Actor and singer John O’Hurley will showcase his many talents at the DeJoria Center this weekend
John O’Hurley has sculpted a creative career in every medium.
Many people will know him for his roles of J. Peterman on “Seinfeld” or as Kit Sterling in “All My Children” and winning the first season of “Dancing with the Stars.” Others know him as King Arthur in Monty Python’s “Spamalot” or as Billy Flynn in “Chicago” on Broadway.
Cartoon lovers will recognize O’Hurley’s voice as King Neptune in the cartoon “SpongeBob Squarepants” and Phantom Blot in “Disney’s House of Mouse.” And gameshow fans will recognize him as the host of “Family Feud” before Steve Harvey.
When O’Hurley performs his touring show “A Man With Standards” on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the DeJoria Center in Kamas, audiences will experience his singing and storytelling.
“It’s the stories of my life growing up in the ‘50s and ‘60 around the songs of the Great American Songbook,” O’Hurley said. “I tell the stories of growing up in the shadows of men who had standards and talk about what it was like to grow up in the culture of when your parents went out to dinner and dancing every Saturday night.”
O’Hurley loves the lyrics and melodies of Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra and others, whichunderscore the concert’s narrative..
“The art of songwriting is a lot like impressionist painting,” he said “[You] don’t try to be too accurate or too logical. Suggest and allow the mind of the listener to fill the dots in.”
O’Hurley, a self-taught pianist and classically trained singer, mentioned “Moon River” as an example.
“It’s one of the greatest songs ever written, but if you look at the lyrics, they don’t make sense,” he said chuckling. “But that doesn’t mean they don’t paint a picture that makes sense to you.”
“Moon River” also features a memorable melody.
“You want something sweeping and passionate that they can hum,” he said. “If you think of the music of the Great American Songbook, you remember the lyrics and can hum every one of them.”
While music is a pillar in O’Hurley’s life, he always wanted to be an entertainer.
“I started off when I was three years old when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up,” he said. “With the sense of disgust that a three-year-old can muster, I pointed to the black-and-white TV in the corner of the room and said, ‘Well, I am an actor, so that’s what I’m going to be.’ So [my career] has been really about connecting the dots from there until here.”
Whiel O’Hurley has a truckful of stories he could tell, he let time become his editor after first presenting “A Man With Standards” a couple of years ago in San Francisco’s 54 Below at the Hotel Nikko.
“I never did a running time on the show, and when I finished, I had almost two-and-a-half hours of material,” he said. “No one complained, but I did say to myself that it was a little long.”
So he cut some stories, but still maintained his goal.
“It’s about the laughter of my life and the music of my life and one tear,” he said. “And I won’t give what that one tear is away. But I’m a storyteller, so I love telling these stories. They are funny and they are poignant.”
In the meantime, O’Hurley is working on a new chapter of his life.
“I haven’t found any new mediums, yet, but I have realized that things are more skit driven, so I have a bunch of funny stuff on YouTube and I do them when funny things hit me,” he said. “I have learned that time is becoming less relevant, and entertainment is becoming more audience friendly, meaning you watch it on your time than on the time it was scheduled.”
O’Hurley is working on a new TV project with Bryan Cranston.
“I’m basically taking an old black-and-white cops-and-robber series from the 1950s, which is one of the funniest things you’ve ever seen and replacing the lead actor with me so I can basically say anything I want,” he said.
A few weeks ago, “A Man With Standards” was nominated for “Best Show in New York” by BroadwayWorld.com
“The joy of what I do is to be able to do it in so many different mediums — drama, comedy, film, stage — and they all are equally satisfying, because they each have their own idiosyncrasies, their separate set of circumstances, and I love them for what they are,” O’Hurley said. “So to have this show nominated as Best Show in New York by Broadway World is an honor. I’m just waiting to hear how it goes.”
Award-winning actor, voice actor and singer John O’Hurley will present “A Man With Standards.” Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.dejoriacenter.com.
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