Shared Memories

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Collected Memories

"John Raitt sang for my father in 1960 in Seattle at the Green Lake Aqua Theatre. He may have been 55 or 60 then but what a voice and he was the real guy. Sat around my father playing piano at my in laws place on a relaxing day and he sang and sang and sang just for the hell of it. Memories.....No microphones or amplification either."

- Michel, Seattle


"I saw what I think may have been his last public appearance singing, at the Smithsonian seminar on Richard Rodgers. His performance was thrilling. He was in great voice and brought so much meaning to the words. He sang "If I Loved You." I'd never seen him live before, but I really felt what made him such a great performer."

- Alan Scott,


"John Raitt will always be important to me. He was the star of the first professional play I ever saw: SHENANDOAH at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine in the summer of 1976. I will always remember the post-curtain call chat he did, reminiscing about his career, especially the anecdote about swallowing the fly as he lay dead as Billy Bigelow in CAROUSEL. After the onstage chat he came to the stage door in full make-up and signed programmes (which I still have). I got to see him four years later- in his 60s!- playing Billy Bigelow again at the Ogunquit Playhouse and he was terrific.

That afternoon in Ogunquit was probably the most important of my life: it lit the flame for me. I fell in love with theatre and eventually went into the business and have been doing it for more than twenty years now. And I have John Raitt to thank."

- Neil Barclay, Shaw Festival Ensemble


"I saw Bonnie bring him out to sing "They Say It's Wonderful" in the early 90s. A fond memory indeed! I also saw him sing Soliloquy in the late 80's at an AIDS benefit. He still sang it quite well at that point, and he had to be close to 70."

-The Other One, Talkin’


"In 1980, I was thinking of writing something on live television, even though I am not really a professional writer. That fall I have a chance to talk to Mary Martin. I brought my record of "Annie Get Your Gun" with Mary and John Raitt. She talked about how doing live television was a lot harder than people may think. John and Mary had to travel long distances to various sound stages & often change clothes during commercials. But, she loved the experience because John Raitt was her favorite co-star. They had done AGYR on the west coast on stage for about a month in preparation for the television show. Given that Martin had co-starred with some of the biggest stars in the business, it was a huge tribute to John to be singled out in that way. 

Two years later Mary was asked to appear in Philadelphia with Peter Nero and The Philadelphia Pops. She gave an interview to a Philadelphia newspaper saying that she was very nervous, and had believed the singing part of her career was over. Mary agreed to appear at the Academy of Music with Nero only if John Raitt would also agree. It was difficult to find him because John was in the process of getting married. On the night, Mary and John sang separately, and then did songs from "Annie Get Your Gun" together. It worked so well that they repeated the ASYG medley at the White House in 1983.

What is important is that Martin followed up her "my favorite co-star" quote by asking John to appear with her in Philadelphia, something she really did not want to do...and then in Washington at the White House. So I have no doubt that her praise of John Raitt was sincere."

- Alan McIntyre


"I did a summer stock tour of 1776 with John many, many years ago...the late 70's, I believe.  I can truly say he was one of the nicest, kindest men I have ever worked with.  He was warm, friendly and so good as John Adams.  I remember that he and I would stand at the back of the theatres (tents) many times and talk about the "good old days." He couldn't have been more gracious or forthcoming.  A complete gentleman."

- Howard Marren