Shirley Jones and her son Patrick Cassidy, both in Sacramento to star in the upcoming Music Circus production of "The Music Man," have worked together in the past.
The first time was not particularly obvious to everyone since Jones was just pregnant with Cassidy while making the acclaimed 1962 film version of "The Music Man" with Robert Preston as Professor Harold Hill and a young Ron Howard as her brother Winthrop.
Jones played the beautiful but stern town librarian Marian Paroo, but this time she's Marian's mother.
Jones' varied career has had enough longevity that she not only has played the ingenue in stories but subsequently played their more mature counterparts. Besides doing it in "Music Man," Jones also did it with "Oklahoma," her first motion picture in 1955, and the film of "Carousel," which she made in 1956.
Sitting in the Music Circus rehearsal hall with Cassidy, Jones exhibited the grace and charm once de rigueur for entertainers. The Pennsylvania-born-and-raised Jones said the secret of her success is that she was born singing.
"I was given a gift. The gift of singing," Jones said. "I was the youngest member of the church choir at age 6."
She also loved theater, and her parents encouraged her with voice lessons and trips to the Pittsburgh Playhouse. She studied acting while in high school. Even so, Jones thought she would become a veterinarian and was headed to college when she stopped off in New York, taking a flier for an open audition.
After hearing the 18-year-old Jones sing, the casting director went across the street to grab Oscar Hammerstein, who was rehearsing with the City Symphony Orchestra. When the legend came into the hall, Jones politely asked him what his name was.
"Yes, I did that and I'll never forget it," Jones said.
Hammerstein then asked her if she knew the score from "Oklahoma!"
"I said, 'I think I know some of the music, but I don't know the words.' And here I am talking to the lyricist," Jones said. Hammerstein wanted Rodgers to hear Jones sing, so they called for him and went across the street where the orchestra was.
"I had never seen an orchestra or heard an orchestra in person, let alone sung in front of one before that," Jones said.
She held the sheet music across her face, shielding her from all the people in the room, and sang "Oh What a Beautiful Morning," "People Will Say We're in Love" and "Oklahoma!"
Rodgers and Hammerstein signed Jones to a personal contract, the only singer they ever did that with.
"I never got to college," Jones said.
"Three weeks later, I was in my first Broadway show, a nurse in "South Pacific," for the last six months of the original Broadway run," she recalled.
Rodgers and Hammerstein subsequently cast her as the female lead in the 1955 film version of "Oklahoma!"
Jones' wholesome, well-scrubbed image worked nicely for her, but turning it upside down won her an Academy Award in 1960 for the film "Elmer Gantry."
"That was an incredible experience for me because my movie career was virtually over had 'Gantry' not happened," Jones said.
"I was considered a musical star and they had this thing, if you were a musical person then you weren't an actress. I didn't quite get that, but that's the way it was," Jones said.
While producer-actor Burt Lancaster wanted Jones to play prostitute Lulu Bains, writer-director Richard Brooks did not. The film was shot in sequence, and Jones' character didn't come in until the middle of the story. But Lancaster had her come to the set every day and watch the work.
"My first day of shooting was the hardest scene I had to do in the film. I'm in the house of prostitution and I talk about Elmer Gantry. I got no direction from Brooks. He just sat there," Jones said.
She was off the next day and thought she'd be fired but received a call from Brooks, "He said, 'Shirley I just saw the work you did yesterday and I owe you an apology. Not only are you going to be great in this film, but I predict you'll win an Academy Award.' From then on we were great friends and I did another film with him," Jones said.
Jones' son Patrick – with her first husband, the late actor Jack Cassidy – eventually found his way into the family business as well, but he held no illusions about what he was getting into.
"I didn't feel a shadow from either my mother or my father, but I definitely felt it from my two brothers, who were both pop stars," Cassidy said.
Both Shaun and David Cassidy hogged the teen magazine covers in the early 1970s with their boyish good looks.
Patrick took a different route, deciding he wanted to be a true actor. He made his way to New York, where he was soon working and learning his craft.
Cassidy has been seen consistently onstage, in films and on television. He and his mother even made Broadway history together in 2004 in "42nd Street," the first time a mother and son ever starred in a Broadway musical.
"I was 70 years old then and hadn't been on Broadway in forever," Jones said.
"He said, 'Come on, Mom, you can do it' and I thought it would be a wonderful thing if we can do it, and it was great," Jones said.
The upcoming Music Circus production of "Music Man" represents a more personal project for the pair. They're considering a 50th anniversary tour of the show, and this will be something of a tryout.
"It is obviously a valentine," Cassidy said.
"Getting to work with her, getting to do it with costumes and terrific actors and a wonderful director," he said.
"It was a chance to get together."
Music’ is still in him
August 06, 2011|
By Anna Marden, Boston Globe Correspondent
Q. How has your understanding of (“The Sound of Music’’) changed since the first time you were in it?
A. I think before, when I did it, I actually didn’t read the whole script. I just read my scenes. I thought, oh, I’m gonna play Rolf, I get to sing the song “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.’’ I don’t recall ever seeing anyone else’s scenes or hearing anyone else’s songs, other than when I was backstage. Obviously, this time, after a career of 32 years, I’ve become a person who’s a real detective within a script, and I go through it vigorously and I’m well aware of everybody else’s role, not just mine.
Q. What is it like to act in a stage production that’s best known as a major motion picture? Did you watch the film at all to prepare for either of the times you were in the musical?
A. I know I’ve seen the movie. Not for a while, but I think I saw it with my kids when they were little. But I didn’t want to see Christopher Plummer [in the film], although I know that he’s brilliant in it… . The trap with that is that you start to imitate and you start to mimic and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to have my fresh take on it - by reading it for the first time, taking in the other characters, taking in the lyrics from the other characters’ songs, as well as mine, and really understanding what it is. You realize just how brilliant Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers are. Hammerstein’s lyrics are just, they’re perfect… . It’s an astounding piece, in that it’s based on truth. I mean, it’s about all of the wonderful things that endure in life, and that’s love and family and standing up for your principles.
Q. What’s it like for you to work with child actors?
A. I’m in the process of opening up my own performing arts camp and school with my wife, who’s a dancer. I have two sons and I’m a coach of their Little League teams and their basketball teams… . Working with kids is like a dream for me. The idea of getting to actually merge teaching, performing, and coaching children is really what I want to do with my life now. These kids are fantastic. They’re really a great group. I call them the team… . They’re great, you know, I talk to them every day as we get closer and closer to the first performance. It’s just about bonding and really committing to us being a family and me being their dad and them being my children.
Q. Which character in “The Sound of Music’’ do you relate to most?
A. Probably Maria, in the sense that Georg von Trapp, the Captain, is actually very different than I am as a person. I tend to be much more outspoken, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m quite emotional; I’m not very reserved, as is Maria. You know, she’s much more like me, she says whatever’s on her mind. So, I understand that really, really well as a person. But, I have to say, as an actor, getting to play the Captain is a wonderful opportunity for me, because it gives me a chance to explore a side of me that is a little foreign.
Q. What’s next for you, after this show wraps up?
A. [My mother and I] are getting together to do something right after “The Sound of Music.’’ We’re doing a benefit together out in San Francisco. I have a few other things in development right now. I’ve got a one-man show that I do, which is about growing up in a family where every single person around the dinner table is in show business [his father is the late actor Jack Cassidy and his half-brother is David Cassidy, former teen idol and star of “The Partridge Family’’]. It’s called “Just Act Normal.’’ I’m trying to keep myself busy, but I am a full-time dad, too, and a full-time husband
Waltham's Reagle Music Theatre set to bring ‘Sound of Music’ to stage
Patrick Cassidy’s heralded career in musical theater will come full circle when he takes the stage as Captain von Trapp in Reagle Music Theatre’s production of “The Sound of Music.”
It was the first musical he ever performed in, at the age of 15. He played Rolf, the teenage messenger who’s attracted to von Trapp’s daughter Liesl. Before the show is over, Rolf becomes a Nazi soldier who has to decide whether or not to turn the von Trapp family in to his superiors when he discovers them hiding in the local abbey as they try to escape Nazi-controlled Austria.
Cassidy had no interest in acting at the time, although his father, Jack Cassidy, and mother, Shirley Jones, were prominent stage, television, and film stars. In fact, he was conceived while his mother was filming “The Music Man.” (She played Marian Paroo opposite Robert Preston in the title role.)
Cassidy took on the role of Rolf because his mother told him it was time to get a car and he would have to pay for half of it. “It wouldn’t fly when working at 31 Flavors and making $1.81 an hour,” said Cassidy. So he went on the road with his mom, who was cast as Maria, the young nun-in-training who takes a break to become the governess for the seven children of the widower von Trapp. They played in large outdoor venues, including Kansas City’s 9,000-seat Starlight Theater and St. Louis’ 12,000-seat Muny.
“I was bad,” said Cassidy. “So wooden in the role. I hadn’t had an acting class. I’d been in a pop band, so I could sing. But Rolf isn’t exactly the most electrifying character, so having a bit of woodenness isn’t bad for him.”
He recalled his mother buying him his first actor’s makeup kit for the tour and teaching him how to put on eyeliner and base makeup.
Two years later, he finally took his first acting class because he had broken his collarbone as his high school’s quarterback and couldn’t continue to play football, varsity basketball or volleyball. He decided to audition for a school production of “The Music Man.” He was able to get Dick Van Dyke, who had recently played the role of Harold Hill, to help him with his audition. Cassidy was sure he’d land the role of Hill, but was cast instead as Salesman No. 5.
“In that time I got bit by the theater bug or what I call the thespian bug,” said Cassidy.
He since went on to perform in a number of Broadway shows, including “The Pirates of Penzance,” “Leader of the Pack,” “Annie Get Your Gun” and opposite his mother in “42nd Street.” And he played the title role in several national tours of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat” and the role of Radames in a national tour of “Aida.”
When he and Sarah Pfisterer, who’s playing Maria in Reagle’s production of “Sound of Music,” sat down for a joint interview, it was clear how much they enjoy each other, frequently teasing each other. They had never met or worked together before, but Pfisterer remembers seeing him in a reading of “Take Flight,” a musical about the evolution of flight. “He was great,” said Pfisterer.
“I remember looking out there and wondering, “Who’s that blonde?” joked Cassidy.
“My mother worked with her here at Reagle in ‘Carousel,’ he said. “I know many who have worked with her. I wanted to be one of the many.” Pfisterer has played the female lead in numerous Reagle shows, winning the Independent Reviewers of New England Best Actress in a Musical award for her performances of Julie in “Carousel” and Maria in “The Sound of Music” in 2005.
Pfisterer said she remembers very few of her lines or the music from Reagle’s “Sound of Music” in 2005.
“I’ve had to relearn everything,” she said. “It’s pathetic. A lot of other roles I could stand up and do for you right now.”
Cassidy said the biggest challenge of playing Captain von Trapp is also what he likes most about the role.
“The Captain has a wonderful stillness, which is something I have to work on in my life,” he said. “Finding that stillness within me is a nice little challenge. As I get into his manner, I find a lot of power in holding my arms at my side and planting my feet and just speaking. Less is more applies to him.”
Cassidy admits that as a performer he tends to be more animated, so the role of Harold Hill in “The Music Man,” for example, is a more natural fit for him.
“Maria is just frogs constantly leaping out of her mouth,” said Pfisterer. “She can’t stop herself from saying anything.”
“I think it’s interesting to listen to what other characters say about your character,” she said. “The song ‘How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?’ (officially titled ‘Maria’). There’s a treasure trove there.”
Both Cassidy and Pfisterer are married to fellow performers. Hurley is a professional dancer and dance teacher. Pfisterer’s husband, Rick Hilsabeck, is a professional actor and dancer. He’s recently performed in “Billy Elliot” on Broadway. And 20 years ago, he and Pfisterer played the leads in the first national tour of “Phantom of the Opera.” She’s also played the female lead on Broadway.
“It’s great because you have somebody who completely understands your work environment and the strange hours,” said Pfisterer. “We’re completely the opposite of every other set of parents of kids that our kids are in school with.”
Pfisterer has two pre-teen girls by a previous marriage.
To watch Pfisterer and Cassidy rehearse the landler dance, in which their two characters first begin to face their love for each other, is to know that emotional sparks will soon be flying on Reagle’s stage.
Patrick Cassidy is Captain von Trapp in ‘Sound of Music’ at Reagle Theatre
By R. J. Donovan
Special to The Boston Irish
Award-winning Broadway star Patrick Cassidy represents one branch of a far-reaching family tree of musical performers. His Mom is Shirley Jones (he was actually conceived during the filming of “The Music Man”). His Dad was Jack Cassidy. His siblings include David Cassidy and Shaun Cassidy. And his niece is Katie Cassidy of “Gossip Girl” fame.
Although L.A.-born and based, Cassidy fondly considers Boston a home away from home. In addition to having starred in “Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at The Colonial Theatre, he has performed in Williamstown and Connecticut. It turns out he’s also a loyal Red Sox fan.
Chatting by phone from his home in California, the happily married father of two spoke about making his Reagle Music Theatre debut on August 5 as Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” starring opposite Sarah Pfisterer as Maria. (Coincidentally, his Mom once starred at Reagle in “Carousel.”) Here’s an edited look at our conversation.
BIR: So this is your first time at Reagle Music Theatre. How did it come about?
PC: Well, my Mom had worked for Bob Eagle who runs Reagle and told me how wonderful it was. I had met Bob, I think, when he came to see my mother and me in “42nd Street” on Broadway. And he said, you know, you should come work for us sometime. And I said, make me an offer. And he did. And I’m very excited about it.
BIR: I understand that “The Sound of Music” represents a full circle for you. Wasn’t it your first show?
PC: My very first. When I was 15 years old, in summer stock, it was my first professional gig. I got my Equity Card in it. And I didn’t do it because I wanted to be an actor or musical theater performer. I did it because I was going to turn 16 that following January and my mother said, the only way you’re going to get a car is you have to pay half of it. Well, I wasn’t going to make enough money at 31 Flavors where I was currently working. So she said, how about you come on the road with me. I’m doing “The Sound of Music” for the summer. And I was like, well, okay, that sounds like a good gig. But I gotta be back in time to play football. So I went on the road . . . I got to play a role and I got the theater bug. Sarah Jessica Parker was in that production, she played Brigitta. It was pretty monumental, actually.
BIR: You’ve starred in an impressive list of musicals from “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Aida” to “The Pirates of Penzance.” You also played The Balladeer in the original New York company of “Assassins,” which took on the controversial topic of Presidential killers. What was it like to be involved in shaping a musical with Stephen Sondheim?
PC: Amazing, in the sense that every actor dreams about doing a Stephen Sondheim show. But to originate [a role] is an amazing experience because they build the songs, they build the character, they build the music on you . . . I remember very vividly when we were doing “The Ballad of Booth” and how it was literally a fifth or a third lower than ultimately it came to be. It was just about [Sondheim] going, no let’s take it higher, let’s take it higher. And when he found the sound that he was looking for, the best sort of voice for The Balladeer, that became it.
BIR: At the other end of the spectrum, you mentioned “42nd Street,” which is just a great big, happy, tap-dancing extravaganza.
PC: It was the largest show, in terms of a cast, that I had ever been involved in. We must have had 48 dancers, something like that. I was in the show for eight months, and I remember still getting to know people by the seventh and eighth month.
BIR: And your Mom appeared in it as well.
PC: It was a wonderful opportunity for my mother and me to make a little Broadway history and become the first mother and son to star in a musical [together]. That had never been done before. And for her, it was a role reversal as such . . . She hadn’t been on Broadway since she’d done “Maggie Flynn” with my father in 1968 . . . so when they came to me and said are you interested, I said Mom, let’s do this.
BIR: Entertainment is really the family business for you. So the obvious question is, is it a blessing or a curse?
PC: I do a one-man show called “Just Act Normal.” It’s sort of an autobiographical look at what it’s like growing up in a family where every single person around the dinner table is in show business. Yet we’re still a family, just like any other family. The backdrop is that, since the day I was conceived, it was lights, camera, action. So that becomes normal for you . . . You come to think, well this is what the world does. It’s just like owning a pizzeria or something.
BIR: That’s the family business.
PC: And you have a normal life . . . I’m very humbled by what’s happened to us and the success we’ve had. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for everything that I’ve got.
BIR: Having performed in Boston in the past, do you have any special memories to share?
PC: It’s one of my favorite cities in the country . . . When I was doing “Joseph” there, the father of one of the children in the children’s choir had offered me [the chance] to sing the National Anthem at Fenway Park. Something happened with my schedule and I couldn’t do it. And the Red Sox are my team! To this day, I regret that.
BIR: So you follow the Olde Towne Team?
PC: I follow the Red Sox religiously! It’s funny, I became a fan late in life. Prior to their winning the World Series, people would say, how could you become a diehard Red Sox fan? You have to be born into that masochism! And I said, oh no, no, no. I became a fan in the late 90’s and I wanted to be on the team. I wanted to be one of those guys. That was my perspective on life -- being the underdog and coming from behind. And they sure have.
R. J. Donovan is publisher of OnStageBoston.com.
Max Menken Steals The Stage in It’s a Bird . . .It’s Plane. . . It’s Superman
By By Lindsey Wilson, D Magazine - June 28th, 2010 9:50am
Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive, and can leap tall buildings in a single bound, but can he sing? Charles Strouse and Lee Adams sure thought so, and one year after their musical Bye Bye Birdie became a hit on Broadway they penned a campy, goofy show in conjunction with original librettists David Newman and Robert Benton. That version—a critical success but commercial flop—has been all but ignored since it shuttered over forty years ago. But now director Kevin Moriarty and the Dallas Theater Center have summoned all their otherworldly powers (and hired Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to write a new book), bringing Superman back to life. Only problem is, Superman is no longer the star of his own show. This “revisal” of It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman belongs almost entirely to Patrick Cassidy as super villain Max Menken.
Whenever Cassidy steps onstage, it’s POW! BAM! ZONK! in stage form. Clearly relishing the broadly drawn lines of his character, we can tell he’s having a blast playing the role his father, Jack Cassidy, originated on Broadway. Max Menken is the über-powerful billionaire businessman jealous of Superman for capturing not only the loyalty and admiration of the citizens of Metropolis, but also Lois Lane’s heart. Determined to eradicate the Man of Steel, Menken attempts to replicate kryptonite and assembles a band of super villains (in a parade of imaginative costumes by Jennifer Caprio) to plant the dangerous substance on the hero.
Cassidy, dapper in pinstripes and light on his feet, owns the show. Whenever he’s offstage, the pacing, energy, and even storyline drag, but as soon as he reappears it’s a much-needed jolt of adrenaline.
While Menken has indeed been an integral part of the show from the beginning (in 1966), his character changed dramatically with this revisal. Instead of a co-worker of Lois and Clark’s, he’s now a man of great power and influence as well as the outright villain (originally Dr. Sedgwick). I believe this power shift not only made him more interesting but added tension, considering he could have feasibly ended up running Metropolis if his plan had worked. And I couldn’t applaud Patrick Cassidy enough for his fun and funny portrayal of Max Menken.
PATRICK CASSIDY DISCUSSES RUBY AND THE ROCKITS
The Star of Stage is Enjoying His New Sitcom
By Francine Brokaw - suite101.com
July 27, 2009
The ABC Family show Ruby and the Rockits has many real life aspects of the Cassidy family. This talented family joins forces for the first time.
The network has ten episodes ready and everyone connected with the show hopes the fans will enjoy it and there will be another season in the near future.
Basing the Show on the Lives of the Cassidys
“For me, the most interesting thing is that so much of the show is our lives. I mean anybody who knows anything about David or Shaun or myself or my Mom (Shirley Jones), you’re going to see so many things in the show that are our lives. I mean I am married to a dancer who was a dancer in the eighties, who did every single video and award shows and tours.” His wife in the show is also a dancer.
“I do have two sons. That’s all reality,” Patrick says. In the sitcom he also has two sons. “They’re a little older in the show. They are musicians. David does have a daughter that turned up. So, I mean were David and I pop stars in the eighties? No. That’s a little bit of fiction.”
Patrick is energetic as he discusses working with all of his brothers and says the audiences will get a kick out of the comparisons between their real lives and those of their characters. “But that aspect of the show is what’s going to be, I think, very interesting to people. Wait a minute. Is this real? Did this really happen? And so it’s a lot of our lives that we’ve inserted in the show and we’ll continue to insert in the show. I think that the (longer) the show goes on, I’ll be giving them many more specifics.”
The Cassidy Brothers’ Road Trip
He loves to tell the story of a road trip he took with his three brothers, and doing press appearances for Ruby and the Rockits he brings it up regularly. “There’s a great road trip that my brothers and I all did together about, a little over five years ago without our spouses, without our children. It was four brothers that drove on the road for nine days. Let me tell you, it was the most unique, wonderful, cathartic, insane experience that anyone could ever have. And we have sibling moments just like the rest—one moment at Disney World where I actually punched Shaun for saying something one time too many to me. So, we are brothers. We are brothers that have all the wonderful things and all the downfalls just like any other family. And we get to live that, which is great. Really great. And you’ll get to see that in the show.”
Pitching the Story to ABC Family
Talking with Patrick it is evident he is more than a little excited about this project. “The best story for me about how it got developed was David had actually gone to Shaun with an idea, of kind of doing maybe a new version of the Partridge Family, and that kind of fell by the wayside, but Shaun liked the idea of maybe working with (him). He pitched it around and then ABC Family suggested that it could be a brother thing. You know, like Two and a Half Men, type thing but with music. And Shaun said, ‘That’s great.’”
Patrick describes the pitch to ABC Family this way. “So I got brought into it, but when the three of us went to pitch it, which was so long ago, it seems like now, there we were for the very first time, David, myself, Shaun, all in front of ABC Family and sort of talking about this idea of two brothers that were an act that are sort of forced to be together, even if they don’t want to be. I mean, that’s what acts are. If you look at the Smothers Brothers, if you look at (Laurel and Hardy). They might not like each other, but it’s like a marriage, where you kind of stay in it, you know, because that’s your career. So they’re forced to be together.
“And originally it was with David playing the sort of domestic dad with the kids that were talented musicians. And me being kind of the crazy brother who’s still on the road and wants that glamour and success, you know, and doesn’t really want to grow up. After the meeting, which went incredibly well, they said, ‘We love the idea, we want to be a part of this, however, we have one small little adjustment. We’d like David and Patrick to switch parts.’ It was purely on, I guess, our personalities. David’s a father and stuff, but, he is much more sort of the guy on the road and still does that, and I’m a stay at home dad. And so, yeah, the original idea just got flip flopped. But it’s worked out good, worked out great.”
