Irish band Green Road set to kick off first U.S. tour in Danville | News
There are only a few tickets left for an upcoming concert with Green Road, hosted by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, which aims to celebrate Danville’s partnership with the Friendship City of New Ross, Ireland and the often overlooked Irish heritage of the famous playwright to highlight.
Foundation President Dan McGovern said the tour and upcoming show on March 10 – ahead of St. Patrick’s Day – is the product of the relationship the Foundation has long worked to create between Danville and New Ross, O’Neill’s birthplace.
“Eugene O’Neill once wrote … that the only thing most people didn’t know about him was that he was Irish, and that was probably the most important thing about his character,” McGovern said.
Given that O’Neill’s father was among the Irish immigrants who fled to the United States in the wake of the potato famine and gave his son a glimpse into the world of theater upon their arrival here, it should come as no surprise that the connection was strong for the mid-century playwright who eventually made his way to Danville.
“When he was 5 years old the whole family came to the United States and they lived in abject poverty in the United States and Ireland because Edmond, James’ father, was a farmer and they really had no occupation that he could practice in the United States,” McGovern said. “So Edmond, the father, went back to Ireland and the family was in even worse poverty.”
Nonetheless, McGovern said, James O’Neill would go on to become a renowned Shakespearean actor, eventually becoming wealthy from the thousands of shows produced by his own theater company.
With this insight into O’Neill’s roots in mind, McGovern said the aim of the foundation was to highlight and encourage a link between the continued achievement and appreciation of O’Neill’s work at Tao House and his Irish roots.
“We have the festival every year despite being a year dark during the COVID period, and as a result of that culture of partnership, the cities of Danville and New Ross became official Friendship City partners,” McGovern said.
The forthcoming concert is a result of that relationship, McGovern said, with Danville Councilman Newell Arnerich spearheading efforts to bring Green Road to the city, having seen her during a visit to New Ross during the festival last year would have.
“After that concert, he came up to Sean (Reidy) and I and said, ‘We’ve got to get Green Road to Danville,'” McGovern said. “So that was the crux of the idea of doing the band Green Road’s first American tour, and that’s how they’re going to be performing in the Bay Area all weekend.”
Tickets for Green Road’s first show of the tour in Danville are running out, the next day the band travels to San Francisco for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, then to Savannah, Georgia and the East Coast.
The band is joined by Irish opera singer Clodagh Kinsetta, who has made a name for herself as an ambassador of Irish heritage both inside and outside her home country, having toured throughout Europe and previously performed in the United States.
Green Road and Kinsetta perform at the Village Theater at 233 Front St. in Danville on March 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available here.