classic, iconic stars of old Hollywood represent everything that
is, or should be, glitz, glamour and raw talent. From Fred
Astaire and Gene Kelly to Sammy Davis, Jr. and Bobby Darrin,
audiences were treated to song and dance numbers delivering the
utmost in creativity and charisma—the whole package. With the
current entertainment industry so hell-bent on producing shows
like Dancing With The Stars and American Idol, the
performers from the ‘Golden Age of Hollywood’ have taken a back
seat to what is considered ‘entertainment’. Or have they? Jon
Peterson, whose credits include Cats and Cabaret,
brings “Song Man Dance Man” to the Miami Beach Stage Door
starting Saturday, September 10th.
Peterson’s show is a celebration of seven song-and-dance artists
from the past whose gifts kept their audiences coming back for
more. The British-born song and dance man recently
spoke with Mark’s List about his show, working with Teri Hatcher
in Cabaret and what's lacking in today's world of
You are currently performing “Song Man
Dance Man” in Coral Springs. Are you excited to get started in
Yes. Coral Springs keeps getting extended,
so we are going to be doing split weeks with Coral Springs and
Let’s talk about the show.
The show has song and dance numbers from
Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Bobby Darrin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Donald
O’Connor, Anthony Newley and George M. Cohan. They
were all inspired by one another and some of them worked
together.They were almost kind of like one
being, but each had his own uniqueness. During the show I sing
songs that help tell each of their stories.
Do you have a favorite of the sevenof the performers?
I think my secret favorite would be Anthony
Newley—he always really inspired me.He was
so brilliant and he wrote so much stuff as well as performed it.
He wrote musicals and songs, and it was just incredible.
Were you inspired from an early age? Was
this kind of performing something you always knew you wanted to
Yes, it was.As soon as I
could hold a thought I wanted to be Gene Kelly. I went to ballet
school, which was really good training—a great foundation.
Performing in Cats in London, was
it always a goal of yours to perform in America?
In the beginning, I came over here to do
some assisting work and choreography. While I was working I just
happened to audition for Cabaret and I got the part.Well, it was originally cast with someone else and they
needed a replacement and then that’s when I got the call.
You worked with Teri Hatcher back in 2000
when you first did Cabaret. Did you keep in contact with her
after her success on Desperate Housewives?
No—she was completely unapproachable
[laughs]. She was nice and quite fantastic in the role, and a
lot of people did make friends with her on the tour; but I was
having too much fun to worry about trying to make friends with
Do you think performances in today’s
entertainment world are missing that “whole-package” aspect of
what Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire could deliver?
Absolutely.To be that
good now is really difficult. Anybody can walk in off the street
and try to sing or dance, but to hone a craft is unacceptable
these days. The performers now lack that charisma and
overall brilliance. Those people [Kelly and Astaire]
would never have gotten jobs now [laughs]. There’s not really
anyone out there who inspires me now.I have
to look back to find my inspiration.
How much longer will you perform “Song
Man Dance Man” and what are some of your future endeavors?
I have a few gigs that I’ve agreed to over
the next 18 months. I’ll set a deadline for 2013 for “Song Man
Dance Man” and go from there.I still do
other musicals and I will take on more projects as they come
along. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that I’m not as hungry
as I used to be when it comes to doing shows. I do yoga, so that
will help supplement me in between periods; but we will see what