Ruby and the Rockits airs Tuesdays on ABC Family.
More on Cassidys & cast members of 'Ruby' at this link:
Patrick Cassidy, the Cassidy you may not know you know
By Dawn Ritchie - Valley Life Magazine
"It’s in the DNA,” says actor Patrick Cassidy of the renowned Cassidy showbiz lineage. “From the moment I was conceived, someone said ‘smile’ and there was a camera in my face.”
Cassidy, who was conceived during the filming of the Oscar winning musical The Music Man by mother Shirley Jones, isn’t overstating. Jones tried to hide her pregnancy during filming but once the cameras rolled, baby Patrick grabbed the limelight, kicking furiously as Robert Preston smooched the expectant actress during the love scene on the footbridge. A startled Preston reacted visibly and the cat was out of the bag. Forty-six years later Cassidy and his mother reprised that auspicious Music Man connection onstage at Bushnell Center in Hartford, Conn. But this time Patrick was playing the lead role of Harold Hill and starring opposite his mother, who assumed the character of Mrs. Paroo. It was a completion of the circle and a dream finally realized.
Cassidy was bit by the theater bug early in his school days at Beverly Hills High. Like older brother Shaun and half-brother David, his heartthrob good looks and inborn musical talent poised him for a career as a pop teen idol … but the footlights beckoned.
“I watched my brothers’ careers and after the teen thing wore off they were like, ‘Now what do we do?’ They didn’t have the foundation laid for a career. In the industry they weren’t taken seriously.”
Shaun has since transitioned into a highly respected television writer/producer, David continues to perform and younger brother Ryan opted for below-the-line employment in television art departments. But it was Patrick who followed in his parents’ footsteps and sought career longevity on the stage. He hit the Big Apple at the tender age of 19 and within two weeks was cast in the Broadway production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance opposite Kevin Kline. Cassidy credits this experience of working with Kline, and later Treat Williams, for “propelling” him further in the direction of stage work.
“TV is so fickle. One minute you are the flavor of the month; next thing no one cares,” says Cassidy, who ironically has managed to wrack up dozens of series television credits on prime timers such as CSI Miami, Without A Trace and ER. “TV and film is never an actor’s medium, but in the theater you get to drive the boat. There are always the mishaps of live theater … and the triumphs.”
Since Pirates of Penzance, Cassidy has tackled the work of musical masterminds Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber, starring in New York productions of both Assassins and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This month he goes into rehearsals at Jason Alexander’s Reprise Theater in L.A. for a concert version of I Love My Wife.
“My career has predominantly been theatre,” says Cassidy, who, of all the Cassidy boys, most resembles his late father, the debonair silver-haired Broadway trouper, Jack Cassidy. “My hair began turning grey in my 20s, which opened up even more opportunities,” he says. “Hair color alone allows me to play a variety of roles from 25 to 45. In the span of five years I went from Frank Butler in Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun, to Radames in Aida, to playing Julian Marsh in 42nd Street and then back to Joseph in Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed.”
Not all performers can boast the same providence. With a glut of cheaply produced reality shows flooding the airwaves, the creative side of the industry has been hit hard. Media reports voraciously dissect the financial woes of mega stars, like singer Michael Jackson and perennial co-host Ed McMahon. “It’s a tough economy,” says Cassidy, “but I’ve never lived beyond my means.” That’s due in part to his parents dogged coaching about the pitfalls of fame and the harsh realities of a life in show business.
“Our parents told us that you’re only as good as your last audition. They knew the hardship of this business. It’s feast or famine and there will be lean years, but that’s all part of the business. In any career there’s no for-sure thing.”
That’s not to say Cassidy hasn’t taken risks with his career. He courageously starred in the groundbreaking AIDS film Longtime Companion in 1990 at a time when many straight actors shied away from playing homosexuals for fear of being blacklisted. Longtime Companion had been released a full three years before Philadelphia changed that perception when rock-solid heteros Antonio Banderas and Tom Hanks portrayed lovers on screen. Cassidy is proud of that milestone and has worked hard for AIDS awareness in his charitable work ever since.
“I do a big benefit for AIDS Project Los Angeles every year. I was in New York when the AIDS epidemic hit,” he recalls somberly. “So many friends and colleagues passed away that I had to do something. Longtime Companion was a labor of love.”
Cassidy still works frequently in New York and in regional theaters across the country, but he makes the West Valley his home. “I’ve had the best of both worlds. I’ve lived all over New York for 25 years in sublets, from Chelsea to the Upper West Side, East Side and in Midtown — but always kept a house here.” Here was first Sherman Oaks, now Westlake Village. (Spot him at favorite hangouts Suki 7, Dakotas and Wood Ranch.)
“It was a no-brainer to come out here. Education and the schools are great. I’m not the guy you see at Hollywood premieres and parties. I’m basically a homebody and I’ve met incredible people here. There are actually real, regular people. I’m drawn to people who are not in the business.”
Staying close to family is important, too. Brother Shaun lives close-by in Hidden Hills and mother Shirley in Encino. Sadly, Cassidy’s father died tragically in a fire when Patrick was only a teenager. “My father was not a typical dad. He was a huge force, a huge entity and his presence was really felt but he wasn’t around a lot. That taught me that I wanted to be there for my children. I wanted to improve on the things I didn’t get. It’s made me a better father.”
That loss may be just one reason why family remains at the core of everything — work and leisure. “My parents and my brothers have been very influential. They’re my best friends.” And there’s no doubt that bond will grow even stronger when they join talents later this year in a three-camera sitcom pilot for ABC Family. Produced by Shaun Cassidy and Ed Yeagar, Ruby and The Rockits tells the tale of a successful pop duo from the ‘80s (played by Patrick and David) who suffer a public breakup and then are reunited as adults through their talented children. Ed Yeagar penned the script with story work by Shaun Cassidy.
The whole endeavor has been “a new version of The Partridge Family,” says Cassidy. “The Partridge Family meets Two and Half Men meets Hannah Montana. It’s life imitating art.”
The Music Man – and Woman – Come to Hartford
By Jan Nargi
April 19, 2008
Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy made theater history in 2004 when they co-starred as the temperamental Dorothy Brock and boisterous Julian Marsh in the hit Broadway revival of 42nd Street. They became the first mother-son duo ever to share a Broadway stage. The chemistry was so right and the experience so much fun that they're teaming up again, this time as the warm and wise Mrs. Paroo and the fast-talking Harold Hill in The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts' semi-staged concert production of The Music Man.
"My mother got me the job," Cassidy kids during a phone interview from his home in LA. "If she could become my agent, I'd probably be better off."
Jones, who made her Broadway debut as a replacement nurse in the original production of South Pacific and later co-starred with her then husband Jack Cassidy in the musical Maggie Flynn, confirms that she was the one who floated her son's name by the producers. "I had already been hired and they asked me for ideas about Harold Hill," she acknowledges during a late morning long-distance conversation. "I felt it would be a great role for Patrick, so I suggested him. They liked the idea, and here we are."
According to Cassidy, it's a role he has always wanted to play. Some might say he was born to do it. Not only did his mother play Marian (the librarian) in the beloved 1962 movie version opposite Robert Preston. Not only did Cassidy have the pleasure of performing with Preston in a benefit in Los Angeles years later. Not only did he grow up savoring every morsel of the cherished show by watching the film over and over again as a child. He was also somewhat of an uncredited member of the movie's cast. His mother was pregnant with him during its filming.
"I literally heard the show when I was in the womb," he says with obvious emotion. "I can't tell you how special this is for me. I feel spiritually connected to Robert Preston through this. And to be sharing it with my mother…I don't know how we're going to get through certain scenes without crying."
Both Cassidy and Jones confide that a few special touches have been added to the Bushnell production to augment her role and enhance the moments they share with each other on stage. Mrs. Paroo will now be in the entire "Shipoopi" dance number, plus she'll be singing a bit more than just the trio of "Piano Lesson" with Amaryllis and her daughter Marian.
"Patrick and I will be coming out for a little encore," Jones says with a wink in her voice. "I don't want to spoil the surprise for anyone, but following the curtain call, there's not likely to be a dry eye in the house."
With all the history and aura surrounding this Hartford production – which is serving as a 50th anniversary tribute to The Music Man's winning the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1958 – does the actress filling Marian Paroo's shoes feel at all intimidated? Not in the least. Overwhelmed, maybe, but not intimidated.
"I'm not really nervous," says Phantom of the Opera veteran Lisa Vroman. "I'm more excited and honored to be sharing the stage with one of my idols than intimidated by it. I hear she's just the nicest person, is a lot of fun, and loves to laugh. I have worked with Patrick before, so I'm really looking forward to it. But I hope I can get through this show without crying. I mean, oh my God, I'm going to be singing with Shirley Jones!"
Like Cassidy, Vroman has had The Music Man on her wish list for most of her life. She grew up "with every measure and every word" in her head but never had the opportunity to play Marian – till now. And even though this is a "concert" version, she and the rest of her cast mates will be performing the entire show. They will be off book and in costume, dancing full choreography and performing fully realized scenes, with less than one full week of rehearsal.
"It has really emerged into a full show," Jones says. "It's all Patrick's fault. He said that he just couldn't do it with a script in his hand. So Phil McKinley, the director, came out to LA for three days and worked on choreography with us. It's going to be a little tough for me, doing all that dancing, but it will be fun."
Cassidy readily accepts the blame for turning a manageable staged reading into a 900-pound gorilla. "Don't think I'm not choking on my words," he laughs. "We have one week to mount a full production. It normally takes a week just to learn 'Trouble!' But I felt there was no way I could play Harold Hill while holding a script. He's a fast-talking salesman who is always on the move. He's not a passive guy. He's got to swindle these people and then get out of town. I needed to be free to express that physically."
Fortunately, Jones, Cassidy and Vroman are very familiar with the material and are making the most of their time together. So is the fourth principal, Jason Graae, the gifted journeyman character actor who plays Harold Hill's former partner in crime, Marcellus Washburn. Graae, whom Vroman calls "the funniest man I know," played Washburn in a concert version of The Music Man at the Hollywood Bowl in 2002.
Graae is also happy to be working with all three of his co-stars again. Graae has performed in concert with Vroman, done a musical called "Duets" and a TV pilot presentation of a show called "He Said, He Said" with Cassidy, and last season played the peddler Ali Hakim to Jones' Aunt Eller in the Pittsburgh CLO's production of Oklahoma!
"I've had them all and loved them all," he exclaims. "From now on I will be doing all my shows with them."
Graae may be joking, but Jones and Cassidy will be teaming up again this year – in Colorado Springs in September to do a Rodgers and Hammerstein evening with Marin Mazzie and Jason Danieley, then in October to do Carousel in Massachusetts. Cassidy will play Billy Bigelow and his mother will play Cousin Nettie.
"I'll have done all three old lady roles in the shows that I did when I was young," observes Jones. "I'll have gone from Laurey to Aunt Eller in Oklahoma!, Marian to Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man, and Julie Jordan to Nettie Fowler in Carousel. What's fun is that now I've graduated into character parts. I did Hidden Places for Hallmark (in 2006) and earned an Emmy nomination (for playing old Aunt Batty), and I recently did six shows on Days of Our Lives in which I played a 90-year-old woman dying of cancer. It's the hardest work I've ever done because it's a new show every day."
While Jones is best known for her girl-next-door musical roles, she attributes her career longevity to the uncharacteristically dramatic featured part she played in the 1960 film Elmer Gantry. As the downtrodden but proud and principled prostitute Lulu Bains, Jones earned her only Oscar and established herself as a serious actress at a time when movie musicals were falling out of favor.
"That role was the best thing that ever happened to me," Jones states emphatically. "It gave me the career I have today. It kept me from falling into a category. Until then I was a singer, and they weren't making musical pictures anymore. I thought my career was over. But Burt Lancaster (who starred in and co-produced the film) saw me on a Playhouse 90 show and felt I could do the part. It was fabulous, and I'm eternally grateful to him for giving me the opportunity."
So what's next for the still-gorgeous and multi-talented 74-year-old who isn't looking to stop performing any time soon?
"I'd love to do even more work with Patrick, although Broadway would be pretty tough at this point," she admits. "To do 8 to 9 shows a week? Certainly not if I had to carry a show. But when I came back to Broadway for 42nd Street after being away for 38 years, it was a wonderful feeling. I'd forgotten how much I'd missed the camaraderie, the excitement backstage of working together. You don't get that in TV and film. You do your scenes in isolation. After experiencing that community again, I said, 'I want to do this some more!' "
This time around, it's 'Carousel' for TexArts
By Tommy O'Malley
June 21, 2007
Todd Dellinger and Robin Lewis founded TexArts Presents, an arm of the TexArts organization, with the goal of cultivating a local talent pool on which to float professional productions of classic musicals. Last year, they staged an opulent concert presentation of "The Music Man".
The musically minded twosome are back in action, mounting a concert of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel" at the Paramount Theatre. Their production will reflect revisions made for the 1994 revival of "Carousel" at Lincoln Center. TexArts has enlisted Patrick Cassidy to play the lead role of Billy Bigelow.
Cassidy's casting was originally marketed as a family affair: his mother, Oscar-winner Shirley Jones, who starred in the movie version of "Carousel," withdrew from the production in April because of a scheduling conflict. "My mother ironically got cast in 'Oklahoma' for the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera — another show she's very familiar with — to play Aunt Eller," Cassidy said. "And so she chose that."
After Jones' departure, Dellinger said that TexArts had "been fishing for another star, but they tend to want too much money." Cassidy, who is at least a decade older than his character, stayed on board. "It's a fantastic part," Cassidy said, "and I thought, you know, this is something I won't get to do too many times. Here's a chance for me to, on a big scale with a big orchestra, sing, in my opinion, Richard Rodgers' most beautiful score."
Unlike his brothers David and Shaun, who were teen idols in the 1970s, the Los Angeles-based Cassidy consciously avoided the pitfalls of publicist-driven fame. He has sustained a performing career for three decades. He originated a role in a Stephen Sondheim musical and spent last year headlining a national tour of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
Joining Cassidy in "Carousel" will be a host of Austin performers, including students from the TexArts Academy summer program. Local diva Jill Blackwood will star as Billy Bigelow's love interest, Julie Jordan, the part Jones played on film. The role will allow Blackwood to explore her rarely used soprano and work with an actor she's known only through cast recordings. "Patrick Cassidy is on my 'Assassins' CD," she said. "I'm so excited, but I'm also a little bit nervous."
Rehearsals for "Carousel" began June 4, leaving only 21/2 weeks to drive the production home. Cassidy was budgeted to rehearse with the full company for less than half that time.
All in the Family
For Patrick Cassidy and his clan, acting is a shared activity.
By Paul Hodgins
The Orange County Register
July 9, 2006
Patrick Cassidy, the sexy, largely shirtless star of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," was deep into one of the musical's most important songs €“ the ultra-serious "Close Every Door" when he was completely upstaged.
By a nose picker. Who also happens to be his youngest son.
"When we started the tour my youngest, Jack, had just turned 7," said Cassidy, 44, who will perform with his wife, Melissa Hurley, and his sons Cole, 10, and Jack when Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Joseph" plays at the Orange County Performing Arts Center this week (the boys will appear only on opening night). "Jack is really tall for his age, but his focus and attention span aren't that great yet."
At first, Cassidy's boys were a little nervous about their first acting gig in "Joseph's" children's chorus.
"When we started they both looked like deer in the headlights out there," Cassidy recalled. "But they got used to it. Jack is starting to yawn on stage now."
After a recent performance, Cole revealed to his father that yawning wasn't his kid brother's most serious thespian infraction.
"He said, 'Dad, he was picking his nose during your big production number!' We both had a big laugh over that."
Such episodes are typical of the joys, tribulations, hazards and tedium of life on the road as a family. Over the past year, the four-member Cassidy clan has been traveling with "Joseph" as it traversed America, experiencing all four seasons in far-flung parts of the nation.
When Cassidy first suggested the plan to his wife, she wasn't exactly enthusiastic.
"I was like, 'Oh, no! Not again,' " Hurley said. "We had tried this before about six years ago; the kids traveled with us while we performed. I wasn't too thrilled by the prospect this time around. They were ensconced in school; they were happy."
The challenge was made more complicated because the Cassidys decided to sell their Los Angeles home before embarking on the tour. "Not only did I have to pack for a year, I had to pack up an entire house," Hurley said.
She instituted some strict rules, which paid off.
"We had one toy bag and one book bag. Actually, they really handled that well. They're old enough where the toys are Game Boys. And they really started to read a lot more."
Though Cassidy and Hurley were concerned about pulling their boys out of school, private instruction on the road proved surprisingly beneficial for their education, the parents agreed. The family travels with a nanny who doubles as a tutor.
"It's really been great for my oldest," Cassidy said. "After his last year (in school) he needed some one-on-one to get his English and math in line. (The tutor) turned out to be a real blessing."
"We made educational sightseeing a goal in every city," Hurley said. "We would research each town with the tutor. That was our main goal. We've done 45 cities in a year, and we managed to integrate most of them into the teaching with day trips and field trips."
That's an admirable achievement, considering "Joseph's" brutal schedule. Though the boys appear in a maximum of half of the show's eight performances a week, there's little down time between cities. Monday is travel day, which means packing must take place with lightning speed on Sunday after the evening performance.
"The hardest part is travel day," Cassidy said. "We have 12 pieces of luggage and five people, including the nanny. To get on a bus, arrive at the airport, fly to the next town, unpack, shop and get some semblance of a life, all between Sunday night and Tuesday night, is tricky. Sometimes the travel days last 18 hours."
Cassidy comes from a famous showbiz family â€“ his mother is Shirley Jones, he's the brother of Shaun Cassidy and half-brother of David Cassidy â€“ and this isn't the first time he's appeared on stage with family members. He and his mother starred together in "42nd Street" on Broadway last year. But he has refrained from giving his sons any advice about the business. Cassidy's famous mom took a different tack, he recalled.
"When I was growing up, prior to my making the choice (to be an actor) my mother's advice was, 'Don't do it!' I think she did everything she could to talk us out of the business. She wanted us to understand the hardships: You can go years without a steady paycheck; there's no security in it, especially as you get older. But once we all decided to be actors, she was very supportive."
So far, Cassidy's sons haven't been bitten by the acting bug like he was. And the hard-working actor is just fine with that.
"I'm completely relieved, to tell you the truth. If they decide that's what they want to do, I'd give them anything to help. But I want to open their minds to other possibilities and vocations."
In the meantime, the Cassidys are enjoying the last of their road experience before they leave the tour and begin a new life in Las Vegas. Their travels had an unexpected benefit: lots of face time with relatives.
"It's a great way to see the whole extended family in a year," Hurley said.
"In each city somebody from my family or (Patrick's) would come and visit, whether it was an uncle or sibling or distant cousin. We saw more of our folks in a year than we ever would have if we'd stayed at home."
A family's dream cast
Star of touring musical never far from his wife and sons
By Michael Grossberg
The Columbus Dispatch
Saturday, April 29, 2006
The family musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is truly a family affair. Patrick Cassidy has the title role, and his wife and their two children also take part in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, opening Tuesday in the Palace Theatre.
"I get to do a musical that people of all ages seem to enjoy, and I get to be with my family," Cassidy said from a touring stop in Madison, Wis.
His wife, Melissa Hurley (a tango dancer in the film Rent), plays Mrs. Potiphar.
"Performing with Patrick is great because we're rarely together onstage and usually have to travel to see each other," she said.
Their sons Cole, 10; and Jack, 7 appear onstage three or four times a week, including the opening and closing night in each city, in the chorus.
Imaginating Dramatics Company of central Ohio will provide 19 children for the chorus during the Columbus shows.
"We're having fun doing the show, going to different places and learning new things," said Cole, whose family travels with a nanny-tutor.
"But I get tired a lot onstage. For sure I don't want to be an actor. It's really hard, and my dad told me not to."
When their father toured six years ago in Disney's Aida, the boys occasionally went with him.
"But they were babies then," Cassidy said, "and this is a chance to broaden their education."
With stops in Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and other cities, he said, "We're teaching our children about the history of the country."
Joseph, a predecessor of Jesus Christ Superstar, ranks as the first Bible-inspired pop opera by Lloyd Webber with Tim Rice.
"Andrew writes songs that really go from the bottom to the top of the scale," Cassidy said, "so it requires a large vocal range."
Of the 13 numbers, he finds Close Every Door the most challenging.
"The rest of the show is so tongue-in-cheek and over-the-top, but this number is very serious and powerful," he said. "After Joseph's brothers sell him into slavery, he sings that the one thing they can't take away is his dignity.
"It's a spectacle, but, at its core, Joseph is about families, the reuniting of brothers and of a father and son, and a message of forgiveness."
Aging from 18 to 38, Cassidy dramatizes a passage from hardship and betrayal to prophecy and acceptance.
The actor stays shirtless through 70 percent of the show.
"You've got to stay in shape," he said, chuckling.
"The tone is fun and games, but you realize through Joseph's journey that he's been put through a lot of pain.
"You can dress it with many colors, but that's what makes it (Joseph) stand the test of time."
Among his many TV appearances, Cassidy appeared on the WB series Smallville for two seasons as Lana's biological father.
He enjoys bouncing between television and theater and among New York, Los Angeles and other cities.
"It's given me longevity. Television is very fickle and political. If you're not the flavor of the month, they don't want to see it. But people rediscover me."
During the past half-decade, Cassidy has demonstrated his versatility by playing characters spanning a variety of ages.
"People say I've got the energy of a 20-year-old," the 44-year-old said.
On the Broadway stage, he has starred opposite Cheryl Ladd as a mid-40s Frank Butler in Annie Get Your Gun, as a late-20s Radames in Aida and as a mid-50s Broadway producer in 42nd Street, choreographed by central Ohio native Randy Skinner.
"Patrick is a true leading man, which is not easy to find," Skinner said from New York. "He's a fine actor, the ultimate professional, and sings great."
Cassidy co-starred for five months in the tap-happy 42 nd Street with his mother, showbusiness veteran Shirley Jones (Carousel, Elmer Gantry).
"Of course, I'm his mother, but I think he's sensational," Jones, 72, said from Encino, Calif.
She has flown to Boston and two other cities on the Joseph schedule.
"He's singing better than he's ever sung, his acting is incredible, and he looks like an Adonis," she said.
What does she think about his performing on the road with his family?
"The touring is hard, but in many ways it makes them a lot closer," Jones said. "And the kids are the perfect age to go on the road.
"I tried very hard to not have my children go into show business," she added, "but sometimes, if you start pushing one way, they go exactly in the opposite direction, which is what they did."
"I learned from her," Cassidy said, "to dedicate yourself and work really hard."
