Theatre Across America

John was deeply committed to bringing musical theatre to fans all over the country. In 1960 he began an unbroken record of twenty-five consecutive summers performing mostly in stock venues such as the Cape Cod Melody Tent, South Shore Music Circus in Cohassett, Maine’s Ogunquit Playhouse, the tents in Valley Forge, Shady Grove and Westbury, the Corning Summer Theatre, the Melody Top in Milwaukee, Denver’s Elitch’s Theatre, and many others. Here’s how John spent twenty-five summers between 1960 and 1984:

1960 – Carousel
1961 – Oklahoma! & Carousel
1962 – Carousel
1963 – Carousel
1964 – Oklahoma!
1965 – The Pajama Game & Carousel (in NYC)
1966 – A Joyful Noise
1967 – On a Clear Day You Can See Forever & Carousel
1968 – The Pajama Game & The Music Man
1969 – Camelot & Oklahoma!
1970 – Zorba
1971 – Kismet
1972 – Camelot & 1776
1973 – 1776
1974 – Oklahoma! & Kiss Me, Kate
1975 – Annie Get Your Gun & Kiss Me, Kate
1976 – Shenandoah
1977 – I Do! I Do!
1978 – Man of La Mancha
1979 – Man of La Mancha
1980 – Carousel
1981 – The Pajama Game
1982 – Fanny & South Pacific
1983 – Man of La Mancha
1984 – Kiss Me, Kate

At the end of each performance John invited the audience to stop by the lobby, where it would be his "pleasure and privilege" to greet them and sign autographs. The time he spent with individual fans, no matter how brief, was never forgotten. His respect for audiences in every part of the country gave John a circle of friends that grew with each tour (as well as a wide range of golfing buddies.) His final summer stock show, a celebration of the works of Broadway’s greatest writers titled Yes, There Were Giants, co-starring Kitty Carlisle Hart and Jo Sullivan Loesser, played the New England circuit in 1995.

Summer audiences weren’t the only ones outside of New York to have the opportunity to see John perform. He crossed America in national tours of Zorba, ShenandoahCarousel, Oklahoma!, On A Clear Day, and Seesaw. Regional audiences saw John in productions of Destry Rides Again in Los Angeles and San Francisco, The Most Happy Fella in Pasadena and Sing America Sing, a bicentennial musical, at Washington’s Kennedy Center.  He gave concerts in the nation’s top venues, including Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. For over twenty years John toured with his musical autobiography, which allowed him to reach his goal of performing in every state. At age 80 he made his West End debut giving a benefit concert at London’s Prince of Wales Theatre.