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‘Incredible’ entertainer performing in Punxsy

March 14, 2011

John Davidson

PUNXSUTAWNEY — John Davidson said he wanted to study human behavior as a student at Denison College in Ohio, but he didn't do it as a psychology or sociology major.

"I took courses in theater, and the plays are all about human behavior," Davidson said last week. "So I met a lot of theater people, and I thought they were more motivated and socially aware than the other kids at Denison."

He became a theater arts major, and this road took him to Broadway, TV, film and to his current tour, which stops in Punxsy at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Punxsutawney Area High.

Viewers probably recall Davidson on TV shows such as "That's Incredible," "Hollywood Squares" and as a frequent guest host on "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson," but he began his career on Broadway as Burt Lahr’s son in the musical "Foxy."

He has also performed in productions of "The Music Man" as Harold Hill; "Chicago" as Billy Flynn; and "Man Of La Mancha," among others.
These days, Davidson tours the country in a scaled down version of his own "John Davidson Show" from 1981-82.

"What I love to do the most is the live shows; it's what I think I do best," he said. "This is an updated version of my Las Vegas show, and it's a lot of singing with guitar, banjo, ukulele, and it's a lot of jokes. It's a high-energy show. I work on the comedy spots as much as I do on the singing."

Davidson also performed in a 2005 production of "Shenandoah" with his youngest daughter, Ashleigh.

"She's a product of a second marriage, and we've held it together for 32 years, because we are together all the time. That's the secret," he said, adding that he and his wife, Rhonda, home-schooled Ashleigh for seven years while traveling.

"She was backstage for the 'Music Man' tours, 'Oklahoma' while she was growing up," Davidson said, adding that she has studied at the Boston Conservatory. "She got the theater bug when she was five or six years old."

Davidson began his 65-city tour in September, and the tour wraps up at the end of this month. During the tour, he and his wife have been traveling in a 30-foot RV from gig to gig.

"It's been quite an adventure," he said.

After the tour ends, the Davidsons will return to their home in Florida, where they live after residing in Mexico for several years.

Despite graduating from high school in White Plains, N.Y., Davidson was actually born in Pittsburgh, and recalls visiting family in Ligonier as a child.

"It's early spring, but Pennsylvania is beautiful either way, with these ridges, mountains and everything," he said about his return to the Keystone State.

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