Utah fave 'Joseph' back again
By Ellen Fagg
The Salt Lake Tribune
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Maybe Utah tourism officials could save a little time by handing out lyric sheets to the songs of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at all state borders.
Utahns can't seem to get enough of the witty, energetic family musical about a young Israelite dreamer whose jealous brothers sell him into slavery in Egypt.
But if you need a Technicolor refresher course, you're in luck. A national touring production of "Joseph" - starring Patrick Cassidy (who might have grown up with some brother issues of his own, thanks to older siblings and former teen heartthrobs David and Shaun) and former "American Idol" favorite Amy Adams stops at the Capitol Theatre for an eight-show run Tuesday through Sunday.
Of course, Cassidy's got a big coat to fill in Utah, thanks to memories of 1998's sold-out, three-month run of "Joseph" starring Utah's favorite singer son, Donny Osmond. Plus, there are memories of every community and school production - the show has played at an estimated 20,000 schools and local theaters around the world.
What Utahns should expect this time is a high-spectacle, nonstop riot, complete with spoofy details such as cell phones and talking snakes. "Think Egypt meets South Beach," is the description Cassidy offers in a phone interview.
The 44-year-old actor, son of actor Jack Cassidy and actor/singer Shirley Jones, sports a fake tan and dyes his naturally white hair dark to play Joseph, who ages from 19 to 30-something over the course of the story. "I had to drop a couple of pounds because I'm in a multicolored skirt all night," he said. "And it's a tenor part, and I'm in the upper register of my voice a lot, which is an adjustment, a muscle like anything else. I constantly have to think high, think young."
At the same time, Cassidy hopes to convey the character's maturity. That's the challenge he offered himself when he agreed to don the dreamcoat a second time, six years after he last toured in the role.
"Joseph can become very bland," Cassidy said. "He can become multicolor and fade into the scenery. I've tried to add more nuance to the character. I think audiences will see a man who grows over the course of the show, which I don't think is inherent in the text."
Traveling with their families, Adams and Cassidy underscore the all-ages appeal that is the show's biggest attraction for Utah audiences.
Cassidy is joined onstage every night by his wife, actor Melissa Hurley Cassidy, who plays temptress Mrs. Potiphar. The couple travel with their two sons, Cole and Jack, who join the children's choirs for several performances in each city.
"It's one of the few musicals I know where you can bring every member of the family," Cassidy said. "From a 3-year-old to a 93-year-old, everyone seems to get something out of it. That's a rarity."
Cassidy back in Utah - this time as Joseph
By Ivan M. Lincoln
Deseret Morning News
Friday March 17, 2006
Patrick Cassidy is back in Egypt and in Utah.
Cassidy was here in 2001 playing the heroic warrior Radames in the national touring production of "Disney's Aida" in the Capitol Theatre. Now he's starring in a new touring production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
And he's bringing it right into the heart of Donny Osmond country. (You'll remember that Osmond played "Joseph" here a few years back.)
Cassidy said by phone from Grand Rapids, Iowa, that he's had several encounters with both the Osmonds and Utah culture. When "Aida" was here five years ago, Marie Osmond saw the show and Cassidy visited her family in Orem. He played "Joseph" in another tour a few years ago with several of the second generation of Osmonds as Joseph's brothers.
One aspect of this tour that has both the cast and audiences talking is that Potiphar's seductive wife in the show is being played by Cassidy's wife, Melissa Hurley Cassidy. "There is tremendous chemistry," he admitted, "and the most difficult thing is to fight her off and deny the seduction." (Their two young boys, Cole and Jack, are on tour with them and take part in the children's choir.)
For this tour, children's choral groups are recruited in every city along the route. Salt Lake City's acclaimed International Children's Choir will provide young singers during this stop. "It's a great opportunity for the kids," Cassidy said. "They get to sit onstage and do the choreography and sing the songs, and they always enjoy it.
"The greatest thing about this show is that it's one of the very few musicals that you can bring every single member of the family to it and they all enjoy it. It's not offensive. Being a father myself, it's fun to see a show like that."
Touring with his family has also been a great experience, Cassidy said. "We were in Philadelphia last week and visited the Franklin Museum and in Washington, D.C., we got a private tour of the White House."
Cassidy appeared on Broadway in 2004 as Julian Marsh in "42nd Street," along with his mother, Shirley Jones, who played the cantankerous stage diva. "It was the first time in the history of Broadway that a mother and son had starred together. It was quite a time. She is a true professional, mother and friend."
One thing he remembers about his last visit to Salt Lake City for the "Aida" engagement was how "the dryness really affected me. I got one of the worst vocal problems I've ever had. I have since learned and now I live with humidifiers everywhere, in my hotel room and dressing rooms."
Dreamcoat' singers, chorus perform at children's hospital
The Grand Rapids Press
Wed. March 9, 2006
Entertainers outnumbered patients Wednesday as about 15 cast members from "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" visited DeVos Children's Hospital.
About a dozen children, many in wheelchairs and attached to portable IVs, gathered at the Renucci Hospitality House to hear stars Patrick Cassidy and Amy Adams sing an a cappela version of "Any Dream Will Do" backed up by a 24-member children's chorus from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School in Grand Rapids.
"I wish we did visits like this more often," Cassidy said afterwards, as he and other cast members stayed to visit with patients who couldn't leave their rooms. "It's a privilege to be here. This is the reason I went into the business, to give back."
Patrick Cassidy Wins Best Actor Golden Icon Award for Joseph
March 3, 2006
Broadway World News Desk
by David Easton, Entertainment Reporter
Patrick Cassidy received top honors winning the Best Actor in a Touring Production for his title role performance in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Joseph) in the annual Golden Icon Awards announced Friday by Travolta Family Entertainment.
According to PatrickCassidy.net, the official web site of the actor, talks have taken place to potentially bring Joseph to Broadway in late 2006.
Cassidy, who continues in the current tour of Joseph opposite American Idol contestant Amy Adams in the role of the Narrator, is reported to be the likely choice to head the proposed Broadway revival, with Rikki Lee Travolta the likely choice to take over the tour.
Occasional cast swapping of the two leading men could be enabled to continual revive ticket sales to extend the Broadway run. A similar tour-to-Broadway lead swap formula was utilized to great success in the 1990s with tour headliner Donny Osmond and Broadway headliner Michael Damian.
Neal Patrick Harris won the Golden Icon Award for Best Actor in a Non-Touring Stage Performance for his West End role in Jonathan Larsonâ€™s Tick, Tickâ€¦Boom.
Idina Menzel squeaked in under the wire of eligibility with a handful of performances in January 2005 to win the Golden Icon for Best Actress in a Non-Touring Stage Performance for her role as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked.
Haley Evetts won the Golden Icon for Best Actress in a Touring Production for her role as Sandy in Grease (U.K.).
The film adaptation of Jonathan Larsonâ€™s Rent won the award for Best Musical Feature Film. It featured many actors from the original Broadway cast including Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Menzel, Adam Pascal, and Anthony Rapp.
The Golden Icon Awards are presented by Travolta Family Entertainment LLC to acknowledge stand out achievements each year in entertainment, leisure, and fashion.
Cassidy brother stars in 'Joseph'
By Jerry Stein
February 10, 2005
Patrick Cassidy thinks it doesn't hurt to have a few brothers of your own if you're going to play the title role in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," opening Tuesday at the Aronoff Center.
The Andrew Lloyd Webber (music)-Tim Rice (lyrics) 1968 musical, which began as a cantata, retells the biblical story of Joseph.
Joseph fell afoul of his 11 resentful brothers when his father, Jacob, gave him a handsome multi-colored coat.
"Anybody who has siblings understands sibling rivalry," said Cassidy, who has three brothers - half-brother David and full brothers Shaun and Ryan.
Joseph might be the poster boy for sibling rivalry, though. A little full of himself, Joseph's already declining popularity among his brethren took a nose dive when he also started bragging how great he was going to be. The brothers tore off his coat and were planning to toss him into a pit and leave him for dead.
But they cut a better deal with some traveling Ishmaelite traders. The Ishmaelites bought Joseph and took him to Egypt.
It was in Egypt that Joseph found success. He became a favorite of the pharaoh.
But any comparison of Cassidy's brothers to Joseph's jealous brothers stops long before the pit bit.
"No," Cassidy said with a laugh, "there's no fratricide committed by my brothers. But, yeah, there's the whole thing of competition, the whole thing of which son is the golden child.
"I guess there are elements of that in every family.
"But the interesting thing is my brothers and I are best friends."
Cassidy, 44, is the middle son of the late Broadway musical comedy star Jack Cassidy. His mother is Oscar winner and singer Shirley Jones.
Singer, actor and most recently a writer, Shaun is now 48. Ryan, an actor-set designer, is 39.
"I think there is a lot of truth in what order you are born in," Cassidy said. "I was a middle child. So, I tended to be the peacemaker in the family.
"They say that is inherent in being the middle child, and that was definitely true in my case. Remember, David is my half-brother, so he really didn't grow up in the same house.
"It was Shaun, being the oldest in the house I grew up in, myself and my younger brother, Ryan. Ryan, being the baby, I think got spoiled the most. But as you do get older, the roles change. It's based on your life experience and based on just what happens to you.
"So, I think you all start wearing a different sibling coat, so to speak. In some cases, I've been the leader. In some cases, I've been the baby. The youngest has been the rebel. There have been many things that each one of us has had to call upon in terms of being a child and a brother in what order. But, again, I think it's what makes a family."
While the musical contemporizes the biblical story with a lot of the old Lloyd Webber-Rice color, including a pharaoh that looks like Elvis and pop-rock-country sounds in the songs, Cassidy said the story remains the focus for him.
"The thing about 'Joseph,' which so relates to me, is it really is just about family," Cassidy said. "It's about forgiveness. It's about reuniting.
"It's the core of it that I think everybody responds to."
Beyond Cassidy's 11 actor-brothers in the company, he also has his wife, Melissa Hurley Cassidy, and his two sons, Cole, 10, and Jack, 7, on stage with him, too.
"She plays Mrs. Potiphar, the seductress. She gets to take her dance movements and seduce me every night," Cassidy said with a laugh.
"And my children are part of the non-professional kids' chorus that we pick up in every city.
"They do four of the eight shows every week."
Coming from a show business family, Cassidy said it just follows that he would be involved in the business, too. The Cassidys often perform together.
In 2004, Cassidy starred with his mother in "42nd Street" on Broadway.
"Definitely, the decision was left up to us individually," Cassidy said. "I think it was natural only in the sense that's what we were exposed to. It just seemed like, 'Oh! That's what everybody does.' In fact, it's not what everybody does. But in my case, it was.
"Just like you were the son of a bricklayer or a son of somebody who owned a clothing store, you'd probably know the garment business or you'd know how to build things. In my case, the family backdrop was show business. So, that's what we learned. That's what we were exposed to. All that said, you've got to have talent at the end of the day. And you've got to learn the craft. That's why I moved to New York when I was 18."
Cassidy said his mother, now 71, who had one of the most enchanting voices ever to grace the screen in such musicals as "Oklahoma!," "Carousel" and "The Music Man," continues to work, too.
"She does her concerts," Cassidy said. "She does movies. She actually has had a pretty interesting year. She did a feature film for Adam Sandler's company ('Nana's Boy,' complete with saucy dialogue, unusual for Jones). And she did a movie ("Hidden Places") for Hallmark (the cable channel) that was just on last week." She's amazing. Tireless. She just gets out there and continues."
Patrick Cassidy, part of the famous show-biz family, puts his priorities in
order en route to production of 'Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat' at Kravis.
By Jan Sjostrom
Palm Beach Daily News
December 27, 2005
The title character in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the actor who plays him have at least one thing in common. Brothers figured large in each of their lives.
Joseph's jealous brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, where he was rewarded with a powerful job for correctly interpreting the pharaoh's dreams and reconciled with his family. Patrick Cassidy's half-brother David and brother Shaun weren't so perfidious, but their teen-idol reputations have been a millstone around their younger brother's neck.
And they're not his only famous relatives. His father is the late singer-actor Jack Cassidy. His mother is Shirley Jones, known for her starring roles in movies such as The Music Man and Elmer Gantry and television's The Partridge Family, where she shared the limelight with David.
All of which doesn't fluster Cassidy, a stage and screen veteran who is performing in the production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical that opens Jan. 3 at the Kravis Center.
"It's me up on stage and in front of the camera, not my mother or my brothers," he said Friday from Fort Lauderdale, where David now lives. "It's me, whether they like me or not.
"They must like me because I've been making my living at this for 24 years."
Shaun, 47, is a writer and producer for television, whose projects include the ABC sci-fi mystery thriller Invasion. David, 55, still performs, Cassidy said.
Patrick Cassidy, who will turn 44 on Jan. 4, shunned the pop-singer shortcut to fame that ended in dead-ends for his brothers and pursued a less glamorous but more enduring career as an actor who sings. He's performed on Broadway, most recently as Julian Marsh in 42nd Street, in films such as Longtime Companion, where he played a gay soap-opera star, and on television, where he's been a regular on series such as Smallville.
This is the second time he's toured in Joseph. The camp musical, which was Rice and Lloyd Webber's first collaboration, features a kaleidoscope of musical styles and over-the-top elements such as an Elvis-impersonator pharaoh and a sphinx in sunglasses.
The new production, in which he stars opposite American Idol finalist Amy Adams, is bigger, has more special effects, better dancing and, he added, "the Joseph is in far better shape, even though I'm six years older."
The actor bet the producer that if he were given time to get in shape, not one critic would say he was too old to play the character, who ages from 20 to 40 and spends much of the show dressed only in a loincloth. None has, but, Cassidy noted wryly, "they all comment on my age, even though they say I have the energy of a 14-year-old." Cassidy worked out for five months with a personal trainer before the tour, and stays fit on the road with daily hour-and-a-half workouts.
As he did six years ago, he's touring with his wife, Melissa, who plays Mrs. Potiphar, and their sons, Cole, 10, and Jack, 7, who perform in the children's chorus with the Young Singers of the Palm Beaches.
His kids are seeing the country. But show business won't go to their heads if their father has anything to say about it.
"One thing my mother instilled in all of us is that show business is a job," he said. "It isn't real. It's a glamorized version of the world."
He's taken his cue from his mom in determining what's important in life.
"My wife is my first priority, my children are my second priority and my career is a distant third," he said.
The kids will return to school in September. But their dad may not be with them. A new cast album will be released during the run in West Palm Beach, and the producers are talking about taking the show to Broadway.
'Joseph' has a family groove
A pop music brood and a TV show contestant romp onstage at the Auditorium Theatre
By Stuart Low
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
December 11, 2005
Amy Adams and Patrick Cassidy arrived in biblical Egypt by different routes: American Idol and a legendary family of pop musicians.
Starting Tuesday, the two singers will star in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Auditorium Theatre.
Cassidy has felt at home with the trappings of celebrity since boyhood. His parents are musical theater stars Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy, and his brothers are erstwhile teen idols David and Shaun Cassidy.
He never seriously considered a career outside the theater. He has appeared on Broadway in 42nd Street and Disney's Aida, and starred in several television miniseries and movies. Now, his own family has followed him into the spotlights: His wife, Melissa, and sons Cole, 10, and Jack, 7, all perform in the national Joseph tour.
"My sons sing in the children's chorus," says Cassidy, a 43-year-old Los Angeles resident who plays the teenage Joseph. "Originally, I didn't want to take them out of school. But we're selling our house and we thought this would be a good chance for them to get a bird's-eye view of the country.
"We have a nanny/tutor who travels with us, which has worked out great. It's a wonderful opportunity for family bonding and for seeing every children's museum that comes our way."
(Yes, the Cassidys are planning to visit the Strong Museum â€” though they'll probably travel incognito.)
Adams and Cassidy agree on the show's basic character. They call it a musical Sunday school lesson turbocharged with athletic dancing, extravagant sets and performance styles ranging from Elvis to French cabaret.
"This show is old Egypt meets South Beach â€” very glitzy and gorgeous to look at," says Cassidy. "For the cast, this is a 90-minute aerobics class. In every single performance I have perspiration pouring from my glands."
Also onstage for most of the musical will be the 29-member Bel Canto Choir â€” a children's chorus from Merton Williams Middle School and Village Elementary School in Hilton. Together with the Cassidy youngsters, they'll sing and dance with the cast.
"They're thrilled to be taking part in this," says Hope Randolph, the choir director at Merton Williams. "We're sure a lot of families and classmates will be going to see them."
But the most conspicuous family fans will show up Tuesday night. Shirley Jones and her son Ryan plan to be in the audience to cheer on Cassidy.
"That should be nice," he says, as a chorus of beeps floods his cell phone. "Hold on â€” that's my mom calling now."
Patrick Cassidy is joined onstage by his wife and kids as he headlines the
tale of brotherly forgiveness in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'
December 2, 2005
Imagine the scene around the Cassidy family supper table, circa 1970-something: pop prince David picking the bubble gum from his teeth; brother Shaun waiting for his break in "The Hardy Boys Mysteries"; father Jack reminiscing about his role as the voice of Bob Cratchit in "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol"; and mother Shirley Jones, at the head of the table, talking turkey over the success of "The Partridge Family" with youngest son Ryan.
As for Patrick Cassidy? Well, he's trying to save up enough cash for his first car, and instead of working the local soda shop, he's about to hit the road with his mother in "The Sound of Music."
Such is life in a family of professional entertainers, and so it should come as no surprise that when "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" opens Tuesday in Shea's Performing Arts Center, Patrick Cassidy will have a supporting cast that includes his wife and two young sons.
In the production, Melissa Hurley Cassidy, a ballet- and jazz-trained dancer, plays vampy Mrs. Potiphar, a role that Joan Collins filled perfectly in the movie version of "Joseph," released in 1999. Ten-year-old Cole and 7-year-old Jack, meanwhile, sing in four shows - opening night, next Friday and two on Dec. 11 - with a children's choir from South Davis Elementary School in Orchard Park. (In addition to vocal talent, there was a height requirement for the child performers, who will be on stage for the entire show. They must be shorter than 5 feet 4 inches.)
"Growing up in the household I grew up in, I got to see the business all the time," Cassidy said during a phone interview from Chicago. "My mother would constantly take us on the set of "The Partridge Family' and on the road with her. For a long time, I wanted to be a criminal attorney, but the problem was when you see everybody in your family in the business and they're successful at it, it's not a good idea to try something else.
"You get to learn what not to do, and what to do," Cassidy added. "Both my brothers, I thought, were real teachers for me. If I went down the teen idol route, I might have a chance of making a lot of money for a couple of years, and then I might have a chance of not working and not being taken seriously as an actor."
By skipping the spandex, Cassidy learned to act, perfected his tenor and starred in numerous Broadway shows, including "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Aida." He got his first break just 18 months out of high school, when he was cast as Frederic in "The Pirates of Penzance." He recently played Julian in "42nd Street," sharing the stage with his mother, who filled the role of Dorothy Brock.
In "Joseph," Cassidy finds a family-driven story that includes reunion, forgiveness and a whole lot of silliness. It's not difficult, for example, to mistake this biblical Egyptian setting for a South Beach romp - complete with a table-dancing waitress.
When conceiving "Joseph," creators Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice concocted a 20-minute cantata for a British boys boarding school in 1968. It was gradually expanded to the present version - one that includes 21 numbers featuring calypso, pop, rock, reggae and country western music - in 1982, when it opened at Broadway's Royale Theatre.
Add some sweat-inducing dance numbers from choreographer Arlene Phillips, the comic genius of set designer James Fouchard and a funky warbler - not to mention "American Idol" finalist Amy Adams as narrator, and new-wave biblical becomes a genre.
Adams, 26, was one of 10 "Idol" finalists in the 2004 season won by Ruben Studdard. Since "Idol," she married former ultimate fighter Ross Varner and gave birth to their first child, Harrison, who with a nanny is on tour with Adams. The role of narrator requires Adams to provide vocals in 16 songs.
"A lot of people who use "Idol' to catapult their career, they don't have the opportunity I was given," Adams said. "I feel very lucky."
It doesn't take much to envision the touring version playing to a house full of adolescent boys. Suddenly, the Elvis impersonating pharaoh makes perfect sense. So, too, the day-glo-wig-wearing cheerleaders, line-dancing cowgirls, singing snake and the sphinx wearing cheap sunglasses. Rice, in fact, has said he deliberately wrote "Joseph's" lyrics to be outrageously funny.
The story capsule goes like this: Favorite son Joseph is given a multicolored coat, turning his brothers green with envy, so they sell him as a slave. After being seduced by his master's wife, Joseph lands in jail, where his talent for dream interpretation attracts Pharaoh's attention. He quickly becomes a Pharaoh favorite, predicts a famine and forgives his brothers.
"The show is ultimately about forgiveness," Adams said. "I mean, what is a bigger sin than being sold by your family into slavery? And then turning around and having the opportunity to judge them and the power to do what you want to them. That is the biggest message and one I appreciate on a nightly basis."
"Joseph's" appearance on the Shea's stage is a direct result of patron surveys. The Buffalo audience voted for "Joseph" when asked which musical they would most like to see, according to Shea's president Tony Conte.
There's no question that as Joseph, Cassidy is easy on the eyes. The former first-string high-school quarterback wears a loincloth for most of the play. Cassidy - who follows Donny Osmond, Jon Secada and brothers Shaun and David in playing Joseph - is a buff 43. He works out daily: every morning seven days a week, even on double-show days. His protein-based diet helps, as does a cardio program that he recently cut because he was losing too much weight. Descriptions of his six-pack abdomen repeatedly have made the reviews filed by critics across the country.
Cassidy's Joseph ages from 20 to 40. And while he's got the middle-aged version down, he researched the young Joseph by watching fellow cast members and finding the energy that defines youth.
"By the time he's second-in-command ruler of Egypt," Cassidy said, "he's actually a man. The trap with the part is thinking it can become very one-dimensional. The truth is, there's a lot of layers to dig through."
This `Joseph' has plenty of brothers
By Catey Sullivan
Chicago Tribune - November 25, 2005
Patrick Cassidy's on-stage brothers in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Auditorium Theatre dabble in such diverse endeavors as human trafficking with Ismaelites and herding sheep across Canaan.
The real-life siblings of the 43-year-old star of "Joseph" (the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical plays through Dec. 4) are equally diverse. Older brother Shaun Cassidy is the '70s pop singer and former star of "The Hardy Boys" TV series. Older half-brother David Cassidy was once and forever shall be Keith Partridge. On the Town caught up with Patrick Cassidy in Boston, where "Joseph" stopped earlier this month.
Q. You toured with "Joseph" in 1999, starring opposite 1980s pop tart Debbie Gibson. Now your co-star is Amy Adams from "American Idol." So, Gibson and Adams in a back-alley smackdown: who wins?
