BWW Previews: Tony Award Winner Jay Johnson Will Headline 'Jay Johnson & Friends (Real And Imaginary)' at The Moss Theatre
One Performance Only! This Sunday, November 3, 2019!
Long ago but not far away at all, there were many TV Variety Shows, Award Ceremonies, Music Centers and Theatre abounding with live Musical Performances, all with massive budgets; and dancers in this town, Los Angeles, made a darn good living, albeit having to work their asses off to do so, but it was a good and plentiful, fulfilling life. Besides myself, there was a plethora of working, professional dancers who ended up bonding together pretty easily, as a dancer's life is one of a nomad, or gypsy, going from one job to another, but in doing so, finding kindred spirits and lifelong connections.Jay Johnson, husband of one of these dancers and artistically gifted himself, was part of the artistic community, as was his wife, Sandi, and, typical with dancers, became close friends and comrades with other dancers, choreographers, and like-minded performers.As Jay was earning international fame as a ventriloquist, actor and comedian, and starring on the hit TV Series "Soap," us dancers were slaving away, happy to be able to make a living doing what we loved. Jay is best known for his role on " Soap" as Chuck Campbell, a ventriloquist who believed his puppet Bob was real and demanded everyone treat Bob as human. Jay also starred in "Broken Badges "(1990), a Stephen Cannell CBS television production where he played a psychologically depressed police officer named Stanley Jones, who was also a ventriloquist. He has also appeared as a celebrity guest on many game shows and hosted two series of his own, "So You Think You Got Troubles"(1983) and "Celebrity Charades" (1979).
Jay's television roles also include a guest appearance in an episode of "Mrs. Columbo" where he played a ventriloquist who finds his dummy is acting independently of his will and kills the man who carved it. His post-"Soap" TV career included appearances on "The Love Boat", "Gimme a Break!", "Simon & Simon", "The Facts of Life," "Empty Nest" (reuniting him with his father from "Soap," Richard Mulligan) and "Dave's World." In 1999, he reprised his role of Chuck (and Bob) Campbell in an episode of "That '70s Show." Post-2000 appearances include the 2001 TV Movie "What's Up, Peter Fuddy?", an appearance on "Reno 911!," and the role of Christopher Davis's biological father of "The Miniature Killer" Natalie Davis in the "CSI": episode "Living Doll".
Enter Walter Painter, a dancer a generation before us that was now an acclaimed choreographer, who was known for hiring the best dancers in town for jobs like dancing on The Academy Awards, Smith & Hemion TV Specials, Stars' Nightclub Acts, Lavish Industrials and more.
As mentioned, Dancers are a tight-knit group with a lot of connection between us to passion in our lives. Long story short, things have evolved over a few decades, and Jay Johnson, friend of Walter Painter, et al, and Entertainer Extraordinaire, is being presented in an Evening of Comedy, Magic, Ventriloquism and Variety to benefit The Nancy Painter Home and Foundation, in Memory of Walter's Mom, Nancy.
But did I mention that Jay WON a Tony Award®, one that was created specifically that year (2007) so that he would be eligible to win this honor, "Best Special Theatrical Event" for his one-man performance on Broadway in "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only," conceived, created and performed by Jay? Other Nominations: Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance; The Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show.
Believe me, it is a brilliant piece of theatre you will never see anywhere else, because it's his story, told his way, with so much help from the world he's created.
Also on the bill this Sunday will be Jay's talented Friends, among them two real life friends from the Magic Castle: "Mike Caveney, magician, writer, historian and very funny performer, who will be joined by Christopher Hart. Christopher is an incredibly inventive magician who has won major awards from the world famous Magic Castle. He was also the hand that played "Thing" in the Addams Family movies. It will be an all star show." The other "friends," well, you'll see... what pure imagination can create...
Speaking to his performance for this event, "I always make my performance relevant and of the moment. That is what live performing is to me, a chance to create an experience that is unique to the audience. I like to stay aware of the fact that each audience is original and a singularlity. " And that's what makes Jay's performances just extraordinary!
He continues to do his Tony Award® winning show, "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only. " "It is a story that I love to tell and love to tell it as often as I get the opportunity." Garnered with praise from reviewers, here are a few quotes for the record: "SERIOUS LAUGHS! A surprisingly moving as well as highly funny evening!" Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter; "GENUINELY TOUCHING! Johnson is a gifted actor: who else could provoke tears by hugging a wooden object?" John Simon, Bloomberg News; "EXCEPTIONAL! EFFORTLESS MASTERY! Johnson is a voice virtuoso - the best ventriloquist you'll ever see!" Robert Feldberg, The Record; "Jay Johnson SHINES AS A BROADWAY SHOWMAN! AN AMAZING TALENT who can skillfully mix zany comedy and the pathos of life. A virtuoso display that brings down the house!" Malcolm Johnson, Hartford Courant; and "THRILLING! FLAWLESS! SUCH DAZZLING TALENT, ONLY A REAL DUMMY COULD RESIST! It's not a novelty act - it has story lines, tensions, character development, and a whole lot of laughs. That's what good theater does!" Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer.
Walter Painter has been busy winning awards, as well. He is a Six-time Emmy Nominee and Three-time Emmy Award winner for his work in television which includes "Musical Comedy Tonight" for PBS' Great Performances and the opening of the Disney MGM Theme Park. Painter has choreographed four Academy Award telecasts, as well as, television specials for Ann-Margaret, Lily Tomlin, "Happy Birthday Hollywood," "The 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center" and three Tony Award shows to name a few.
In theatre, Walter created the musical staging for "City of Angels" on Broadway, including the National and London companies. He has also directed productions of "Cabaret," "Once Upon a Mattress," "Annie Get your Gun" and "Applause" His theatrical choreography credits include: "Camelot," "Hello, Dolly!," "I Do, I Do," "Oliver!," and "Leave It to Jane" at the Goodspeed Opera House. In addition to his theatre and television work, he has staged Las Vegas shows for Bernadette Peters, Joel Grey, Lou Rawls, Ann-Margret, Sheena Easton, Julio Iglesias, Suzanne Sommers and Andy Williams. He directed and choreographed the Las Vegas production "Bal Du Moulin Rouge" and two editions of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. He now spends his time teaching and choreographing.
He and his wife, Charlene, also a fabulous dancer/choreographer/teacher and mother of two children, have also devoted much of their time for the last 25+ years, as Co-Founders and Board Chairman(s) of the Nancy Painter Foundation for Mothers with Children. They have raised well over a million dollars to give assistance to at-risk single mothers and their children.
Having been raised by a single mother, Walter understands the problems single mothers face on a day-to-day basis and is dedicated to providing opportunities for mothers and their children who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.
Walter and Charlene Painter have assembled a joyful evening to raise awareness, raise spirits and most importantly, raise the money needed for this vital and important non-profit organization and it's newly formed Grant Program.
Join in this Sunday, November 3rd, helping support single mothers with children in need at The Moss Theater at the Herb Alpert Educational Village in Santa Monica. All proceeds will benefit the Nancy Painter Foundation Emergency Grants Program. The evening begins at 5:00 p.m. with a catered reception and silent auction.
To purchase tickets: https://nancypainterfoundation.org/events/1036/
Information/The Nancy Painter Home and Foundation: https://nancypainterfoundation.org/
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