A Message from the Irish Person of the Year Committee
The IPOY committee, is delighted to announce that the 2017 inductee into our Community’s unofficial Hall of Fame is Mr. Colm Wilkinson.
Colm will be honoured at our annual luncheon on Sunday March 5th, 2017 at the Toronto Hilton Hotel. This is a prestigious event in Toronto’s cultural community calendar.
The celebrations commence that morning at 11am with the raising of the Irish Flag over Toronto City Hall. The celebration luncheon in Colm’s honour will follow the flag-raising ceremony.
Colm Wilkinson hails from Drimnagh, Dublin, and was one of ten children born into a home that resonated with singing, poetry, and musical instruments. At the age of 16, he toured the US with a band and soon after left school to become a full-time professional musician. Colm played with several Irish bands and then in 1972 was cast as Judas Iscariot in the Dublin production of Jesus Christ Superstar, a role he went on to reprise in London. He followed up with a successful solo album topping the charts in Ireland and represented Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1978 with the appropriately entitled song, “Born to Sing”.
Colm’s leap into international stardom came when he was cast as Jean Valjean in the original production of Les Miserables which opened in London in October 1985 and moved to Broadway in March 1987, a role for which he has won several prestigious awards.
Colm and his wife Deirdre relocated their family to Toronto in 1989 when he was offered the title role in the original Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera and has lived here ever since. He later played the role of Valjean again in Toronto at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Colm has performed in many notable roles since and in 2016, he performed a cover of the U2 classic “One” in RTE’s iconic production, “Centenary”, marking the 100th anniversary of the historic Easter Rising.
Colm is being honoured for the pride and pleasure that his talents and accomplishments have brought to the Toronto Irish community. Please join us on March 5th as we salute this uniquely talented Irishman.
Cormac Monaghan, Chairperson, Irish Person of the Year Committee