A. Amy. No question.
Q. What about you and Donny Osmond?
A. What about us?
Q. Back-alley smackdown, who wins? He was here for years as Joseph, you know.
A. Hmmm. That's tough. I have to think I'm a little more athletic than Donny. But as Michael Jackson would put it, I'm a lover not a fighter.
Q. Speaking of athletics, how much do you have to work out to feel good about the loincloth you wear during "Joseph's" prison scene?
A. It's not just the loincloth. I have to run around in a little multicolored skirt for the rest of the show. I work out seven days a week. One body part a day. All the reviews I've had so far have complimented me on my physique. Which is a really nice compliment. I'm 6'2". I weigh 176.
Q. You don't eat Little Debby snacks?
A. I eat a lot of egg whites and turkey burgers and beef. Also brown rice and yams.
Q. I want to talk about David. Were you jealous of him because he was on the cover of Tigerbeat in the 1970s and you weren't?
A. I was on those covers, too. But it wasn't something I aspired to. My brothers were such huge teen idols that they weren't given many opportunities to do anything else as they got older. David had an excellent acting career long before he was on "The Partridge Family," but people will always think of him as Keith Partridge. Once you make an impression that big, it's the impression that stays with people. Shaun has given up on the performing aspect of things because of that. He's producing and writing now.
Q. You want to record a hit like "I Think I Love You?" or "Echo Valley 26809"?
A. I got some very lucrative recording offers when I was very young, just because I was their brother. People didn't even know if I could sing. I purposely went for a stage career. My mother [Shirley Jones] told me if I wanted to be an actor to go to New York and learn, that the teen idol road was a very, very hard road.
Q. So at 19, you got a lead in "The Pirates of Penzance." Who has better costumes, "Joseph" or "Pirates"?
A. "Joseph" has a South Beach meets ancient Egypt thing going on that's really cool. Also, the first night of "Pirates," I split my pants, these tight little white sailor pants. All the way from the inseam up to my butt. It happened at a point where I couldn't leave the stage for 20 minutes. Plus, I had this big romantic love song I had to get through. By the time I got to it, the rip had gone from my dance belt all the way down to my ankle.
Part of the lyrics [to the love song] were something like, `No, no Mabel, a terrible disclosure has been made.' The audience wouldn't stop laughing.
Q. You also cut off your pinky finger during a performance of "42nd Street" last year.
A. It didn't come off. I slammed it in a door making my entrance. It hurt like heck, but I was like, oh well, the show must go on. Then I put my hand up to my face during the scene and realized I was bleeding.
Q. Did you spurt blood all over the stage?
A. The scene was set in a dressing room, so I grabbed this light blue silk robe that was hanging up and tried to hide it. It didn't work very well. The audience saw blood.
Q. Your mother was in that show. Was that weird?
A. No, not at all. We are very close. The one thing that was really striking was that I based my whole character [producer Julian Marsh] on my father [Jack Cassidy]. I beefed up for the part, got my hair grayed. When my mother first saw me as Julian, she gasped because I looked just like my father.
Q. Joseph's coat: Fashion `do' or fashion `don't?'
A. The thing that makes `Joseph' stand the test of time is the music. Not the fashion.
Q. What about the mullet? Do you get to have a mullet in the show like Donny?
A. Joseph's hair isn't as long in this production. He's a Joseph for today.
'Joseph' all about family for Cassidy
By Celia Wren
Richmond Times Dispatch - November 13, 2005
For stage and screen celebrity Patrick Cassidy, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is a family affair -- in more than one sense.
To start with, he sees the theme of kinship as the heart of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's peppy musical, based on the biblical story of Jacob's sons.
Cassidy should know: He currently holds the title role in a flashy national tour of "Joseph," scheduled to drop anchor at Richmond's Landmark Theater from Tuesday through Nov. 20.
"Producers over the years have taken 'Joseph' and Vegas-styled it up," Cassidy said recently by phone from Kalamazoo, Mich., a stop on the tour. "Made it very broad -- lots of color and choreography and lights and costumes and everything -- made it a big, huge spectacle.
"But the truth is, at the core it's a story about reconciliation -- about a family that reconciles, a father and son that reconcile. Brothers that forgive each other. I really believe that's what people love about it so much."
A performer whose credits include the original staging of Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins," the Broadway and tour versions of Disney's "Aida," and assorted film and television works, Cassidy is no stranger to the nexus of family and showbiz.
He's the son of musical theater royalty: His mother, Shirley Jones, starred in the film versions of "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel" and was married to Tony-winning actor Jack Cassidy.
Patrick is also brother and stepbrother to entertainment icons: 1970s teen heartthrobs Shaun and David Cassidy. (As TV addicts know, David and Jones starred in "The Partridge Family.")
And with "Joseph," a new generation of Cassidys has gained currency on the cultural landscape.
In the production, Patrick's wife, Melissa Hurley Cassidy, takes the role of the seductress, Mrs. Potiphar. "My wife is a fantastic ballet-trained, jazz-trained dancer," Cassidy boasts. And the couple's sons, Jack, 7, and Cole, 10, who are traveling with the tour in the company of a tutor, join the children's chorus for four "Joseph" performances a week.
"They do opening nights, Friday nights and both on Sunday," Cassidy explains proudly. "But they only get to do it if everything is in order in terms of their studies. It's been great. It's a real surreal feeling, looking at both your sons in the face while they're singing to you on the stage."
Introducing his children to the panorama of America was "top on the list" of reasons for Cassidy's accepting the tour.
"I thought they could really benefit, and understand, and grasp so much of what the country has to show them," he says.
As the show hopscotches between cities, on average once a week, the children study the history of each region and visit local museums.
"They get to actually see and learn about our country, as opposed to reading about every state," Cassidy says.
That educational payoff compensates for the tour's physical and emotional toll, in his view. "Having to travel on Monday, having to pack and repack," he says, enumerating a few of the hassles, "I've become quite a strong luggage lifter."
But, then, hauling suitcases may help him stay in shape for "Joseph," a lively extravaganza in which he goes shirtless for, he estimates, 80 percent of his stage time.
Since the character of Joseph is substantially younger than Cassidy -- the actor is in his early 40s preparation for the part involved substantial physical toning, as well as psychological adjustment.
" 'Joseph' was about losing a lot of weight," he says, "getting in terrific shape, finding the youth in me again, watching how 25-year-olds behave, finding the naivetÃ© again, the earnestness, the wide-eyedness of being young."
The role contrasts markedly with his last stage gig, back in 2004: portraying the cantankerous director Julian Marsh in the Broadway revival of "42nd Street," opposite his mother.
For that part, Cassidy had to act older than he was -- transform his walk, and even drop the register of his voice. (On the other hand, the job allowed him to yell at his mom onstage, which he found "very therapeutic.")
"The greatest credit that could be bestowed on me is that producers are casting me in both roles," he says. "There's nothing about Julian Marsh in '42nd Street' that is Joseph. They're really completely different people, and 99.9 percent of the time the actors that play one of those parts don't play the other." Listing both roles on his rÃ©sumÃ©, he says, makes him feel "very fortunate."
These days he also feels fortunate to be working with the catchy music in "Joseph," such as the ringing solo "Close Every Door" -- Joseph's response to his imprisonment in Egypt.
"Not only is it a great melody and a great ballad, but it has a fantastic meaning behind it," Cassidy stresses. He paraphrases the song's message: " 'You can kill me, you can beat me, you can take all my worldly goods, but you can't deprive me of my dignity and who I am.' That's a fantastic thing to sing about."
Still, his admiration for Lloyd Webber's tunes doesn't distract him from "Joseph's" theme.
"The songs -- you can't get them out of your head," he says firmly. "But at the core, it's really a wonderful story about family."
Tapping into dreams of younger self
At 43, Patrick Cassidy thinks young to play lead role in `Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat'
By Kerry Clawson
Akron Beacon Journal - Oct. 23, 2005
Patrick Cassidy wouldn't be insulted if you called him a big kid: He works diligently to tap into his youthful side in the title role of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
The tour of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical comes to Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall Friday through Sunday. Cassidy last played Joseph on tour in 1999.
"The role is a little bit different this time because Joseph's younger than I am," the 43-year-old said.
"In terms of my acting ability, this time it's (necessary) to find the youth in me again."
Cassidy studies the 22-year-olds in the company, noting their boundless energy and assumptions of immortality. As an actor, he works to re-create that kind of innocence on stage, what he describes as "that wondrous, wide-eyed openness."
"They have a tremendous energy and a tremendous earnestness with everything they say and do," Cassidy said of the young cast members.
In the show, Joseph, a figure from the Old Testament, starts out as a teenager and grows and matures through numerous hardships to about age 40. The story is taken from the last 13 chapters of the book of Genesis, which tells of Joseph's rise to power in Egypt after being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers.
Though set in Egypt, this production of Joseph has a partylike, South Beach flair. Webber's wide mix of music includes a parody of French cabaret music, country-western, calypso, pop and '50s-style rock.
Cassidy keeps his job a family affair by traveling with his wife, Melissa Hurley, and children. Hurley reprises the role of the seductive Mrs. Potiphar, a part she played in the couple's last Joseph tour.
"She's the undoing of Joseph," Cassidy said. "If that isn't life imitating art..."
Their kids, 10-year-old Cole and 7-year-old Jack, perform four shows a week with a nonprofessional children's choir in each city. In Akron, 25 Miller South choir students will perform nearly all of the show's songs. They'll even take the spotlight at the beginning of the second act with the Entr'acte.
Cassidy said now's the perfect time for their children to see and learn about their country on tour. The family travels with a nanny/tutor.
Cassidy's career spans stage, film and TV. His Broadway credits include his most recent turn in 42nd Street, as well as Aida, Annie Get Your Gun, Leader of the Pack and The Pirates of Penzance.
In Joseph, a number of critics have remarked about Cassidy's well-cut physique in this show. One even said he's "built like a brick Bible."
Cassidy, who has been a runner his whole life, also works out 80 minutes a day doing weights and stomach exercises. Twice a week, he also does cardio work.
"I have to be shirtless for about 80 percent of the show, so that gives you a motivation for keeping in shape," he said.
The actor said he sees similarities between Joseph and the hero Frederick in The Pirates of Penzance. But Joseph is very different from Radames in Aida, a recent role in which Northeast Ohio audiences saw Cassidy exude plenty of raw sex appeal.
"He's not asexual but he's definitely not sexual," Cassidy said of Joseph. "There's not a lot of heat and there's no love interest for Joseph in the show."
The sweet 1970 musical has long been a family favorite.
"The story is ultimately about forgiveness and family reuniting. I think at the core, that's the attraction of Joseph," he said.
Cassidy said he's having a great time with co-star Amy Adams of American Idol, who plays the Narrator.
"Musical theater actresses have to wait a career to play this role because it's such a monstrous role, and she's doing it the first time out of the box," he said.
"You have to be very stripped down and accessible (to the audience) and she is."
Cassidy grew up in a show biz family. His late father, Jack, was a musical theater legend, as is his mother, Shirley Jones.
Jones and Patrickâ€™s half brother, David, achieved TV fame in the 1970s with The Partridge Family. Brother Shaun was a pop music star as well as a co-star in The Hardy Boys Mysteries.
Last year, Patrick and Jones became the first mother-son duo in Broadway history to perform together in a musical in 42nd Street. He was Julian Marsh opposite her Dorothy Brock.
"She hadn't been on stage in about 38 years. It was a whole new forum for her, including getting used to new technology such as headsets."
Mother and son even lived in a brownstone together in New York during the 42nd Street run, he in the bottom unit and she in the top.
Here are Cassidy's family updates: Jones recently worked on a movie with Adam Sandler's company and continues to do concerts. Shaun is executive producer for the TV show Invasion, on which youngest brother Ryan works in set design. David is working on moving his show, The Rat Pack is Back, to a New York supper club, where he'll play Bobby Darin.
Patrick continues to develop his own theatrical autobiography cabaret show about growing up in the Cassidy family. The show, told through song and anecdotes, includes stories of sibling rivalry. It starts with Patrick hanging up a Sardi's framed caricature of his famous father, Jack.
Writing the piece, he says, "was so cathartic and therapeutic, it started rolling out of me."
Cassidy has 'Amazing' time on stage
By Jane Vranish
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Oct. 10, 2005
It's 7:20 a.m. in Chicago, and Patrick Cassidy is boarding "a fabulous white stretch limousine," facing a day of press interviews for his latest musical venture, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," set to hit the Heinz Hall stage tomorrow night as part of the PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series.
"Yes, I'm usually a tenor," he remarks with a smooth energy over his cell phone. "But right now in the morning, I'm definitely a bass."
Cassidy is a member of one of show business' top-tier musical families.
"You know," he begins. "When you grow up in a family where everyone is vocalizing constantly or singing around the piano, I guess you're exposed in more ways than one, even if you don't want to be [a singer]. In my case, I did. It was a natural chain of events."
Father Jack Cassidy (whom he most resembles) won a Tony for "She Loves Me" and had a long career on Broadway and in films and television. Mother Shirley Jones, a native of Smithton and a former Miss Pittsburgh in 1952, carved a movie career in A-list musicals such as "Oklahoma," "The Music Man" and "Carousel" and later capped her dramatic career with an Oscar in 1960 for best supporting actress in "Elmer Gantry." She had a much-publicized comeback on television in "The Partridge Family."
That show also starred her stepson, David Cassidy, who scored unparalleled teen idol success, "going through the whole mass hysteria thing" along the way. Patrick's brother Shaun followed suit as another teen heartthrob, writing songs for eight albums and now writing for television. The youngest, Ryan, literally went directly behind the scenes to make a career in scenic design.
Cassidy remembers it all, recalling that "from a child's perspective, it just seems that, 'Oh, this happens to everybody. Everybody gets on the stage and opens their mouth and a beautiful tone comes out.' Of course, when I made the decision to do it professionally, then I realized that, 'Oh, well, that's not true. This is really hard work.' "
Cassidy would get tangled in his parents' Broadway roots by accident. In high school he had his eyes set on football. "I was a senior quarterback with great statistics," he says. That notion took a dive when he landed "really hard" just two games into his senior year and broke his collar bone.
Left with a big hole in his schedule, Cassidy looked up the drama department, which was, coincidentally, performing "The Music Man." He calls it "the musical I was born on. It was something that was lined up in the stars." And no, he didn't get the leading part, "which was probably a good thing because it would have gone too much to my head." But he did land "a nice supporting role" and was hooked.
Like his brothers, Cassidy toyed with various rock bands and "didn't learn how to sing correctly" until the age of 25. He found that his voice had problems in switching registers. Doctors found nodules from "screaming all those years in football." Cassidy finally resorted to surgery seven years ago and had to relearn how to sing properly. Subsequently he found that he was a true tenor.
The past six years might have produced roles in the high vocal range, but they have taken him all over the map dramatically in a steady stream of Broadway hits. He started with "Joseph," followed by the part of Frank Butler opposite a much older Cheryl Ladd in "Annie Get Your Gun." He then moved over to "Aida," back in the juvenile vein, and then to "42nd Street's" Julian Marsh, "a guy in his mid-'50s."
"Now you tell me if it's the hair color," he quips. "I think so." Cassidy's hair, like his father, turned white early on, around the age of 22. "When I reached 40, my age actually caught up to my hair color."
Coming back to "Joseph" meant dieting, hitting the tanning salon and coloring his hair again. "But most importantly, as an actor, is to find the youth in yourself again," says Cassidy. "The key to youth is energy."
The "Joseph" tour has been a welcome return. Called "a rainbow ride through biblical Egypt," the show features the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber ("Phantom of the Opera," "Cats," "Evita") and lyrics by Tim Rice ("The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast," "Jesus Christ Superstar").
"It's one of those shows, like the old time ones, when the audience hears a song, it stays with them," Cassidy says. "They go out singing, then buy the CD or get the DVD. It's that kind of show -- 90 minutes of pure-packed entertainment."
He also enjoys sharing the stage with "American Idol" alumna Amy Adams as the Narrator. "You know, she was thrown into a role that most musical theater actresses wait a lifetime to play because it's such a huge role. She handled it like a gem. I mean, she's got a set of pipes that you won't believe when you hear her. And she's got a real warmth and accessibility to the audience that allows the audience into the show. It's a very difficult thing to have. You either have that or you don't, and she's got it big-time."
So who's the best singer in the Cassidy family? For the first time, he waffles with his answer. He calls them all "very different." His mother is "trained," his two brothers "pop singers," and he's more "theatrical," something the others call "patterned after his father."
"I don't know," Cassidy muses. "You make the judgment when you hear me."
By Alice T. Carter
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Oct. 9, 2005
For Patrick Cassidy, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" is a family experience both onstage and off.
Cassidy, 43, plays the title character in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's pop-rock music spectacle, It's Cassidy's second national tour in the show, having previously played Joseph from June 1999 through February 2000. He also did a yearlong national tour with Disney's "Aida" that ended in March 2002.
"Touring has its good points," says Cassidy. "You get to traipse across the country while being well compensated."
He is enjoying it even more this time because he brought along his family.
His wife, dancer Melissa Hurley, appears in the show as Mrs. Potiphar, a role in which she attempts to seduce Joseph. "And I try to fend her off," Cassidy says.
On Tuesdays and Sundays, their real-life sons, Cole Patrick Cassidy, 10, and Jack Gordon Cassidy, 7, join the children's chorus for some onstage experience.
The Cassidys made a real commitment to touring as a family. Before leaving California they sold not only their home in Sherman Oaks but their car. "We had planned to sell the house anyway," Cassidy says. "We made a nice amount because we bought in the '90s."
The hope is that in the year they're on the road, home prices will drop and real estate will be cheaper when they go house-hunting next year.
The "Dreamcoat" tour began last month and will have gone to some 35 cities before concluding in July.
Meanwhile, the family is enjoying their hours offstage, seeing the nation as they travel.
"It's educational for the kids. They actually get to see everything," Cassidy says.
One of the places the family plans to visit is Smithton, Westmoreland County, where Cassidy's mother, actress Shirley Jones, grew up, and where Cassidy still has family.
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" also is a family experience for audiences, he says.
"You can bring anyone from 3 to 90," Cassidy says. "It's nice to got to the theater, listen to great music and leave with a big smile on your face."
"The story is so clever, and you leave the theater singing the songs and wanting to buy the album," Cassidy says.
Cassidy says he's finding new things in his role now that he's revisiting it.
"At my age, the fun is in finding that 20-year-old inside me, that energy they have," he says. "Joseph ages, but finding that spark has been fun for me."
The role also increases his incentive to stick with his morning workout to maintain his physique.
"I get to tramp around in a skirt all night," Cassidy says, referring to the Egyptian garb that reveals his bare -- and reportedly well-sculpted -- torso for most of the evening. "Eighty percent of the evening, I'm wearing just a skirt and shoes. I get to go to the gym and the tanning salon, and they (the producers) have to pay for it."
Attention-getting though that may be, it's not what keeps audiences coming to a musical that's long been a staple of high schools and musical theater companies.
"There's a reason the show has sustained itself since (Webber and Rice first created it in) 1968, and that's not the glitz and the costumes," Cassidy says. "There's also something in the show that's at the core of all of us -- family."
Patrick Cassidy reprises his role as 'Joseph' at The Marcus Center
By Kay Dahlke, Associate Editor
M Magazine - Milwaukee's Lifestyle Magazine
Sept. 2005 Issue
M: Let's take care of the obvious question right away; your brothers, David and Shaun, were tenn idols. Why didn't you follow in their footsteps?
PATRICK: They were thrust into the limelight when they were too young to know what was happening. Both of them had first singles that went right to number one. I believe they were the only brothers to do that in history. One-little girls grow up and stop buying their records. I know they both wanted to be actors, but they were steriotyped as teen idols. Having seen what happened to my brothers was eye opening. My choice was to go to New York theater to hone my craft. As a result, I put together what I consider a good resume. I'm on my seventh Broadway show.
M: What's your favorite to date?
PATRICK: They're all so different. It sounds corny but the role I'm playing at th time is the one. I'd have to say my last one, though, "42nd Street" is my most favorite. It was with my mother, Shirley Jones - her first time on stage in 38 years. It was tremendous and definitely significant to both of us.
M: Is it tough to follow Donny Osmond's portrayal of 'Joseph'?
PATRICK: Actually, I did the play five years ago, before he did. Each person comes to the role with his own ideas. I bring my own essence. As an actor I tend to look for humor, even in heavy dramatics. It allows me to laugh at myself and be comfortable with myself.
M: What part did you have in TV's 'According to Jim"?
PATRICK: I played Jim's sister-in-law's boss. I was a slick, not-nice guy. In the show I said something to the Dana character and Jim came to the office to defend her. He ends up telling me off, which costs Dana her job. It ws fun, kind of a reunion for Jim and me; we had done "Pirates of Penzance" together.
'Joseph' actors travel with their families
Cassidy traveling with wife, sons
By Rene Beasley Jones
Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro, KY
Sept. 2, 2005
On hands and knees, women work on Joseph's famed coat of many colors in the lobby of the RiverPark Center. The wardrobe prop will be worn in today's production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," the most recent made-in-Owensboro touring musical.
Just a few feet away, Joseph -- Patrick Cassidy, in real life -- dines on Chinese take-out at a nearby table with his wife, Melissa Hurley Cassidy. She's a dancer and actress who plays Mrs. Potiphar in the musical.
Before long, sons Cole, 10, and Jack, 7, join the couple for their 90-minute supper break. The boys, who sing in the musical's chorus, were pulled from rehearsals.
"Joseph" marks the first time the Cassidy family has gone on the road together for a full year. When Patrick Cassidy performed in "Aida," he toured for a year --mostly alone.
During that time, the family traveled with him for three months when school was out. However, at one point, the boys went six weeks without seeing their dad.
"This is much better," Melissa Hurley Cassidy said of a year on the road as a family. "Otherwise, you start building separate lives."
The Cassidys, who have been married nearly 12 years, hired a full-time nanny for the "Joseph" tour. Jacqueline Barr, 28, of California was student teaching at the boys' school when Barr learned the Cassidys needed a nanny.
She has visited cities on both coasts. "But I haven't traveled like this before," Barr said.
The boys will start school -- on the road, of course -- Sept. 12, Barr said. They'll have three to four hours of class a day.
Besides, roaming the nation for a year will prove educational, Patrick Cassidy said. "That's an amazing experience for a child."
He's the son of actors Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones, perhaps best known for her role as the mother of a musical family in TV's "The Partridge Family." Patrick Cassidy remembers summers on the road with his parents, visiting states such as Ohio, Texas and Missouri. "It was like a big vacation," he said.
