Johnny is back!
Two years ago, my family’s summer stock theatre, Pioneer Playhouse, invited Johnny Crawford to be our guest celebrity for the season. Johnny is an original Mouseketeer and the Emmy nominated co-star of the classic TV show The Rifleman. (One of my fav shows as a kid!) He is also a singer with a smooth-as-silk crooning voice.
This year Johnny is returning to Danville to do a one-night only performance of Big Band/Swing music in conjunction with the Playhouse’s third show of the season, That Madcap Moon. The play is written by my aunt, Jan Henson Dow, an acclaimed playwright. It is our “Kentucky History” play (we do one a year), set in the Henson Hotel on Main Street in Danville during World War II. The main character is my beloved “Grandma Hen” who ran the Henson Hotel for nearly 7 decades and had a lot of amazing stories to tell. The play incorporates memories of local veterans and those who remained behind during the War Years.
Back to Johnny…Although best known as a versatile actor of stage and screen, Johnny Crawford has also had a successful singing career. Signed by Del-Fi Records, Johnny had a string of hit singles in the 1960’s. More recently he was the vocalist in Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks Orchestra, featured on a Garrison Keillor TV Special from Radio City Music Hall and performing at the 1989 George Bush Inaugural Ball. After forming his own Vintage Dance Orchestra, he now provides authentic period music for film, special events and education. A new CD of his music was recently released to great critical acclaim.
Johnny will be at the Playhouse on July 17, 8 pm, for an evening singing and dancing. (Wear your dancing shoes!) But he will also be at the Boyle County Public Library for a one hour event on July 16 at 2 pm. During this show he will sing a few songs and answer questions about music from the War Years era — and maybe sign a few autographs!
I had the privilege of spending time with Johnny the last time he was in town, taking him around to some of his TV interviews, etc, and I have to say he’s just a wonderful person. So charming and yet so accessible, so down to earth. And so knowledgeable about music! I had no idea before hanging out with him that he had such a vast and rich knowledge of songs and music from by-gone eras. Truly a wealth of fascinating info.
Can’t wait to see Johnny again — and write more about his re-visit to Danville here on my blog. Keep checking back.
And check out the Playhouse website: www.pioneerplayhouse.com for more about the season and Johnny’s performance. You can also listen to one of Johnny’s songs!