When it comes to a man like Gay Byrne, where does one begin? From television to radio, and more recently theatre, the Irish broadcasting legend continues to delight, mesmerise and entertain.
On Wednesday May 16 the Backstage Theatre, Longford, will play host to the one and only Gay Byrne. For one night only, Ireland’s most loved presenter of radio and television will deliver a unique and highly entertaining one-man show.
The event, which is titled ‘Gay Byrne Live On Stage’, takes the audience through a myriad of experiences as recalled by the veteran broadcaster.
“It’s really Gay Byrne talking about experiences on The Late Late Show and radio down through the years,” said the Dublin native speaking to the Leader.
He added: “People don’t quite know what to expect. When you go to a Christy Moore show, you know what you’re going to get. But with Gay Byrne...”
‘Gay Byrne Live On Stage’ first opened in September 2011 at the Gate Theatre in aid of the Irish Cancer Society. Such was its success that the show is now travelling further afield and in doing so has garnered wide acclaim as “superb, exhilarating, ingenious, a thoroughly enjoyable evening.” (The Irish Times, December 2011).
Speaking about his retirement, the busy veteran admits to having many roles both within and outside of broadcasting, for example chairman of the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
“I always said when I came out of the shows (The Late Late Show and The Gay Byrne Show) that I didn’t want to be on a seven-day-a-week show,” said Mr Byrne. “I will always continue to do it (work) as long as I am able, I enjoy it and I am asked.”
And asked he is. From television programmes such as ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ to radio shows such as ‘Sunday Serenade’ on RTE’s Lyric FM, the Irish Film and Television Awards Lifetime Achiever Award recipient continues to take on new challenges. Among them, ‘Gay Byrne Live On Stage’.
So what can one expect from his Backstage Theatre performance on May 16?
“If you liked me on The Late Late Show, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise,” said the first host of The Late Late Show, the world’s longest running chat show.
He added: “My audience are those people who have known me down through the years.”
The Late Late Show was first broadcast on July 5 1962. The show, guided by the captivating personality of its host, grew in popularity to become a forum for controversial topics such as the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, homosexuality and abortion.
From the interview with Annie Murphy to the legendary jumpers worn on the annual Late Late Toy Show, Gay Byrne indisputably captured the hearts and minds of the Irish nation. Guests came from all walks of life and upon each the exuberant host left his indelible mark.
‘Gay Byrne Live On Stage’ is a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with one of Ireland’s most influential people.
Married to Kathleen Watkins since 1964, Gay is father to two daughters, Suzy and Crona. He is also a grandfather to Suzy’s son.
“Kathleen might very well come on in the middle of the show and read some well known poems. These would be poems that people haven’t heard in many many years – poems that people remember from their school days,” said Mr Byrne.
Produced by John Colgan, ‘Gay Byrne Live On Stage’ will be at the Backstage Theatre on Wednesday May 16 at 8pm. Tickets cost €20 / €18. To book click on www.backstage.ie or telephone 043-3347888.