Patrick Cassidy asked his sons if they wanted to come on the tour. Cole indicated he wanted to do both -- stay home and go -- until his parents told him he would be part of the show. Both boys seemed eager to be on stage.
Besides singing in the children's choir, Jack's other favorite part of the adventure so far: "We sometimes go in limos."
Perhaps Melissa Hurley Cassidy's least favorite part of the tour was packing for a family of four for a year on the road. Each member of the cast was allowed two suitcases and two carry-on bags, for a total of 200 pounds of luggage per person.
She packed one summer and one winter bag for herself. Patrick Cassidy did the same, and the couple shared a shoe bag.
Then, mom packed one bag for each son.
The "Joseph" cast will perform eight shows a week once they leave Owensboro. The company's day off each week is spent traveling to the next city.
Fame and Fortune: Patrick Cassidy
'Bubble fear' and family ties put him on the road again
BY TAMAR ALEXIA FLEISHMAN - BANKRATE.COM
August 30, 2005
Patrick Cassidy is doing his part to uphold the family's show-business dynasty.
The son of Shirley Jones and the late Jack Cassidy, brother of Shaun and Ryan, and half-brother of David, Patrick has had some big shoes to fill. He made his Broadway debut in 1981, as the lead in "Pirates of Penzance." He's also done stints with mom, Shirley, in "The Sound of Music" and "42nd Street." Currently, Cassidy is reviving a role he first played in 1999 on Broadway, as the lead in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." The tour will begin Sept. 6, 2005, in Milwaukee, Wis. Cassidy is expanding the family dynasty, too; his wife Melissa Hurley-Cassidy, along with sons Jack and Cole, are all appearing in the touring production.
When he's not on live stage, fans have been able to see Patrick Cassidy on television in "Dress Gray," a TV movie for which he received an Emmy nomination, and on guest appearances on TV series such as "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," "Smallville, "Without A Trace," " Law & Order: SVU," "Crossing Jordan" and "According to Jim."
His film credentials include playing Howard, the gay actor, in "Longtime Companion," the first feature film that dealt with the AIDS epidemic and a neglectful husband in "Man of Her Dreams," with Lysette Anthony.
BANKRATE: You seem to like the gypsy life of touring with a show. You've even sold your home and cars to go on the road. Tell me about that.
PATRICK: I don't know if "like" is the right word. It was all kind of coincidental. I was planning to sell the house anyway, the children were getting larger, and we were thinking about school districts. Then, they offered me the tour. I said, "Absolutely not!" They came back with a different offer. They included my wife and children in the offer. I thought about the real-estate market in California -- I think the real-estate bubble there will burst. I took the money and invested it. I bought the house nine years ago, so I made a nice profit. The producers were very extravagant with me, they pay all my living expenses, hired my wife and children. I hired a nanny and tutor for them. They will perform from time to time; they're not professionals.
BANKRATE: Are you a stage dad?
PATRICK: The truth is, they're young boys. Neither has aspirations to be in the business; I hope and pray that they don't. I did prepare them before the show, I taught them the whole score. I'm no "Father Rose," though.
BANKRATE: You have made the decision with your wife not to allow work to separate your family again. How would that work out if you were asked to film on location and your kids were happy in school?
PATRICK: We've broken the mold this time. That's one of the biggest problems performers have. We've been married over 12 years. We have a two-week rule; two weeks before one of us hops on a plane. We've broken that rule only recently. It's been closer to three weeks. When the children are ensconced in school, it will be harder.
BANKRATE: You have an autobiographical one-man show in the works. Tell me about the process of getting that off the ground.
PATRICK: It's been a long time coming, growing up in a family where every single person is in show business. It's our family business, just like another family might own a shoe store or a drug store. We still have our squabbles, our pitfalls and heroic events. I do songs both my parents did. As for financing the show, I'm in the process of working it out. I got an offer. I did my first rendition, about 40 minutes, in Newport Beach at a ladies' luncheon. I also did it at the Manhattan Theater Club. I hired an agent.
BANKRATE: Tell me about the pros and cons of trying to carve out a career when you come from a famous family.
PATRICK: The pros: All these people are ahead of you. You have examples of what to do or not to do. But the higher you climb, the harder you fall. I made a conscious choice to study acting in New York. I worked with people like Treat Williams, Ellen Burstyn.
BANKRATE: You made the decision to go into acting, after seeing their examples, and not recording. Why?
PATRICK: I saw how short-lived it is, with the last name Cassidy. Sure, there were offers after I finished high school, "Dress him just right, give him a catchy tune to sing." I had that all accessible.
BANKRATE: Unlike filming a television show, for example, a Broadway show requires you to use your vocal chords almost every night. What precautions or expenses do you have in preserving your voice?
PATRICK: As many expenses as you can think of. Any musical person will tell you. Like, quiet, staying quiet. Humidifiers in my room and dressing room. All kinds of remedies. I had vocal chord surgery; my range was decreasing. As a young child, I did a lot of screaming. It's made me very conscious of how I use my voice.
BANKRATE: The income of an actor can go up and down. Do you have investments?
PATRICK: Yeah. For the first time since I was single, all the money I make goes for investments, for my wife and children. We were cash poor, and then the job came. I have very few bills: no mortgage, insurance payments, car payments. I just have cell phone and credit card bills. Now, the government might come calling to get me to pay up, now that I don't have all the write-offs!
BANKRATE: Do you manage your own money, or do you get help?
PATRICK: I've always had a business manager. Both my brothers and I didn't get a lot of money from my father's estate. I got $80,000 from an insurance policy. Then, my mother's business manager embezzled it. Now, with my manager, I was with him for 20 years, he's retiring. The new guy, he's almost like family. And, my cousin is a broker. I have a bookkeeper, too.
BANKRATE: You are active with AIDS causes. How did you select that charity?
PATRICK: Through being a member of the theater: It's been decimated by HIV and AIDS. I have seen some of the greatest artists taken away from this planet. It's my obligation to bring some awareness.
Patrick Cassidy Named Top Five Dreamcoat Star
BY BROADWAY WORLD NEWS DESK
April 12, 2005
Patrick Cassidy, recently tagged to star in a new Troika-produced U.S. tour of the family-friendly Broadway musical, has been named one of the World's Top Five ranked stars of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
As reported by gueststarcasting.com, Cassidy is second only to former teen idol Donny Osmond among the top ranked Joseph performers.
Cassidy edged out heartthrob Rikki Lee Travolta who flexes his muscles for the figurative bronze with a third place ranking. Brian Lane Green of Days of Our Lives fame and U.K. singer Darren Day make up the rest of the elite Top Five headliner list.
Cassidy, of the famous family of actors and singers, made his Broadway debut replacing Robbie Benson in Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. He gained national attention starring as Johnny Castle in the television spin off of the film Dirty Dancing.
Cassidy most recently appeared on Broadway opposite his mother Shirley Jones of Partridge Family fame in 42nd Street. He previously played Joseph opposite pop singer turned actress Deborah Gibson as the pivotal narrator role. For the upcoming tour, American Idol contestant Amy Adams plays the narrator.
All of the Top Three ranked Joseph headliners - Osmond, Cassidy, and Travolta - hail from famous performing families but went on to achieve fame in their own right.
Statistically, of the Top Five, three are over 40 - Osmond, Green, and Cassidy. Day, at 36, is as famous for his co-star romances and fleeing from the altar, failed engagements as for his onstage performances. Travolta, at 29, has been nicknamed the Dreamboat in a Dreamcoat� by the media for his pristine features and chiseled physique.
Additional popular ranked Joseph guest stars include former Young and the Restless soap opera actor Michael Damian, Star Search winner Sam Harris, Cuban singer Jon Secada, original Broadway star Bill Hutton, former Australian soap opera actor Jason Donovan, and Irish pop star Stephen Gately.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, from creators Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, is one of the most popular theatrical musicals in rotation today. Official productions are currently running in London's West End and Africa, with additional companies touring the U.K., Mexico, and Italy. In 2000 a DVD was released of the musical with Osmond in the starring role.
Rankings are compiled based upon cumulative and recent box office receipts, overall marquee name power, critical review, and consumer demand.
Mom-Son History at '42nd St'
Shirley Jones and son Patrick Cassidy return to Broadway and make their mark
BY BLAKE GREEN
NEWSDAY STAFF WRITER
June 15, 2004
Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy are casting long shadows these days: In separate dance numbers, their magnified silhouettes loom against the back wall of the Ford Center stage, where they've recently joined the cast of "42nd Street." As far as anyone can say, they also appear to have made theatrical history as the first mother-son duo to star in a Broadway musical.
In the long-running revival of the 1980 backstage musical based on a 1933 movie, Jones plays Dorothy Brock, a slightly long- in-the-tooth diva of an actress starring in a show directed by the legendary, silver-haired Julian Marsh - Cassidy's role.
The silver hair is Cassidy's own. "I began turning gray in my 20s," said the tall, 43-year-old actor, who cuts a dashing figure in Marsh's three-piece suits.
Jones' and Cassidy's onstage relationship is a combative one - Marsh has eyes only for the ingenue - but "the chance to order her around" had its pleasantly perverse moments, Cassidy said kiddingly over lunch with his mother the other day.
The thrill was fleeting. Having both debuted on Broadway as teenagers, mother and son approached one another onstage strictly as characters. A few lines were inserted into the script to capitalize on the mother-son phenomenon, but "nobody laughs when I call him 'Sonny boy,'" said Jones.
The mother's return to Broadway
Returning to Broadway for the first time in more than 35 years, the 70-year-old Jones has found some changes in the business. Having "almost fainted" when asked to sign a three-page statement about the production's policy toward sexual harassment - as all cast members are requested to do - she recalled her first Broadway show, "South Pacific" in 1949. As Jones was about to troop out onstage in the chorus of nurses singing, "I'm in love, I'm in love ... ," an actor standing in the wings behind her "stuck his hand down the back of my bikini," she said. She pantomimed her startled-chorine reaction as well as the "whap" she gave him. "He didn't try that again. It was a different world."
Better known for movie musicals - "Oklahoma" (1955), "Carousel" (1956) and "The Music Man" (1962) - Jones won an Academy Award for a dramatic role in 1960's "Elmer Gantry." She reminds her son, "I was pregnant with you when I picked up the Oscar." Twenty- five years later, Patrick had a small role in "Fever Pitch," which, like "Gantry," was directed by Richard Brooks.
A family affair
In her last Broadway musical, 1968's "Maggie Flynn," Jones played opposite her husband Jack Cassidy (who died in 1976 in an apartment fire), the father of Patrick, as well as David, Shaun and Ryan Cassidy, who all have worked in show business. The actress is best known, however, as the matriarch of another family of performers, "The Partridge Family" in the '70s ABC sitcom. Its cast, including David Cassidy, her stepson, reunited briefly on NBC's "Today" show to reminisce and talk about a proposed reality show in which the old Partridge family would pick a new one.
Jones and son Patrick also have acted together before, in a touring production of "The Sound of Music" when he was 16.
The son's debut on Broadway
Shortly afterward, when a broken collarbone ended his dreams of playing football, Cassidy turned to acting and made his Broadway debut in 1981's "The Pirates of Penzance." Approached about following in the footsteps of his two older brothers as a pop-music teen idol, he instead chose a varied career, acting in film, television and theater. His musical credits include "Aida," "Annie Get Your Gun" and the role of Leon Czolgosz in the original 1991 Off-Broadway production of "Assassins."
"I have my priorities in the right place," he says, listing them as "my wife first, my children second and my career third." He has two sons, 8 and 5, with his wife, Melissa Hurley, a dancer.
Jones and Cassidy, who live near each other in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, are currently ensconced in neighboring midtown apartments as well as dressing rooms at the theater. "I let her have the star dressing room," says Cassidy; she also gets the final curtain call.
In recent years, Jones has settled into a career of concerts and speaking engagements, to which she'll return when her "42nd Street" contract is up. She also has noticed changes in the questions she gets in these public appearances: "When I started, I'd be asked where was I born [Smithton, Pa.], how did I get into show business [under contract to Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein], was I married [twice, currently to former comedian Marty Ingels]. Now I'm asked if I've ever had a face-lift and if I'm going to retire." Her answer to both is no.
Shirley Jones and son embrace '42 Street' roles
By MARK KENNEDY
Associated Press Writer
May 21, 2004
NEW YORK - This summer, the frothy musical "42nd Street" has taken a decidedly Freudian turn.
Shirley Jones and her son, Patrick Cassidy, have joined the Broadway production, adding a pinch of psychodrama to the story of an aging, cantankerous stage diva who battles her younger tyrannical director.
Needless to say, both characters are at each other's throats for most of the night. "I called my therapist immediately and said, 'Listen, cancel all my sessions for the next four months. I can just get it out on stage,"' Cassidy says with a chuckle.
Jones nods grimly: "Patrick is getting even for all of his baby years."
All joking aside, the pair seem to have playfully embraced what show producers say is the first time in history that a mother and son are starring together in a Broadway musical.
"It's natural," mom says.
"It feels very, very easy," her son agrees.
Jones, 70, the former matriarch of TV's "The Partridge Family" and who won an Academy Award in 1960 for "Elmer Gantry," plays Dorothy Brock to Cassidy's Julian Marsh in the revival.
"The nice thing is that the roles are very suited for us as individuals," Cassidy says. "I mean, I could play this part without her being there, and she could play the part without me being there."
You might expect Jones, who has appeared in such classic musical films as "The Music Man," "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel," to be offering tips to her son. But it's Cassidy, 42, who has made his career on the stage.
While Jones was last on Broadway in 1968 in "Maggie Flynn" opposite her husband Jack Cassidy, their son has racked up Broadway credits in "Aida," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Pirates of Penzance" and "Leader of the Pack," as well as the original off-Broadway production of "Assassins."
That puts Cassidy in the driver's seat - for now.
"I feel it's a little role-reversal for me," he says. "I've done this for much of my career, and this is the first time for her in a long time. I feel very maternal, that sense of wanting to take care of her. It's a lot different than it was in 1968."
Jones credits her son with teaching her to conserve energy on stage and to manage new technologies, such as the show's wireless microphone that snakes through her costume and hides on her forehead.
"He has been a marvelous help," she says. "I'm not accustomed to taking orders from my son. But he'll say, 'Mother, you have to do it this way, or this is going to happen' - and he's right. He knows this better than I do."
The two have made a temporary home in a Manhattan brownstone - she in the top apartment and he in the bottom. They rehearse together, travel to the theater together and wander the city together.
"The whole experience of being in New York and on Broadway is really wonderful because I get to go through it with her," Cassidy says. "That, in itself, has been very unique and wonderful for a mother and a son."
So, absolutely no friction with living with mom?
"Talk to us in another month or two," Cassidy responds sarcastically. "I can promise you this: We're not the Waltons."
It's not really a stretch to say Cassidy was born into show business. Unlike his brothers Shaun and Ryan or half brother David, Patrick made his debut, quite literally, in utero.
Jones was heavily pregnant with Patrick throughout the filming of "The Music Man" opposite Robert Preston. During the stars' one and only screen kiss, Preston felt a kick from his co-star's stomach.
"What was that?" Jones recalled Preston asking. She explained.
Years later, Cassidy was doing a benefit in New York with Preston and was eager to meet his mom's old colleague. Cassidy hesitantly knocked on Preston's door and the older actor opened it.
"Oh, Mr. Preston, I'm so happy to meet you. My name is Patrick Cassidy," he said. Preston took three steps back, eyed his visitor, and replied: "I know. We've already met."
Jones and Cassidy have appeared together on stage only once before: In 1977, mom and her 15-year-old son hit the road to do a summer stock production of "The Sound of Music." Cassidy says he was just trying to earn enough cash to buy a car.
By high school, Cassidy had no intention of following a career in show biz. He was a stand-out quarterback until breaking his collarbone in the third game of his senior year. During his six weeks in rehab, he wandered over to the drama department.
They were doing, appropriately enough, a production of "The Music Man."
"I got hooked," he says.
"I wanted a doctor or a lawyer!" Jones wails in mock frustration.
Cassidy has worked hard in the interim making sure he didn't follow in his older sibling's more famous footsteps. Both Shaun ("The Hardy Boys") and David ("The Partridge Family") struggled after an early burst of fame. Ryan, the youngest son, is a set decorator.
"I somehow or other managed to steer clear of the whole teen-idol thing and try to get some legitimacy and therefore some longevity," Patrick says. "The teen-idol ride, while it's a great way to get a lot of money, it's really hard to sustain it for any more than three or four years."
Miracle on '42nd Street'
New York Newsday
May 9, 2004
MOTHERS! What do they want? Well, there is one who didn't know that she wanted to co-star with her handsome son, until the day this mom, known to us as Shirley Jones, said to him, "They've asked me to play the diva, Dorothy Brock, in the wonderful production of "42nd Street" at the Ford Center on 42nd Street.
"That's funny, Mom," answered son Patrick, as in Cassidy, "because they asked me to play Julian Marsh, the tyrannical director, in the same production." "Well," smiled Shirley, "do you want to?" "I'll do it, if you do it," he flirted back. And so for the first time in nearly 40 years, Jones returns to her roots in the New York theater and, for the first time, a mother and a son star together on Broadway. And this weekend is when they open in this classic.
Over a chicken sandwich in Sardi's, before running off to rehearsals, Shirley recalled when we both knew her adorable agent, Gus Schirmer Jr. "He started everything for me," she remembered. "His tiny house in Watermill, where he barbecued endlessly, and nothing came out at the same time. He was special."
Jones made her Broadway debut in the original "South Pacific," and co-starred with her late husband, Jack Cassidy, in "Maggie Flynn." She went on to win an Oscar for the movie "Elmer Gantry" (playing
sensationally against type as a hooker) and made such memorable films as "Okla- homa!," "Carousel" and "The Music Man." Later, she became one of TV's quintessential moms as the matriarch of "The Partridge Family" and watched as her stepson, David Cassidy, became a huge teen idol. Her son Shaun also had his moment as a pop sensation.
"You know, almost my entire family hangs on the back wall in this restaurant," she said. We left our sandwiches and went to inspect all the Cassidys - Patrick, David, Shaun and their father, Jack. "I hope I get one of my own, so I can hang out with them at last," sighed Jones.
Shirley celebrated a big birthday in March and her husband, Marty Ingels, gave her a surprise party. (Shirley and Marty have had an enduring, if sometimes wacky, volatile marriage.) He shipped just about everyone she has ever known to California. "It was grand, but I missed Gus," she mused.
Welcome back to Broadway, Shirley. We've missed you.
Family fun on 42nd
By PATRICIA O'HAIRE
SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, May 7, 2004
Shirley Jones and son Patrick Cassidy will make Broadway history.
There's a new "Lullaby of Broadway" - and with it Shirley Jones and Patrick Cassidy are making musical-comedy history.
When they appear in "42nd Street" tonight, they'll become the first mother and son to star together in a Broadway musical.
"I must be crazy," says the one-time matriarch of TV's "Partridge Family," smiling and frowning at the same time.
"The last time I was onstage here was in 'Maggie Flynn' - with Patrick's father, Jack."
That was more than 35 years ago, in 1968. Eight years later, Jack Cassidy died in a fire. The next year, Jones married funnyman Marty Ingels, who's now her manager.
"I just celebrated my 70th birthday. I have three sons [Shaun, the former teen idol, and Ryan, a Hollywood set dresser, are the other two], a stepson [David, the teen idol who was her "Partridge Family" co-star] and six grandchildren. And I have this nice big house in California and a dog I miss terribly!"
Nevertheless, with Patrick's prodding, Jones finally agreed to play the aging diva Dorothy Brock in the long-running revival, opposite Cassidy's irascible Julian Marsh.
They'll be at the Ford Center through Aug. 1.
"I get to yell at her all night," says Cassidy with a laugh. "There's a certain therapeutic aspect to that!"
His mother lets that one slip by.
Besides "The Partridge Family," Jones is best known for her films "Carousel," "Oklahoma!" and "The Music Man" and her Academy Award-winning performance in 1960's "Elmer Gantry."
Patrick's Broadway credits include "Aida," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Leader of the Pack" and "The Pirates of Penzance."
"It's really great to see someone I'm very familiar with [onstage]," says Cassidy, the 42-year-old father of two boys. "I think some of the lines will register differently [with audiences] and I think we'll get extra laughs."
Why did it take Jones so long to say yes to Broadway again?
"The thought of doing eight shows a week, traveling to the theater and back every night - I didn't want to do it."
Then Ingels read the script and said, "You know who'd be perfect in this? Patrick!"
"There were a series of 'I'll-do-it-if-you'll-do-it' phone calls. Finally, I said, 'Okay, if you'll do it, I will, too.'
"And here we are."
'Aida' performer from famous family
By Stacy Wolford
Friday, February 22, 2002
Patrick Cassidy is no stranger to the Mon Valley.
In fact, it was his great-grandfather, William B. Jones, who founded the Jones Brewery in Smithton in 1907.
And for those who haven't figured it out yet, he's the son of Smithton's most notable native, award-winning actress Shirley Jones.
While he only has a few distant relatives still living in Smithton, Cassidy says he enjoys visiting the area when he can.
And he'll get that chance while visiting Pittsburgh as he is currently starring in "Aida," Disney's Tony-award winning musical love story.
"Aida" will play through March 10 at the Pittsburgh Benedum Center. Based on an ancient legend, "Aida" is brought to life on the stage by composers Elton John and Tim Rice.
Paulette Ivory stars as "Aida" a Nubian princess who falls in love with her Egyptian captor, "Radames," portrayed by Cassidy.
Cassidy, born in Los Angeles, Calif. is the son of Jones and the late Jack Cassidy.
As the son of two well-known entertainers, Cassidy grew up in the circle of entertainment. Jones, who was crowned Miss Pittsburgh in 1952, is also well known for her role in the long-running classic television show "The Partridge Family."
Cassidy's half-brother, David Cassidy, also starred on the show. Jones and Jack Cassidy had two other sons, in addition to Patrick, Shaun Paul and Ryan John Cassidy.
Cassidy, who calls Los Angeles home, says he's enjoying his current role in "Aida." He is married to dancer Melissa Hurley Cassidy and they have two children, Cole Cassidy and Jack Cassidy.
"It's been a real challenge, especially when you're singing nine songs per show," said Cassidy during a telephone interview while in Cincinnati, Ohio.
If anyone's up to the challenge, it's Cassidy, who brings years of musical theatre and television experience to the "Aida" cast.
He's appeared in such Broadway shows as "Annie Get Your Gun," "Pirates of Penzance," "Leader of the Pack." Among his national musical theatre tours, he has performed in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," playing Joseph, and again in "Pirates of Penzance."
