmas Time In Ireland will be at the Maumee Indoor Theater, and with relatively fresh snow on the ground and the air chilly, the setting will be just right for the kind of warmth delivered up by a family variety show.

That s what we live for, particularly in a town like Toledo where the audience would have a great Irish background and some Irish ancestry and we bring a little bit of home to them, Kenny said.

He has toured the United States since 1984 and has been doing the Christmas show since 1996. It features nine entertainers, including singer Kathy Durkin, the Dublin City Dancers and comedian Joe Cuddy. The show is a mixture of holiday and Irish music, dancing, and story-telling.

Kenny said that the show also explains how Christmas is celebrated in Ireland, which generally heats up after Christmas Eve and goes to Jan. 6, which is known as Little Christmas. Instead of all the hype and parties before Christmas that occur here, the Irish flip it around to focus the celebrations after the big day.

And, yes, the performers will be back home in Ireland for Christmas, Kenny said. The way the seasons are celebrated make it easy for the group to perform several weeks here and then take the show back across the Atlantic to their homeland, he said.

Like many Irish artists, Kenny said U.S. audiences are unique because of their tastes and expectations. That s because there are so many immigrants from Ireland who recognize and appreciate authenticity, he said.

I enjoy bringing it to the American public because the American audiences are very discerning and they know what they re looking for in terms of entertainment; they re a very knowledgeable audience, he said.

There s nothing wrong with that. It keeps you on your toes.

Tony Kenny s Christmas Time In Ireland starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Maumee Indoor Theater, 601 Conant St. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the box office before the show after 6 p.m. with cash or check.

Contact Rod Lockwood at: rlockwood@theblade.com or 419-724-6159.



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