Review of “John Cullum: An Accidental Star” – Bonnie Goldberg

The actor and singer John Cullum, hailing from Tennessee, has played King Arthur and Arthur’s son Mordred in “Camelot,” Laertes in “Hamlet,” Edward Rutledge a delegate from South Carolina in “1776,” Charlie Anderson in “Shenandoah,” a maniacal Broadway producer in “On the Twentieth Century” and an evil corporate president in “Urinetown the Musical,” to name drop just a few. Looking back from a perspective of age, a hearty 91, and wisdom, gleaned from life, John Cullum is ready to delight you in story and song about his fascinating theatrical journey.

Calling his one-man show “John Cullum: An Accidental Star,” conceived by Cullum and Jeff Berger, written by David Thompson and directed by Lonny Price and Matt Coward, you are invited to stream it, on demand, until April 22, with a live watch party April 17 at 2 p.m. Co-produced with the Irish Repertory Theatre, Vineyard Theatre and Goodspeed Musicals, tickets are $25 and up and can be secured online at vineyardtheatre.org or irishrep@irishrep.org or by calling the Vineyard at 646-931-4711.

Modestly Cullum credits coincidence and luck to his becoming a star. When he came to New York City in 1956, it was with two letters of introduction and not much else. Before he knew it, he was carrying a spear in a production of “St. Joan” and had a second paying job in “Hamlet” and he had only been in the Big Apple for six weeks. Living in a room for $6 a week, he credits his most loyal supporter Joe Papp with casting him in three Shakespeare in the Park productions and his career was officially off and running.

Over the decades, he has made his mark in television, stage and screen, winning two Emmys along the way. You might remember seeing him in the TV show “Northern Exposure,” “Law and Order,” “Law and Order Special Victims Unit,” “ER,” “The Middle” and “Madam Secretary” among others. With Julie McBride on the piano, he shares stories about his auditions and his relationships with icons like Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Robert Goulet. He sings such favorites as “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” and “Shenandoah” and tales from his time in “The Scottsboro Boys,” “Urinetown the Musical,” “Waitress” and “110 in the Shade.” For eighty minutes, he fascinates his audience with a hopscotching tour of his life and career that you won’t want to miss. Let actor and singer John Cullum be your entertaining guide!

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