Cassidy also appeared in the films "Longtime Companion," "I'll Do Anything," "I Won't Dance," and "Burning Love."
He's also had parts on television shows as NBC's "Bay City Blues," CBS's "Dirty Dancing," and HBO's "Perversions of Science."
Cassidy's singing abilities are also showcased on such recordings as "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and "Sondheim, A Musical Tribute at Carnegie Hall."
Cassidy said audiences will love "Aida."
"The story is great from beginning to end," Cassidy said. And in true Disney fashion, its ending is a touching tearjerker, he added.
Disney's 'Aida' reimagines Verdi's classic opera
By Alice T. Carter
February 17, 2002
Photo: Joan Marcus
The "Aida" that sails into Pittsburgh Wednesday for a three-week stay bears as much resemblance to Giuseppe Verdi's 1871 classic opera as a DVD does to a pyramid full of hieroglyphics.
It's not Verdi's "Aida," or your grandmother's.
It's Disney's "Aida."
Since its beginning last March, Patrick Cassidy has headed the cast of 29 as Radames.
That's a long time to be on the road, says Cassidy, the son of actress Shirley Jones, a Smithton native, and the late actor Jack Cassidy. In the past, he's done national tours of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" and "The Pirates of Penzance," as well as regional and Broadway shows that kept him far from home, such as his 1998 appearance as Lancelot in the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera production of "Camelot."
But with marriage to dancer Melissa Hurley Cassidy and being the father of two small children, Cole and Young Jack Cassidy, life on the road is less attractive.
After a nine-week stint of "Aida" in Los Angeles allowed him to spend time at home, Cassidy was reluctant to return to the road for the remaining weeks of his contract. "I'm a hands-on dad," he says, "so the time away is horrendous."
But Cassidy's spirits picked up recently when Paulette Ivory joined the cast as Aida. Ivory, a British actress and singer who originated the role of Nala in the London production of "The Lion King, " took over the role three weeks ago.
"When Paulette came in, she became the creative juice," says Cassidy during the break between the matinee and evening performances during the show's stop in Cincinnati. "She helped me reinvest my directive as an actor to go back and look at the part with someone else and to bring a new dimension to the show."
Ivory, who was still catching her breath after joining "Aida" in Tulsa, Okla., had jumped at the chance to tour with the show. "There's not another role like it," she says. The producers and the director gave her a lot of latitude in making the part her own, she says. "There's a vulnerability about me that I bring to the character."
"And a British accent," teases Cassidy.
"We have different energies, so I can bring a lot to the role," Ivory says. "I get to play so many emotions. She's brave and witty and has a sense of humor I like to play around with. At the most extreme moment, she'll say something funny."
Plus, she adds, "I get to sing great songs with Patrick. He's an excellent actor, consistent and committed to everything he does. I feel very blessed to have Patrick as my Radames. He makes the job easy."
Cassidy says his character, Radames, is an idealist trapped in circumstances he doesn't understand. "He's somebody screaming to get out. (Aida) allows him to come forward with this feelings."
After Pittsburgh, Cassidy has one more city to go before his contract ends in Cleveland on March 24. But, unlike Radames, he's not screaming to get out.
"The reason I do theater," Cassidy says, "is to get artistic satisfaction."
Tour star Patrick Cassidy says 'Aida' sells itself
By Barbara Vancheri, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 17, 2002
Patrick Cassidy calls "Aida" a word-of-mouth show, and he should know. He's been headlining the Disney musical eight times a week for a year.
"It's a show that audiences just go crazy for. It's the kind of show, right after the performance, after they've stood up and applauded overwhelmingly, they then go to buy tickets again for another performance or they tell their friends to buy tickets."
Uncharacteristicallylong engagements allow first-nighters or first-weekers to tell their pals, who still have plenty of time to secure seats. On Wednesday, "Aida" will open a three-week run at the Benedum Center.
The 40-year-old Cassidy, son of Shirley Jones and the late Jack Cassidy, started rehearsals for "Aida" in February 2001 and opened the tour a month later in Minneapolis. Pittsburgh falls toward the end of his commitment; he will leave after an engagement in Cleveland, although the tour will continue.
He thinks six months with a show may be ideal, but he signed a year's contract and has been doing eight shows a week ever since. "The touring aspect, although in many ways it makes it much harder because the traveling is very difficult on you -- physically, emotionally, vocally -- does allow it to be sort of new in each city."
Each city has an opening night, a new venue and a chance to make it fresh. Paulette Ivory recently stepped into the role of Aida, and that has helped Cassidy to rediscover his character.
This isn't the longest Cassidy has ever been with a show. A day after turning 20, he replaced Robby Benson in "The Pirates of Penzance" on Broadway. Described by the New York Daily News then as "tall and thin, with curly blond hair" and the prey of autograph hounds on 45th Street, he stayed with the production for a year and a half.
"I was totally green," he recalls. With each passing year, he feels more confident and comfortable on stage.
Talking by cell phone from Cincinnati, he adds, "Mike Nichols was quoted as saying for every true minute on the stage, it requires four hours of rehearsal, and I believe in that in terms of the craft." He learned along the way, but he also took classes and followed the family advice to be diligent.
His mother had been pregnant with Patrick during the filming of "The Music Man." (When co-star Robert Preston leaned over to kiss Jones, he was surprised to get a kick from her hidden but ballooning midsection.) Cassidy is brother of actor turned producer Shaun Cassidy, and half brother of former teen idol David Cassidy, and he is the stepson of Marty Ingels.
"I think the one thing they all conveyed to me is don't take for granted that you come from a show business family, because you ain't gonna survive on that. [The name] Cassidy is not going to get you that far. It's going to close as many doors as it opens, and it did."
So diligence became his watchword as he navigated Broadway, off-Broadway, national tours, other theatrical productions, films and TV.
A stint in Vegas with "EFX," a $45 million special-effects extravaganza, helped prepare him for the elaborate staging of "Aida," which creates a pyramid from laser lights, uses 112 yards of silk to mimic the Nile and allows performers to appear to be swimming in a palace spa -- courtesy of waist harnesses that pivot.
"I've worked with pyro and hydraulic dinosaurs that fight. I've seen some pretty wild things. It's all par for the course and, to be honest, it's also what makes it fun and captivating."
Cassidy had been attracted by the chance to work with Disney -- "they're sort of at the top of the game right now, in terms of big productions in New York" -- and Elton John. "It merges the two things I have worked on in my career. I grew up being a pop singer, a big fan of Elton's, and then I started training my voice for more legit theater as I got older." The dramatic book allows Cassidy to merge his "acting chops with rock-pop music, which is really kind of fun."
As is the case on Broadway, where top tickets fetch $95, the touring seats aren't inexpensive. They range from $26.50 to $60.
"Ticket prices are really expensive. Really expensive today. But it's a real rare thing when you pay that kind of money for a ticket and you go into a theater and see a show that not only has amazing production values and ... incredible Disney magic that is all over this show. Great music, big-time singing, and you get to actually show emotions at the end. People cry all the time. That, to me, is worth the price of this ticket."
When Cassidy comes to Pittsburgh, he hopes to visit his mother's hometown of Smithton, a town of four square blocks about 30 miles south of here. "I remember going to see Pirate games as a kid. My family's going to come; I'm going to hang out with them, show them the ins and outs of Pittsburgh."
Cassidy, married to dancer Melissa Hurley Cassidy, is the father of boys ages 6 (a terrific singer with perfect pitch) and 3. Asked if his sons want to pursue the family business, he says, "I really hope they don't, but if they do, I'll support them 100 percent."
All In The Family
Patrick Cassidy follows his star to 'Aida'
By James D. Watts, Jr.
Tulsa Word January 23, 2002
It could be said of Patrick Cassidy that show business is in his blood.
He is, after all, the son of Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones, the natural brother of singer-actor turned writer-producer Shaun and halfbrother to teen-idol turned Vegas headliner David.
But, the way Cassidy himself recalls it, show business was really just something in the air.
"When you grow up in Los Angeles where you're more or less surrounded by show business, you think that this is what everybody does," Cassidy said. "Just about everyone I knew growing up - my family certainly, and most of our friends - went into show business, and a lot of them were pretty successful at it. And you can't help but think, 'Hey this seems like a pretty sweet deal.'"
For Cassidy, the acting bug bit forcefully when he was 15, when he was cast in a summer stock production of "The Sound of Music." He started taking drama classes at high school, gave up his early dreams of playing football, and set out for New York soon after graduation.
And that was when reality set in.
"It's not until you start working in this business that you realize that acting is a craft, not just playing at pretending," he said. "It's a skill - a collection of skills, really - that requires constant training. And that's what I've been doing for the past 20 years."
Cassidy made the decision to start out in the theatre, primarily because of his love of the stage, but also because he had witnessed firsthand the difficulties of maintaining a career founded on the fickle tastes of teen-idol worshippers.
It is a decision that has paid off handsomely, allowing Cassidy to keep working consistently and landing high-profile roles in such shows as Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins," the national tour of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," and the recent Broadway revival of "Annie Get Your Gun."
Nor has he had to limit his efforts to the stage, appearing in such films as "Longtime Companion" and "I'll Do Anything," as well as playing a recurring character in the TV series "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman."
"I love doing TV, if only because the financial rewards can be so great and I would be able to spend more time at home," Cassidy said. "But nothing is more creatively, artistically rewarding than doing musicals.
"That's especially true of 'Aida,' because this is the most demanding thing I've ever done," he said. "The score is demanding, and the singing is nonstop. And the dramatic and emotional stakes are so much higher, so that going for those heights night after night can be incredibly draining."
Cassidy has portrayed the Egyptian captain Radames in the national tour of "Aida," the Elton John-Tim Rice musical, since this Disney-produced spectacular hit the road in March 2001.
Radames finds himself caught between two women: the Egyptian noblewoman Amneris (Kelli Fournier), who has been chosen to be his wife, and the Nubian princess Aida (Paulette Ivory) who has captured his heart.
The show's Tulsa engagement is Ivory's debut in the title role, and Cassidy said he is looking forward to the challenge of working with a new leading lady.
"Paulette's coming in, I think, gives a boost to the whole show," he said. "I've been doing this role for nine months now, and having to work with someone new is a way for me to get back to the basics of the character and rediscover who Radames is.
"That's the way I approach any role," Cassidy said. "I look at who this person is, try to figure out what he wants, and then go from there. Fortunately, the journey for Radames is pretty specific, but there are always little things you discover and try to bring out."
The current tour is Cassidy's first experience in playing Radames, but that's not because of a lack of effort. He auditioned for the role when the show was still in the development stages and known as "Elaborate Lives."
"It came down to myself and another guy, and he ended up with it," Cassidy said. "Then it went to Atlanta, where they had all sorts of problems."
Cassidy later saw the show when it finally reached Broadway, with Adam Pascal ("Rent")as Radames, and his assessment of "Aida" took an upward turn.
"It was this amazing show," he said. "And that went beyond the technical aspects. It was a real book musical, something that you don't see too much these days. The scenes were rooted in strong acting choices, and the music was incredible.
"I realized it was a show that would let me use everything I had, the range was right for my voice. I knew I'd be right for the role. A month later, they started casting for the national tour, and this time I got the role."
Cassidy's contract with "Aida" expires in March, and he's doubtful that he will renew. The demands of touring mean long months away from his family, wife Melissa Hurley Cassidy and sons Cole and Jack.
Still, sometimes the joys of family can be as stressful as eight shows a week of "Aida."
"During the Christmas season, the tour was in Los Angeles, which for me was going home," he said. "But in between doing the shows and doing all the family things, it turned out to be the most exhausting experience of my life. Normally, I hate being away from home for one day, but I have to admit I was kind of looking forward to getting back on the road again, just to get some rest."
Aida's Man In The Middle
By Nancy C. Hermann
Tulsa PAC Intermission January 2002
Forget that Patrick Cassidy comes from a dynasty of star performers (Shirley Jones, Jack Cassidy, brothers Shaun and David). And let's not dwell on his infamous abs - a popular topic with reviewers. He's a lead player in a touring Disney production, doing eight shows a week. Over the course of his two-week Tulsa run, he will sing a combined total of 142 songs for about 38,000 people.
Holy King Tut! That takes talent.
"The only thing about doing eight shows a week is, you really have to pace yourself," says Cassidy in between performances of Disney's Aida in L.A. "It calls upon your chops vocally and upon all your stuff emotionally. You are constantly having to say to yourself, 'Okay, let's gear it up again; let's get going.' As an actor, I always try to find something new every time I go on stage. I try to notice something about the other characters. It could be something about the way they are dressed or an expression on their face I hadn't seen before. That keeps the performance fresh. It keeps it new. Within that realm, you play the character; you play the part."
Playing the part has been uppermost in Cassidy's mind ever since he gave up possible careers on the football field and in the courtroom for life on another kind of stage. He's always thought of himself as an actor who happens to sing. When injuries prevented him from pursuing sports, and the prospect of working as a criminal lawyer was eclipsed by another, more glamorous form of grandstanding, Cassidy found himself performing in the national company of Pirates of Penzance when he was only 19. His stage and screen credits built from there.
Broadway audiences tasted Cassidy's talent through his title role in the U.S. national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the off-Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, in which he originated the part of the Balladeer. Most recently, he took the reins from Tom Wopat in Broadway's Annie Get Your Gun, playing opposite Cheryl Ladd. His television exposure has included a regular spot on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and numerous theatre parts and mini-series.
Returning to the era of Pharoahs for another musical, Cassidy sings the role of Radames, a military captain who is trapped in more ways than one. He is betrothed to the Princess of Egypt, Amneris (played by Kelli Fournier), but in love with her slave, Aida (Paulette Ivory). Radames' father is eager for the power and position he would have when Radames is married to the throne. Aida is a princess from Nubia - a great foe of the dynasty Radames serves. If he pursues his love for Aida, he turns his back on his father, his country, and his future queen.
"Radames is caught in this incredible dilemma," Cassidy explains. "He's stuck in a job he doesn't like. He doesn't want to marry the woman everyone expects him to marry. What attracts him to Aida is he's never seen anybody stand up to life the way she does. She serves as an example of what he's wanted to do but hasn't had the courage. Through her, he finds courage and his own place. He discovers true love and ultimately himself. I think he has a tremendous amount of integrity. He finally finds something worth dying for. True love is worth dying for, and sort of speaking up and being honest is worth dying for."
The story follows the plot of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida. Elton John and Tim Rice wrote the score after the tremendous success they found with The Lion King. The song "Elaborate Lives," sung by Radames and Aida, is said to be John's all-time favorite, and has proven to be a crowd pleaser as well. Rice and John's Aida stays fairly close to the opera plot, with an ending that's a bit happier and hopeful.
"The biggest message of Aida is 'love is eternal,'" says Cassidy. "It's something I've believed forever. The message that resonates from the show is that love is what we leave behind - what continues on after us."
"With ticket prices what they are today, it's really nice to go to the theatre and really get every penny of the ticket," offers Cassidy. "This show has incredible production values. You have two Tony Award winners in the lighting and set and costume designers, and you have the wonderful Disney magic they bring to all their shows. There is so much eye candy, great music, terrific talent and wonderful dancing. That, to me, is what a musical should be."
Contributing to the magic, the strength of Cassidy's acting and voice makes his part pivotal, and appropriately so. "Caught between romancing Aida and rebuffing Amneris, the role of Radames is less developed, but Patrick Cassidy's rich vocals and strong presence prevail," trumpeted the Denver Post. "Patrick Cassidy gives a vibrant performance as Radames. His voice and acting are powerful and he looks like a leader of the Egyptian army. Compared with the Broadway version, Patrick has a virile look and clear voice," said Talkin' Broadway, for which another reviewer wrote, "Patrick Cassidy as Radames is cut from the cloth of those classic leading men we don't see much on Broadway anymore."
Disney’s Aida Is Timeless Saga
By Gretchen S. Collins
Urban Tulsa Weekly January 17, 2002
There is no such thing as a sure thing. Just ask Patrick Cassidy. One might think the son of Academy Award-winning actress and singer Shirley Jones and the late great Jack Cassidy might land the talented young man a part in any show of his choosing. A foot in the door, certainly, but it’s still the same old story: initiative, talent, hard work and being in the right place at the right time are required to land the plum roles.
And so when Disney’s Aida plays the Chapman Music Hall of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center January 23-27, you’ll note that Patrick Cassidy has his work cut out as he stars as Radames, the soldier Aida loves. And yes, he is a part of that Cassidy family. His brothers are Shaun Cassidy who currently produces the FOX hit “24,” and bonus brother, internationally known singer David Cassidy. Patrick is married to dancer Melissa Hurley Cassidy with whom he has two sons Cole and young Jack Cassidy.
With a performing background like this it must have been inevitable that the stage would call. But Cassidy is fan as well as performer. He saw Aida and an idea was born. “I’d gone in to see the show with no sort of expectation. I’d never seen the opera before. I just bought a ticket as I often do. I pretty much see everything when I’m in New York. I was absolutely knocked over.
“The production was beautifully done and the music was terrific. I’m a huge fan of Elton John, having grown up singing his songs and listening to his music for most of my youth. I realized, as we often do as actors, I can play that part. I can do something with that role.”
A few months later Cassidy received a call notifying him that a national tour of Aida was being formed. He was asked to portray Radames. “Disney flew me out for an audition in New York and I got the part.”
The story comes from Giuseppe Verdi’s opera by the same name. The two mesh into an ancient doomed love story with a decidedly contemporary flare.
Aida, a Nubian princess who has been taken from her homeland, falls in love with her captor, Radames. But Princess Amneris has already claimed him. One of Cassidy’s favorite scenes in Aida is when Radames confesses his love for Aida. “They reprise the song at the end which is my favorite moment in the show–-I don’t want to divulge it because it gives it away, but it’s a really beautiful, incredibly emotional moment.”
Although Aida is a 3,500-year old love story it has relevance for today. “The great thing about this show–-put aside all the incredible things the show has to offer production-wise, music-wise. That’s a given. That’s what Disney brings to the table. What this show says, right now, is so poignant. It’s one of those issues that stands the test of time, which is that love is eternal. Love is the one thing that this planet has to offer that continues to go on even after we die. That’s what this story is. The love of your life is the love of your life, no matter who it is. In this case, the creators have presented that really well.”
Although many a play has found Cassidy dancing, in Aida he does not. There’s an upside to that. “I don’t have to sweat all over my costumes. However, it is definitely the most demanding vocal show I’ve ever had to do. I sing nine songs. That means on matinee day I’m doing 18. The range is incredibly high. It’s where Elton (John) sang in his 20s!”
Singers have to constantly guard the health of their voices by keeping quiet when not performing and working out to stay in shape. “You gear your whole day to those two and one-half hours on the stage.” Cassidy says the preparation is much like an opera singer goes through except they only sing three or four shows a week. “There’s a reason for that. The voice can’t take it. Musical theatre performers are expected to do it eight times a week. We’re beating our voices up. You have to train like an Olympic athletic. You’ve got to cut out certain foods. You have to take anti-acids so you don’t get reflux.”
Oh my goodness.
But, it’s cold and flu season. Can anything be done to avoid these voice stealers? “Ultimately, there’s nothing you can do because you’re working in a very small space with 50 people. What happens, especially in a show like this that’s very intimate, I’m constantly kissing Aida. We’re constantly touching each other. If somebody gets sick, as did happen in Los Angeles, about the third week of the run I caught the flu from someone, it went right through the company. You’re so close. Everybody’s spitting and sweating on each other. It’s that kind of thing when you’re on stage.” Cassidy says everyone in the company takes cold and flu remedies, sleeps with humidifiers, and uses hand sanitizers. Alas, some bugs are just too persistent.
Cassidy says that the greatest misconception by those who haven’t experienced show business from the inside is a tendency to glamorize it. “The truth is, it’s just a job like any other job. It’s just in the public eye, therefore the demand and the scrutiny is very specific. My day-to-day life is as normal as anybody else who has a job. My job just happens to take place from 8:00 to 10:30 at night. When I do a television show, then I’m up in the morning.”
He tries not to take it home but sometimes, just like the rest of us, something happens that’s upsetting. “But my kids, my wife, and my home are my first priority. People who aren’t in the business tend to say they lead these glamorous lives all day long. The truth is, I don’t, and I come from a family of stars. None of them have. We’ve always been as normal as a family can be within the confines of being in show business.”
Mom, Shirley Jones, demonstrated this when Cassidy wanted his first car. She said he would have to work until he could pay for half it. Some boys might take up a paper route or work at a fast-food restaurant, but Cassidy found another way.
“Unfortunately,” he laughs, “that wouldn’t have paid for half a car. When I was 15 I was very much into high school and football and I was in the drama department. I could sing. My mother said, ‘Look, I’m going to go do The Sound of Music this summer. If you would like to earn half your car payment you can come and do the role of Rolf.’ That’s what I did.” His mother played Maria and we suspect kept an eye on young Patrick. It was his first professional job. “I was greener than green, but I managed to get through it. That was my first taste of the theatre and that’s when I got bitten by the bug.” Three years later he bid so long to college and went to New York to study acting.
“The truth is, it’s a craft just like any other craft. Not to say that people that are untalented or that people who don’t understand the craft can’t make a living at it, they can. That’s one of the things that attracts a universe of people to this business. Everybody thinks I can do that. I don’t think most people sustain that although I’m sure there are exceptions.
“People who work in this business, specifically the theatre, for a long period of time are people that have trained at it and learned the skill of acting on the stage. It was something that took me a long time to get.” Cassidy credits his teachers and mentors for his success.
“My mother did everything she could to detour us, my brothers and myself, from going into show business. She understood the highs and lows of the business. An actor works so seldom, unless you’re really, really lucky. To make a living, even though it’s fruitful when you do work, the timing between jobs can be years. When you have family and kids, that’s not a very good choice of profession. You want something a little more substantial on a day-to-day basis.
“My brothers and I have been very lucky. We’ve all managed to make a living at what we do. She tried her best.”
Cassidy did at one time want to be a criminal attorney but decided it was the same as acting. “It’s just two different stages. I realized that theatre was my thing.” But he says when they all made the decision that show business was what they wanted to do mom was very supportive.
When Cassidy’s sons are in school they don’t tour with their father, but during summer and vacations they go to work with Dad. “In between cities I come back home to see them. One of the good things about this tour was most of it has taken place on the West Coast, which is my home, so it’s allowed me to get to and from LA very quickly.”
Missing his family is the most difficult part of the job for Cassidy. “That, to me, is not normal. Especially for me because I’ve been a real hands-on father since the day my children were born. To be away from them for any extended period of time is one of the pitfalls to being an actor. You’ve got to go where the work is. It has been a wonderful experience, but come the end of March, I’ll be ready to let it go.”
