Davidson’s One Man Show

If all you remembered about John Davidson were his appearances on Hollywood Squares or The Tonight Show, you should have been in the audience at Holstein’s Clausen Center last Saturday night. What an eye opener that was. He flashed more facets than a well cut diamond – at times a stand up comic, a Las Vegas showman, a crooner, and a consummate actor.

The show opened on a dark auditorium with spots flowing over the house. Then there he was – bounding down the aisle with black coattails and white mane flying. Backed up by The Fabulous Inflatables, he sang a medley of love songs including a rendition of “Cuando Caliente el Sol en la Playa” that would have reached the highest tiers in the biggest theatre ever built. This man has a Voice; make no mistake about that.

Davidson also has a great way with an audience. “I sing love songs. That’s what I do.” he said and proceeded to pick Betty Franken as the recipient of hand/arm kisses bestowed with controlled abandon and finished with what he called a Bill Clinton hug. “I just love Holstein women!” he said in a rush. “Where are you from?” Her dead pan reply of “Schaller” brought down the house.

He followed this episode with “Lady in Red”, a couple of John Denver songs, and threw in a Nancy Pelosi joke just for grins and giggles. Then he whirled into his Baptist Preacher Son routine – wholesome and clean like a washing machine. Indeed. The tempo never faltered for a moment but the timbre altered considerably. Comedy transitioned into nostalgia with “Green Green Grass of Home” and Country Roads” as well as some love songs from the ’50’s. These somehow segued into a whole monologue on the perils of aging done while he lay flopped on his back on the floor. Then he was up again singing “70 Sucks”. People laughed till they cried and dashed off to the lobby to get tissues at intermission to sop up their faces.

More romantic nonsense followed the hiatus. This time with Rebecca Schmidt of Holstein as the object of his attentions. However, the lovely lady turned the tables on him by reaching up and running her fingers through his abundant locks. Non plussed? Not a bit!

Next came a banjo sing along which was going to be the best part of the evening’s entertainment until, in a stunning transformation, Davidson became Don Quixote of “Man of La Mancha”. It was magic. Suddenly the audience was in a Broadway theatre seeing the scene come to life. “Look always forward. There are no birds in last year’s nest.” is as true now as it was when the book was written. And then came the wonderful standard, “To Dream the Impossible Dream”.

What a powerful way to end both the night and the Clausen Center’s second season. John Davidson is a real artist and Holstein was more than fortunate to have him here.