But for now, Cassidy is enjoying is role of Radames in Aida and is a big fan of the musical. “Ticket prices today, both on Broadway and on tour, are very extravagant. It’s really nice when a show comes along and you pay $60 or $70 for a ticket you get every dime’s worth. In terms of this show I really believe that is true. I’ve never said that about any show I’ve ever been in or seen. This show has everything. It has beautiful sets, costumes, extraordinary lighting, incredible sound.
“The production levels of this show are as top-notch as you can see anywhere. Plus, you get great talent, singing, music, and a story that evokes emotion. People stand every single night at the end of the show. The story brings people to their feet and brings people to tears.”
Acting is natural fit
Patrick Cassidy was born into a show-business family, but learned how to make it in acting his own way.
By Lorrie Cohen
Tucson Citizen Asst. Features Editor
Jan. 3, 2002
Patrick Cassidy's pretty buff these days.
He's has to be, just standing there as Joseph in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," with those abs, that washboard tummy, that sixpack, that ...
So who can blame him for doing it again - and for people wanting to see him flex again? This time he's bare breasting it as Radames, an Egyptian captain in Elton John and Tim Rice's tragic love story "Aida," opening Jan. 8 and running through Jan. 13 at Centennial Hall.
"I have to be shirtless in this as well," said Cassidy, from his Los Angeles home last week, referring to previous on-stage roles including Joseph. "I have a responsibility not to look like a guy with a gut who sits on his couch all day."
So the first thing he does when he settles into a hotel in a strange city? He checks out the weights and exercise machines.
"I go to the nearest gym, join it, and work out and keep in as good shape as I can," said the actor, who hesitates to say his age, only that he's in his late 30s. (He turns 40 tomorrow). "And it's difficult on the road and more difficult as you get old, but I have to do what I have to do."
What he has to do is a lot more than just work out. He has to sing, dance, act - basically be a star of a show.
But does he have the natural talent and hard work to pull it off? Duh! He's a Cassidy!
Natural talent is in abundance when you're the son of Academy Award-winner Shirley Jones and the late Tony Award-winning Broadway star Jack Cassidy, not to mention brother to Shaun ("Hardy Boys") and half-brother to David ("Partridge Family"), both former teen idols.
He thought he was growing up in a regular run-of-the-mill family. You know, famous parents, tons of attention.
"When you grow up in that kind of atmosphere it seems normal and seeing them perform you kind of say, 'Oh, isn't this what everybody does?' " Cassidy said. "And it's not like that and you realize this is a very skilled profession we have to learn."
And that's what he did, heading off to New York City to study acting after attending the University of California at Berkeley for a year. But sometimes, being a Cassidy had its disadvantages - and lessons.
"It had its backlash, too, being the brother of two former teen idols, to be taken seriously in the acting world, in a way it became a lot tougher," he said. "So I made a choice based on what I'd seen them go through, to go to New York and the theater. I wanted some longevity to my career."
Looks like the 6-foot, 2-inch blue-eyed Cassidy with the dazzling smile got what he wanted.
His list of credits? Too long to mention here, but some highlights are: his Broadway debut in the early '80s replacing Rex Smith as the male ingenue Frederick in the revisionary take on Gilbert & Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance" and several TV roles including a West Point cadet who crosses the wrong person in "Dress Grey," for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award; and the controversial stage musical "Assassins" from 1990-91.
He toured with Deborah Gibson in the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical "Joseph" in 1999 and returned to Broadway to pair up with Cheryl Ladd in the revival of "Annie Get Your Gun."
And one of his more memorable roles?
Playing Rolf in the "Sound of Music" when he was 15 with his mother, who played Maria. He was saving up enough money for his first car.
"I bought a silver Celica, 1977 or '78," he said. "I wanted the car but I was told I'd have to pay for half of it myself."
But back to Radames in "Aida," a role Cassidy said he had to expand on after reading the script.
"Some of the characters are more developed and some aren't and you have fill in with subtext," said Cassidy. "Is this the moment where he feels this or that? We (actors) are detectives who see out the clues to find out what the playwright is trying to say.
"In terms of the show, I would really like it to be known, and I've said this many times, this is one of the few shows I believe you get every single dime of the ticket price - it's a musical, great songs, singers, and the production value and sets and that little Disney magic that's added - when you leave the theater you feel fantastic."
Radames, captain of the Egyptian army, is returning from an expedition through the land of Nubia, Egypt's longtime enemy. Set and costume designs for the show were created by Bob Crowley, who has more than 50 productions under his belt. Crowley is currently working on a new musical of "The Witches of Eastwick."
Tucson's show will be slightly different since Simone, who usually plays Aida, will be heading to off Broadway. But Cassidy isn't worried.
"It will definitely change the show, but Disney spends a lot of time casting so I'm sure whomever they pick will be phenomenal," said Cassidy, who is looking forward to he first stay in Tucson.
Cassidy's been playing Radames since the tour started March 27. The original Broadway production (which Patrick hasn't appeared in) opened March 23, 2000.
He may turn in his Egyptian robes after his contract runs out in March. He's been enjoying the nine-week L.A. run of the show, being able to stay put with his wife, Melissa, and their two sons, Cole, 6, and Jack, 3.
"If I had my choice, I'd love to do a regular on a situation comedy because it's most like the theater," said Cassidy, pondering his future. "And the demand in terms of hours are not as crazy as with an hour show. I want to hang out with my kids and wife."
He's also flirting with doing a one-man show on his father's life, a man who would have been proud of his third son.
"He'd be really touched and proud, I think, that I made the conscience choice to make the theater a career and that I'm making a living at a craft I have developed," said Cassidy, somberly. Jack Cassidy died in a 1976 fire at the age of 49.
Patrick also like to work again with his mother, who has never missed one of his shows.
"We've done a Christmas show together, but it's really hard to get our schedules together," he said.
And about being in the shadow of famous parents and former teen-idol brothers?
"I've been making a nice living at it for more than 20 years and in this industry," he said proudly. "I've gained the respect of a working actor."
The Family Business
Patrick Cassidy carries on the family acting and singing tradition in Disney's AIDA
By Libby Slate, Performing Arts Magazine, October 2001
When Shirley Jones was filming The Music Man, she was pregnant with the second of her three sons by then-husband, Jack Cassidy, but hadn't told her collegues. As co-star Robert Preston was about to kiss her in the song "Till There Was You", the baby kicked. The startled Preston asked, "What's that?" Replied Mom, "That's just Patrick Cassidy making himself known."
In the 39 years since, Cassidy has made himself known in theatre, films and television. He is currently starring in the national tour of the Disney musical, Aida as Radames, the ancient Eqyptian captain torn between his love for a Nubian princess-now-captured-slave and his duty to his country. Earlier this year Cassidy played Frank butler in Broadway's Annie Get Your Gun, but he made his Broadway debut nearly 20 years ago in The Pirates of Penzance.
Aida's L.A. run marks a return to Cassidy's hometown. He had previously started in Company in Long Beach, the national tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Pasadena, and Threepenny Opera in the "Reprise!" series at UCLA. He appeared in Stephen Sondheim's Assassins in both the original New York and Los Angeles productions.
As it turned out, The Music Man later became Cassidy's debut on stage as well as in utero. "I definitely have a sort of visceral, emotional reaction to the movie," he says now. "It's my favorite musical of all time. It's the reason I delved into musical theatre."
A jock at Beverly Hills High School, he broke his collarbone playing football. Sidelined for six weeks, he decided to audition for the drama department's production of The Music Man. "Of course, I was going to be Harold Hill!" he relates with a laugh. "Well, I wasn't. I was Constable Locke and salesman number five. Steve and Eydie's son Michael got Harold Hill."
It was perhaps inevitable that Cassidy would wind up a performer. It is, after all, the family business: an Oscar-winning mother, Tony-winning father, and two teen-idol older siblings, half-brother David and brother Shaun (younger brother Ryan became a set decorator). But unlike his brothers, this Cassidy decided to pursue theatre.
"I didn't go the record route," he says. I saw that my brothers' career longevity was hard to maintain. And I wanted to be taken seriously. My brothers had a hard time being taken seriously after they stopped being teen idols."
Even before he began performing, Cassidy was aware of some of the excesses of show business. Growing up in a famous family, he says, "You got a lot of privilege and especially attention. I was given a tremendous amount of attention from a lot of people who were successful financially or looked beautiful, just because I was from a show business family, lived in Beverly Hills, and went to Beverly Hills High. But that's not the real world. You learn that through hard knocks and experience."
Indeed, he adds, "When you grow up in show business, that's what you think everybody does - everybody's on the tube. And nobody cared what the other parents did! That bothered me. When you get older, you gain such an appreciation for what others do. You think, "That father's a doctor. My God, he went to school for so many years! All we do is act."
His own father died in 1976, when Patrick was 14; (his mother later married comedian and businessman Marty Ingels). Both his parents instilled in him the wisdom of not becoming caught up in what he calls the "romanticism" of show business, such as lavish praise and nonstop parties and premieres. "The best thing I had," he adds, "was my mother. She tried to give me a great work ethic."
Jones has come to see him in every role he's performed. "I've gotten used to having her in the audience," Cassidy says. "It affects me differently in different roles. The other night in the reprise of 'Elaborate Lives', when the two characters move toward each other, I just started to go...I used to watch my mother and my father walk from opposite ends of the stage to each other."
Like his mother, Cassidy puts his family before his career. He and dancer-wife Melissa Hurley have two sons, Cole six, and Jack, three. "I've wanted to be married and have children since I was 12", he remarks.
Might his own sons follow in his footseps? "Cole has perfect pitch," their father says. "And he can sing the whole opening of Annie Get Your Gun.
"Musical theatre in our household is very, very visceral," Cassidy adds. "I see my children watching their uncles and grandparents on television, and I can't help thinking, that's how I was. At the moment, my little one's into dinosaurs and the other is into cars. I kind of hope their focus stays that way - that one becomes a paleontologist and the other, a mechanic!" Then he turns serious. "If they wanted to go into show business, I'd support them," Cassidy says. "As my parents supported me."
(Libby Slate is a L.A.-based writer. Photos for the article were supplied by www.patrickcassidy.net)
PATRICK CASSIDY, STAR OF 'AIDA,' CREDITS THEATER AND
MOM SHIRLEY JONES FOR HIS SUCCESS
Los Angeles Daily News
November 10, 2001
Whether the venue is Seattle or Santa Barbara, Broadway or Boston, if Patrick Cassidy is on stage, Shirley Jones will be in the audience at least one night during the run of the performance. She's not taking notes. Jones, who has spent many a night on the musical theater boards herself, happily admits that she usually watches with a motherly eye rather than from an overly critical perspective.
"Mostly from my point of view, I'm so enraptured," says Jones, 67. "He's my son and he's gorgeous and he can do no wrong."
"She is by far, the most positive supporter that a son or a fellow actor or thespian could have," returns Cassidy. "She has seen everything I've ever done, and I'm talking about the obscure things."
His current project is anything but obscure, and Jones has already seen it twice in two different cities. She'll be in the audience yet again when Disney's "Aida" opens its nine-week run at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.
In this, the first Disney musical not inspired by one of the company's animated films, Cassidy is the Egyptian Gen. Radames, ensnared in a love triangle with princess Amneris and the Nubian slave, Aida. Co-star Simone, who plays the title character, is another second-generation musical performer: the daughter of singer Nina Simone. Elton John and Tim Rice teamed up once again after the smash success of both the film and stage versions of "The Lion King."
"In light of what's happened, it's a real nice piece of theater to go to because the very essence, the core of the show is about love," says Cassidy. "Love is eternal, love is everlasting, and, in times like this, I think that's much needed. With that, you still get incredible production values, great dancing and singing."
Leaving the nest
Even better, for Cassidy's sake, he'll be home through the holidays, making family time a little easier.
Close though they are, family reunions aren't always the easiest things to manage. Between Jones' concert performances all over the country, stepson David Cassidy's frequent work in Las Vegas and abroad, between the film and television commitments of Shaun and set designer Ryan Cassidy, the Cassidy clan assembles periodically.
All four of the late Jack Cassidy's sons - three with Jones - were musical, says their mother, but while Shaun and David took the rock star/teen idol route, Patrick elected to hone his training primarily through stage work.
"That was a rule of thumb that his father had," says Jones. "His father was not happy with what David and Shaun were doing. He was proud of them, but he was not happy with the way they attained it. He wanted them to learn their craft and work their way up, which is what Patrick did."
"The funny thing is David started that way, too," adds Patrick, "He had a real nice acting career going and then he got a television series that kind of made him a huge mega overnight sensation."
That would be "The Partridge Family" the same show that took Jones, David's stepmother, away from stage and film for the better part of four years. No regrets from Jones, who happily gave up the grind of Broadway once her movie career took off. ("I'm not a workaholic by a long shot," she says.)
Unlike his mother and stepbrothers, Patrick Cassidy hasn't really had to choose. His two TV series, "Bay City Blues" and "Dirty Dancing," didn't exactly write his name across the sky.
"I've maybe been fortunate that I've never had a hit series," he adds, laughing. "So it allowed me to have my anonymity and keep building this underground theater career."
Not so underground anymore. Cassidy's Broadway credits include "Annie Get Your Gun" and "The Pirates of Penzance." He created the role of the Balladeer in Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins" (a role he repeated in Los Angeles and on the original soundtrack). He played Macheath in Reprise!'s "Threepenny Opera" and appeared in "Company" opposite Carol Burnett.
"Aida" is Cassidy's third national tour and second musical foray into ancient Egypt. He played the title role in Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." His wife, Melissa Hurley Cassidy, was in the show as well, and the couple took their two children on the road.
With his oldest son now in school, Cassidy returns to the road with a mixture of feelings. Great part in a great show, but less opportunity to be the hands-on dad he has been since his two sons - now 3 and 6 - were born.
Says Jones, "It's the life we choose, and our children do adjust more than we think they do. My children traveled all over the world with me until they were in school. There came a point when one of the reasons I did 'The Partridge Family' was because of my kids."
On a Friday, about a month before opening night at the Ahmanson, Patrick Cassidy is home for a day of publicity (causing him to miss two performances in Dallas). Jones, newly returned from St. Louis, sits next to him at a table in the Music Center's courtyard.
There is certainly an argument for a musical gene being filtered down through generations. In the mid-1950s, Jones was the belle of Rodgers and Hammerstein movie musicals "Oklahoma!" and "Carousel" as well as the film version of "The Music Man" (during which, as legend has it, she was pregnant with Patrick Cassidy). Jones never gave music lessons to any of her children, but they all had natural talent, she says.
And the line appears to have continued. Dashing around the courtyard as his father and grandmother discuss "the family business" is 6-year-old Cole Cassidy who, his father insists, has had perfect pitch since the age of 4.
"I believe it's part genetics and part environment," says Cassidy. "If you grow up around singers and you hear singers at a very young age, you want to imitate them so your voice sort of grows with what your surroundings are."
Jones and then-husband Jack Cassidy may have provided the environment, but she insists she discouraged her children from entering it: She wanted a college boy.
It didn't happen. Shaun Cassidy started singing practically out of high school and Ryan Cassidy had a learning disability. Patrick, a football star at Beverly Hills High School, lost his chance at a football scholarship when he broke his collar bone during his senior year.
"They all went into the business," says Jones. "Now, of course, I'm very happy and very proud, but I didn't encourage it."
"The theater and athletics are very similar because there's that immediate gratification," says Cassidy. "Singing a great aria or a great song and getting that immediate response is the same thing as when I played high-school football and threw a touchdown pass."
Every now and again, Cassidy even manages to give a performance where his mother doesn't recognize him on stage. Taking over the role of Frank Butler in "Annie Get Your Gun" on Broadway opposite Cheryl Ladd, Cassidy managed to do his job convincingly.
"The role in particular was not right for him," says Jones. "If you want to say there's a role he doesn't fit into ..."
"I'm not a cowboy and I'm not a baritone," agreed Cassidy.
"... When I saw him do that, and I saw the character played so well, there were moments when I forgot it was him, and I just saw the character," says Jones. "In this role ('Aida'), he's singing better than he has ever sung. His voice is just magnificent. I always like the one I see last."
Now It's Cassidy Brother No. 3's Turn
Patrick Cassidy avoided the teen idol route of David and Shaun.
'Aida' may herald his turn in the spotlight
By IRENE LACHER
Los Angeles Times Nov. 11, 2001
One glance at Patrick Cassidy's famous family tree and anyone would assume the dashing baritone was born to sing. But anyone would be wrong. Compared with Cassidy, born performers are actually latecomers to the limelight; he made his debut in utero.
Along for the ride was his mother, Shirley Jones, who was filming "The Music Man" while six months pregnant. Her blossoming middle was hidden under multiplying bustles so the press wouldn't discover what the star had waiting in the wings. Jones' co-star, Robert Preston, was also in the dark, so when he leaned over to kiss her for the cameras and he felt a kick, Preston jumped back in astonishment. "What the heck was that?" he asked.
"That," announced Jones, "is Patrick Cassidy."
Fast forward nearly 40 years. The still-astonishing Cassidy is telling his story to a visitor in an empty rehearsal hall across the street from the Ahmanson Theatre, where he's starring in the maiden national tour of the Elton John-Tim Rice poperetta "Aida," which arrives here today. "The addendum to the story is that I saw Robert Preston at a benefit many years later," he says. "I'd never met him, and I walked up to his dressing room and knocked on the door and introduced myself. He stepped back and said, 'We've already met.'"
That puts Preston in fairly select company. Patrick is still known as David and Shaun's brother, or simply the Stealth Cassidy, despite a solid career largely spanning theater and television. He may not be as well known as his older siblings, but as the still hunky sons of the late actor Jack Cassidy settle into middle age, Patrick seems to be finally taking his turn as the Cassidy with the most promising future as a performer.
During last year's Broadway run of "Annie Get Your Gun," which starred Cassidy as Frank Butler, Liz Smith gushed that Patrick is "the sexiest, most charismatic and most talented of the Cassidy boys." Indeed, his charms, which include six-pack abs he bares every night in "Aida," were not lost on Disney Theatricals when it came to casting the attractively doomed Egyptian soldier Radames.
"He's someone we've had our eye on for a while to play this role," says Thomas Schumacher, president of Walt Disney feature animation and Disney Theatrical Productions. "Patrick is a perfect leading man. He possesses a beautiful singing voice, strong acting ability, matinee-idol good looks and an innate stage sense, which comes from years of performing onstage and his incredible pedigree."
Perhaps even more valuable has been Cassidy's sheer force of will, which helped him rebound from surgery to remove a node from his vocal cords two years ago even though doctors said he might never sing again. "He couldn't speak or do anything for six weeks," Jones says. "Then he started to vocalize slowly, and it was a miracle. He's singing better than he has ever sung."
In "Aida," which won four Tony awards in 2000, Cassidy sings the role of a military captain loved by two women —Amneris, the Egyptian princess played by Kelli Fournier who's in line for the throne, and Aida, an Egyptian slave who's really a kidnapped Nubian princess, performed by Simone, the only child of jazz singer Nina Simone. Radames is betrothed to Amneris but in love with Aida, setting events in motion that propel the true lovers toward their deaths.
Cassidy, 39, knew some critics had roasted the Broadway production of "Aida," but he was enchanted by the show's spirit. "It has its problems," he says, "but the essence of it and why people stand for it every night is that it's about love and that love is everlasting."
So he took the role despite his initial misgivings about dealing with the corporate entertainment behemoth. Ultimately, he found Disney more open to compromise based on his input than he'd expected. "Every performer and creative person will tell you that they're not easy to negotiate with," Cassidy says, "but that's why they are who they are. We got past that, and here I am, and it's been a great thing."
Cassidy envisioned Radames as an idealist forced into a situation that would keep him from his true calling. "He really wants to be the Egyptian Lewis and Clark. He wants to seek out new lands. And through (Aida), the way she puts him in his place and her willingness to stand up for herself, he finds the willingness to stand up for himself."
All well and good. But then Cassidy and Disney parted ways on the question of coiffure. Cassidy wanted to shave his head for the role.
"I wanted to make him a little edgier," he says. "They said, 'Well, Patrick, he's not Lex Luthor. He's a leading man.'"
But don't be misled by Cassidy's sculptural cheekbones and the Pepsodent smile; that breed of thespian makes him uneasy. "The truth is I was given a 6-foot-2-inch frame, a decent chiseled face," he says. "I was given the standard by which people in this business call a leading man, but my guts were that of a character guy. I wanted to play the guy that was suffering. I wanted to play the guy with the limp."
For "Aida," he settled for playing the guy with the earring. "I said, 'I don't want him to just be the average pretty boy, because I don't think he is that.' As a result, I got the earring," he says, stroking a small silver hoop on his left ear. "I pierced it for the part because I thought it would give him just that much more of a modern-day and old-Egyptian edge."
In return, he shaved the beard he'd grown for "Annie Get Your Gun," and he cut and colored his gray hair a youthful shade of chestnut.
If he fretted over Radames being shortchanged as just a pretty boy, it's because that has been his own cross to bear. And while he worries that his looks may rob him of juicier acting challenges, his family has other concerns. Cassidy has yet to break out into stardom, and now that he feels ready to take his shot, they wonder whether the world is still ready for him.
"Every time he walks onstage without a shirt and he's drop-dead gorgeous, it's probably a detriment in today's show-biz world," says Marty Ingels, Cassidy's stepfather. "These days they have to look like Bruce Willis. Patrick is a throwback to the time when leading men were beautiful and sang."
To Cassidy's dismay, the never-shy Ingels has been lobbying reluctant "Tonight Show" producers to book the actor during the L.A. leg of "Aida." "You can get overlooked, and that's what I'm afraid will happen to Patrick," he says. Cassidy insists he enjoys the freedom of navigating the world largely unrecognized, but both Ingels and Jones say he should be more self-promoting. "If you're going to have a career, you have to push a bit," Jones says. "My sons are nice, WASPy, mannerly young men."
Of her brood, Patrick is considered the congenial one, the brother who's most openhearted and least troubled. As a kid, he could also be the most mischievous. "He was the one who climbed out the window when Shirley said, 'You're all grounded,' and slept with everybody in town," Ingels says. "I had a big motor home in the back of the house. We knew Patrick was sneaking out and bringing home his Playboy bunnies."
Cassidy has since settled down to happy domesticity with his ballet-dancer wife Melissa and their sons, Cole, 6, and Jack, 3. They live in a three-bedroom home in Sherman Oaks, not far from his family.
As brother No. 3, Patrick has benefited from the hard lessons of his older siblings' careers. Half-brother David, 51, and brother Shaun, 43, each had his brief but incandescent moment as a teen idol. By the time Patrick was 18 and entering the business, David had already flamed out and Shaun's run was nearing its end. Warner Bros. Records was wooing Patrick to be its newest singing Cassidy, but Patrick viewed his brothers' experiences as cautionary tales. (Younger brother Ryan, 36, skipped performing entirely and became a set decorator. David is reprising his "Partridge Family" hits in Las Vegas, and Shaun, who morphed into a writer-producer for television, is executive producer of the new fall series "The Agency.")
"I didn't want to go down that road of being a teen idol," Patrick says. "I didn't want to do the record thing, because that distinguishes you as that. Both of my brothers are really talented, but the minute you do that, talent is negated. So the conscious decision was to work in the theater and hopefully reap the benefits of having worked hard at your craft."
Not immediately, though. In 1982, when Cassidy replaced Robby Benson in a Broadway production of "The Pirates of Penzance," his only training dated to the Beverly Hills High School drama department. He got the job anyway because he was a Cassidy. Which was a good thing and a bad thing.
"I was a complete green, unknowledgeable guy who got lucky and got a job," he says. "I don't think I was very good, and that was the problem. When you're thrown in front of an audience the way I was because of my last name, you'd better know what you're doing. And I didn't. Therefore people look at you even harder under a microscope because of who you are, and they judge you very quickly."
Over the years Cassidy has toiled at his craft, studying with such masters as Stella Adler and Larry Moss. He's been rewarded with reasonably steady work, shuttling among theater, film and television. "When television didn't want to talk to me anymore, I could go do a show. I did a musical or a play or I did a regional thing and kept my creative juices flowing. It's certainly been beneficial in terms of paying the rent. I don't know if it's been beneficial in terms of having a specific career."
He was a regular on the TV series "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," and he also made numerous guest appearances, not the least of which was on an episode of "Bay City Blues" opposite the then-unknown Sharon Stone.
The pinnacle of his theater career was a stint originating the role of the balladeer for Stephen Sondheim in the 1991 off-Broadway production of "Assassins." Cassidy also starred in a national tour of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" from 1999 to 2000. In Southern California, he appeared with Carol Burnett in a 1993 Long Beach Civic Light Opera production of "Company"; portrayed John Wilkes Booth in a 1995 Los Angeles Repertory production of "Assassins"; and played Mac-Heath in a 1998 UCLA Reprise! staging of "The Threepenny Opera."
On-screen, the high point was the 1990 movie "Longtime Companion," in which he played Howard, a gay actor cast as a gay character on a soap opera. Cassidy was the first actor to sign on for the early, controversial film about the AIDS epidemic. As his credits have piled up, Cassidy has begun to notice that among the brothers, his eclectic career trajectory most resembles his father's. And while Jack Cassidy left the troubling legacy of a difficult father, Patrick is now seasoned enough that the parallel pleases him.
"I remember the day I realized it. I was updating my resume, and I thought, 'I've accumulated a lot of stuff.' We've done the same kinds of things. He was known basically for theater and his guest shots on 'Columbo.' But he was a journeyman in terms of the business. He had a beautiful singing voice. He was funny, so he got to do sitcoms, a lot of guest-star stuff, and that was his career. The saddest part about that is —more than myself —what he really wanted to be was a movie star. I don't necessarily have a calling for that. I just want to be a working actor."
Talent isn't skin-deep for Cassidy
By Kyle Lawson - The Arizona Republic
Sept. 02, 2001
The thing about Egypt is, see, it's hot.
That's why Patrick Cassidy is always taking off his shirt.
You better believe audiences think that's cool. They flocked to see him in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Now, they're making a conspicuous success of the national tour of Aida.
Of course, Cassidy isn't the only reason tickets are selling briskly for Aida's Valley stopover at Gammage Auditorium.
There's the fabled Disney munificence in the matter of costumes and scenery. There's the Elton John-Tim Rice score. And there are Cassidy's co-stars: Simone, a match for her mother, legendary jazz singer Nina Simone, and Kelli Fournier, whom many think will be the next big Broadway star.
But don't kid yourself. Cassidy's abs are a potent box-office draw. Some of his reviews have been close to hysterical. Witness this one from critic Kelley Crowley, posted on the Official Patrick Cassidy Website:
"His singing is fine and his acting is quite believable, but, my God, what a body! This is the stuff Greek gods are made of. When he sang his final duet, I just wanted to run down to that stage and comfort him, or something!"
It's enough to make Cassidy break out in hives. All that idol stuff is the domain of his brothers, David and Shaun. He's the "family oddball," he says:
"Growing up, I wanted lots of things, but never that."
Ironically, Cassidy's had his MTV moments, most notably as the star of the made-for-TV films Dress Gray and Something in Common and the sitcom based on the movie Dirty Dancing. And, of course, there have been the stage roles that bared his torso. But, to his great relief, he's never really registered on the national beefcake meter.
Part of the reason, he says, is that like his dad, the late Jack Cassidy (his mom is film and TV star Shirley Jones), he's concentrated on theater, etching indelible portraits as the narrator in Stephen Sondheim's Assassins and Mack Heath in Kurt Weill's The Three Penny Opera, as well as in more popular fare: The Pirates of Penzance, Leader of the Pack and, most recently, opposite Cheryl Ladd in the Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun.
"I was exposed to all the trappings of the teen-idol thing through David and then Shaun," he says. "I saw what it did to their future careers. When you weigh one against the other, I'm not sure the excitement is worth it.
"I wanted to build my chops as an actor, and be taken seriously, so I went to New York to learn my craft, the way my father did."
Cassidy admits that when he replaced Rex Smith as the hero of Broadway's The Pirates of Penzance, "I didn't know what I was doing."
"But Frederick (the character) was young and in pretty good shape," he says. "The director told me, 'Just show up.' And that's what I did."
Expectations were higher when Cassidy was cast in works by Sondheim and Weill.
"That's when you're forced to really sing and really act," he says. "You don't walk through those parts. I learned so much by working with Sondheim. I consider him my mentor. Thanks to him, there's no role I would be afraid to play."
Cassidy's aware that had things worked out differently, it might be his face, not those of Ben Affleck or Robert Downey Jr., on the cover of People.
"Why didn't that (substance abuse) happen? I can speak only for me," he says, "and the answer is Shirley Jones. My mother has been such an incredible foundation and rock and constant source of total security.
"Look, I'm not saying there haven't been problems. Like any family in show business, we've seen the dark side of it. But, at least for Shaun and Ryan (his younger brother) and me (David has a different mom), it boils down to having a mother who taught us how to make the right choices. I can never think of a time in my life when she wasn't there, no matter what was going on in her career."
Cassidy, 39, consciously tries to emulate that approach. He has an agreement with his wife, Melissa Hurley, that they won't be apart for longer than two weeks at a time. In spite of the pressures of touring, they've kept to the schedule, which has the added bonus of giving him quality time with his sons, Cole, 6, and Jack, 3.
Making that happen isn't going to get easier. He's contractually committed to Aida through next spring. Still, he thinks that's quality time, too.
Tempe audiences won't be disappointed in the touring edition, Cassidy says. Except for minor tweaking of sets to make it easier for load-ins and load-outs, the tour duplicates the Broadway version down to the last glitzy headdress.
"Disney spends its money where it shows," Cassidy says. "Audiences get back every dollar they pay for those expensive tickets."
Nor will those audiences be disappointed with their glimpse of Cassidy skin.
"Every day, no matter where we are, no matter how I feel, I'm in the gym," he says. "The formula's pretty simple: Hit the weight room and watch the carbs. It's the curse of taking off your shirt in front of the women of America."
Star Patrick Cassidy says the show is spectacular yet still can be intimate
By Ivan M. Lincoln, Deseret News
June 8, 2001
Patrick Cassidy, who grew up in one of Hollywood's best-known entertainment families, has had a career that's been all over the map — from the squalor of 1930s London (playing Mack Heath in "The Threepenny Opera") to ancient Egypt (the title role in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" on a tour with the second generation of Osmonds as his brothers).
Now Cassidy is back in ancient Egypt, playing Radames in first national tour of Elton John and Tim Rice's Tony Award-winning musical "Aida," scheduled for a three-week run, July 11-29, in the Capitol Theatre.
During a phone interview from Denver, where "Aida" was playing at the Buell Theatre, Cassidy said he was particularly excited about how the Disney Theatrical Productions Ltd. tour was shaping up — playing several smaller cities early in the tour, rather than several months down the road.
The Salt Lake stop is the seventh on the show's itinerary. After leaving Utah, it will head on to San Francisco, Dallas and Los Angeles, among others.
"It's funny," Cassidy said, "we won't hit some of the bigger markets, like Boston and Philadelphia, until the year 2002. For me, this is terrific because some of the smaller cities I haven't been to at all, or I haven't been to in a long time, so I'm anxious to see them."
Cassidy, son of Shirley Jones and the late Jack Cassidy, and brother to David, Shaun and Ryan, has been with the tour from the very first. "We started rehearsing in February in New York, then we opened in March in Minneapolis. It's been many years since I've been in Salt Lake City."
The Broadway edition of "Aida," which opened in March 2000, had a somewhat rocky history. During its pre-Broadway trial run in Atlanta, it was beset by scenery problems — mainly a huge pyramid that was supposed to open and close but usually didn't. After this, it was drastically retooled, with a new director. Some songs were shuffled around, new tunes were written and some comedy was dumped in order to emphasize the dramatic story line. After opening on Broadway, the show went on to win four Tony Awards.
"And what you have on Broadway is basically what you'll have here," said Cassidy. "The average person, seeing both the Broadway and touring company productions, would never notice the differences. There are very, very slight scenic differences in the tour versus Broadway. This is the Broadway show, and in some cases, it's even heightened more.
"For example, in the sound department, they've had to equip themselves for the larger venues out on the road. They've upped the sound to an incredible level. I've never worked with a sound system like this.
"The nice thing about this show, I have to say — and I didn't notice this until I got out on the road — is that this show has an intimate quality about it, but it also has the large production scale to play to these bigger houses. I personally love the more intimate houses — a 2,000-seat house is great. But the production design is so big — the scenery is glorious and the lighting is extraordinary — that it still lends itself to playing those 5,000-seat houses."
The touring cast includes Simone, daughter of Nina Simone, as Aida, and Kelli Fournier as Amneris.
Cassidy grew up in the entertainment industry — a family involved in theater, film, television and music. (Shirley Jones was pregnant with Patrick while filming "The Music Man.") "Growing up, I thought a lot about going into criminal law. My stock answer has always been that lawyers are just like actors; they just have different stages and audiences."
His first love is performing on stage in live theater. "But the eight-shows-a-week schedule, particularly in terms of a musical, is very difficult and demanding. It's like you're in training, like an Olympic athlete.
"You're constantly working with your voice, constantly worrying about those 2 1/2 hours on stage every night. But the rewards you get — the immediate response — there's nothing like that."
The worst part of touring for Cassidy is being away from his family.
"We'll be in Los Angeles for 10 weeks, which is good, because that's my home. My wife and I have an agreement that we won't be apart for longer than two weeks at a time, and we've kept to that for the eight years we've been together," he said.
'AIDA' STARS SHARE MORE THAN STARLIGHT STAGE:
Patrick Cassidy and Simone grew up in show business families that didn't do opera
By Robert Trussell - The Kansas City Star
June 27, 2001
Just how it came to be that Simone and Patrick Cassidy would star opposite each other in the national tour of "Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida" might be called a series of wonderful accidents.
They do, in fact, have a few things in common: Both began their musical theater careers without any training; each has famous relatives; they're both parents in their 30s; and neither of them has ever paid the slightest attention to the Verdi opera whose narrative forms the basis of this pop-rock musical extravaganza.
"Not at all," Simone said from a road stop in Seattle. "I listened to Elton John forever when I was going to boarding school. But you know what? I never listened to the `Aida' opera or Verdi, period. I can do jazz, soft rock, hard rock, pop -- but when it comes to opera, I'm at a loss."
Cassidy, also in Seattle, said: "One of the things I'm starting to erase in my life is that I haven't been to the opera very much. I've only been twice. So the story to me was very fresh when I saw (`Aida') the first time."
Oh, yes, they share something else -- at one time each of them fantasized about being a lawyer.
Simone said that in high school she wanted to be "an international lawyer, possibly specializing in languages."
And Cassidy looks at it this way.
"When you think about it, there is no difference between being an actor and a lawyer. The only difference is they have to go to school a lot longer. But if you're in a courtroom, you're doing a performance."
Learning from experience
"Aida," the opera and this mega-musical from Disney, takes place in ancient Egypt and tells a tale of forbidden love between a captured Nubian slave -- the title role, played by Simone -- and Ramades, a captain in the Egyptian army (Cassidy).
The show, directed by Robert Falls, artistic director of Chicago's Goodman Theatre, has been running on Broadway since 2000 where it won four Tony Awards.
Cassidy said the national tour of "Aida," which began in March in Minneapolis, is the most elaborate tour he's ever been part of.
"They haven't cut any corners in terms of the Broadway production," he said. "It's the most incredible sound system I've ever heard ...
"Disney's really spent their money wisely. And the masses that are coming out to see it are reacting as such. They get it."
One of the Tonys for the Broadway show went to Heather Headley for Best Actress in a Musical; Simone was Headley's understudy and appeared as Aida for New York audiences some 20 times.
Staging a career
Cassidy was raised with brothers Shaun and David in Los Angeles by a famous acting couple -- Shirley Jones and the late Jack Cassidy. His parents, Cassidy said, did all they could to dissuade their children from going into show business. It didn't work.
Cassidy was 18 and living in New York when he decided to audition for the role of Frederick in the "Pirates of Penzance" as Robby Benson's replacement.
"I'd always had like a pop voice," he said. "I knew nothing about acting. I had just started taking acting classes in New York. I thought, `Well, I'll audition for it.'
"Well, I got it. And there I was -- starring on Broadway at 18 years old, not knowing what I was doing. But I really got bit by the bug."
He, too, decided to take voice lessons and now has a resume dotted with impressive theater credits: a seven-month stint as Frank Butler in the Broadway revival of "Annie Get Your Gun"; national tours of "Penzance" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"; the off-Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim's "Assassins"; and numerous regional theater productions in Washington and Los Angeles. He also has performed on recordings of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Oh Kay" and "Sondheim: A Musical Tribute at Carnegie Hall."
Cassidy also has appeared in feature films, mini-series and made-for-television movies.
But the way he tells it, theater is what he loves.
"I think my father, God rest his soul, would be proud that the avenue I chose to go down was legit theater," Cassidy said. "At the time I was doing ("Penzance") I was still studying in the daytime, so I was learning in the day and learning on the job -- which is the best process any actor can go through.
"And I stayed with the theater my whole career. Even though I live in Los Angeles, I've always thought of myself and most of the casting agents think of me as a New York actor."
Cassidy is committed to the "Aida" tour for a year. And Simone will stay with the show well into 2002.
Neither is certain what the next career step will be.
Universal Love Theme on Display in 'AIDA'
Co-stars Patrick Cassidy and Simone both come from showbiz families
By Corey Stulce - Alton Telegraph
April 26, 2001
Patrick Cassidy said it sometimes gets tiring when people ask about his better-known siblings David and Shaun. "I say, 'Take a look at my resume,' " he said.
Cassidy plays Radames, an Egyptian soldier caught in a love triangle with Aida, a Nubian princess played by Simone and Amneris, an Egyptian princess played by Kelli Fournier. "It's a tremendous vehicle to be a part of," Cassidy said.
(Aida) speaks to people on many levels. It's all about love that crosses all boundaries," he said. "(Love is) the universal language. Even though it sounds cliche, it really is"
Cassidy, a veteran of traditional musicals like "Annie Get Your Gun" and "The Pirates of Penzance," said he embraced the pop-style music of the show written by Elton. "I grew up listening and singing to Elton," he said. "He's definitely present. You can hear him in the music."
Simone is also no stranger to pop music. The daughter of renowned '60s singer Nina Simone is prepping her debut album of pop music titled "Simone Superstar."
Simone played Mimi in the rock opera "Rent", so her time in musical theatre has helped prep her for a solo career.
Cassidy said having similar backgrounds helped he and Simone with onstage chemistry. "Chemistry is something that's either there, or it's not," he said. "The good thing about the road is, you become a family. It's the bond that makes you closer."
Ladd and Laddie Inherit "Annie"
By PATRICIA O'HAIRE
New York Daily News Feature Writer
Do you know what it's like to kiss an angel? Patrick Cassidy does — and starting this afternoon, he'll be doing it eight times a week.
Cheryl Ladd is Cassidy's angel, and as anyone who watched TV in the late '70s knows, Ladd was one of the beautiful and sexy private eyes in the hit weekly series "Charlie's Angels."
Now, Ladd and Cassidy are taking over the starring roles in "Annie Get Your Gun" from Tony Award-winner Bernadette Peters and Tom Wopat. The show tells the story of two sharpshooters in competing rodeos who are always trying to out-shoot each other but finally get lost in each other's arms.
Cassidy says he's having a good time playing the role, and so does Ladd. "I'm thrilled," she says. "Thrilled and scared. I've been on stage before, and I've sung in musicals before, but this is scary."
Ladd, 49, knows that people are wondering if she can handle the formidable singing role. She has her answer ready.
"I started as a singer," she says. "I've been singing since I was a child. My father was a railroad man in South Dakota, where I grew up, and he sang and played guitar in a country music group.
"When I was about 7, he saw me watching and listening to him, tapping my feet in tempo, and he had me sing with him. I learned a lot doing that."
Her role in the tune-filled Irving Berlin musical has taken some learning, too. "I've been working on the songs," she says. "I have a belter's voice, rather than a true soprano's, and people are amazed sometimes at what sound can come from this petite frame.
"When I was growing up, Connie Francis was my idol. I loved singing along with the records. I wanted to take piano lessons, but when we couldn't afford that, my mother knew a dance teacher, so I began taking dancing lessons.
"I was always the oddball in the family."
That's not true of the 38-year-old Cassidy, her foil in the show, who is tall and slim and sports a brown beard. His father was Jack Cassidy, who won a Tony in 1964 for his role in "She Loves Me." Mom is actress Shirley Jones, who starred in the movie version of "The Music Man" and, of course, in television's "The Partridge Family." Older brother David, who was a teenage heartthrob, is an actor-singer, and younger brother Shaun is a writer-producer.
Cassidy was 18 when he made his first appearance on Broadway, in 1980's "The Pirates of Penzance." In 1985, he starred in "Leader of the Pack," and in 1991, he sang the role of the balladeer in Stephen Sondheim's Off-Broadway musical "Assassins." In between, he has done films, TV and many plays. "I've had a sort of Ping-Pong career," he says.
Now that he's back on Broadway, he'd like to stick around.
"I'm really waiting for someone to revive 'She Loves Me,' so I can play my father's role. Another one I'd like to try is 'The Music Man.' My mother was pregnant when she did the movie of it with Robert Preston, but no one knew she was. She told me that at one point, when they were singing the duet on the footbridge, she was to kiss Preston — and I chose that moment to kick.
"Preston jumped back and said, 'What's that?' And my mother answered 'That's just Patrick Cassidy making himself known.'
"Then, some years ago, I was doing a benefit and Preston was also there, so I went to introduce myself. He laughed. 'You don't have to introduce yourself,' he said. 'I think we've already met.'"
Original Publication Date: 9/6/00
Or why starring in Joseph might just propel Patrick Cassidy to new heights
by Peter Cieply - December 1999 (photo: Joan Marcus)
According to Patrick Cassidy, he is not a star. Many people might need to be reminded they’ve seen him before. Mention his brothers David or Shaun, his father Jack, or his mother, Shirley Jones, and you’ll probably get instant recognition. But Patrick is more of an insider’s actor. Theatre buffs know him for creating the role of the balladeer/narrator in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins. Film fans remember his touching appearance in Longtime Companion. But if you can’t quite recall him, don’t feel bad – he says he likes it that way.
“I don’t think of myself as a star”, Cassidy says. “I never have – and I come from a family of stars. All I ever wanted to be was a working actor, and basically that’s what I’ve gotten.” Since he started acting in high school, he’s been able to keep working. “I’ve had a whole New York career, though I’ve never lived there. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to sing, so I managed to jump around from plays to musical theatre. I’ve done television sitcoms and film. I recently did Las Vegas, I’ve gotten to do the whole gamut.”
Even though he protests, Cassidy may soon become a household name. In his latest outing, he takes a star turn in the indefatigable Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “pop cantata” that, like Cassidy, may not be the most famous of its siblings (Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Cats) but it keeps working – and wowing.
Cassidy thinks the show’s success is due to its innocence. “It’s something about the age they were when they wrote it. There’s a sort of adolescent charm about it that keeps propelling it.” “The funny thing is.” Cassidy confesses, “the more you dress it up, the more you make it sexier and gaudier, it actually takes away from the show. The charm is still there – you can’t destroy it. But the truth is, the more you let it just be simple and sweet, the more it’s well received by the audience. This production still has the lights and glitz, but they’ve taken a lot of the sex out of the show, and kept the charm, and I think that’s great in terms of making it family entertainment Cassidy thinks a lot about family entertainment these days since he’s traveling with his wife, Melissa Hurley Cassidy (who also appears in the show as Mrs. Potiphar), and two sons, Cole, age four, and one-year-old Jack. That hasn’t prevented him from featuring in the show’s sexiness, however. He appears sans chemise for a good part of the show, a fact that will definitely be an attraction for some audience members.
This is definitely a change for Cassidy, who can claim Stephen Sondheim as a mentor. Is it hard to go from Sondheim – the diametrical opposite of Lloyd Webber in the musical theatre world, and a man many call genius – to this? “What I’ve come to know,” Cassidy says, is that there is a place for both of them. This show is the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Assassins, but in terms of what the audience gets out of it and is able to feel, this accomplishes a lot of the same things. To be honest, artistically speaking, I thought it was going to be sort of a compromise. In the last few years I’ve done a lot of roles that have been meatier and darker, like Macheath in Threepenny Opera or Bobby in Company. So to do Joseph seemed like a step backwards – not in terms of the show, because I think it’s a great show, but just for me as an actor. But much to my surprise, it hasn’t been. It’s actually been incredibly rewarding. I’ve trained my whole life to be a leading man, so you (deepens voice) sort of talk in here. And train your body to have everything pulled up and your chest forward. And Joseph is a young man who becomes a leading man during the course of the show. So you have to throw that away. You have to speak a little higher in your voice, and find things that are earnest and real without seeming contrived. You have to find the naivete in you. As you grow as an adult, you forget all those things. This has been a chance for me to sort of throw away everything I’ve learned as an actor and rediscover the child inside me and the boy who gro