Early Shuttering of Shirley Jones' London Show Was a Producing Issue, Not a Health Issue

News   Early Shuttering of Shirley Jones' London Show Was a Producing Issue, Not a Health Issue
 
Hollywood and Broadway legend Shirley Jones and her husband Marty Ingels are taking issue with the way producers characterized the early shuttering of her London concert debut at the Arts Theatre in March.

A statement on the Arts Theatre's website at the time, as reported by Playbill.com on March 26, indicated that the 12-performance March 22-April 3 engagement would end a week early, March 27, due to Jones' "serious vocal chord problems."

Ingels told Playbill.com on April 9 that such a claim was "an unforgivable untruth" on the part of producer Barry J. Mishon, who booked Jones and son Patrick Cassidy into the venue, a 350-seat theatre in London's West End.

Ingels wrote in an e-mail statement to Playbill.com on April 9, "Mr. Mishon plainly ran out of money trying to meet his weekly obligations with a….house capacity of only 350. That wishful plan blew up in Mishon's face early on. AND SHIRLEY WAS SINGING LIKE A BIRD. The audiences stood up and cheered."

In an e-mail from England, Mishon blamed London critics, who "[put] the public off attending which only left us one choice, but to cancel the second week."

Mishon told Playbill.com that he was not responsible for posting the specifically worded statement on the Arts Theatre's website at the time of cancellation. He was the producer of record, in association with the Arts Theatre. The posted explanation was this: "Miss Jones had not fully recovered from the serious vocal chords problems she had from her recent 17 night concert tour in the States and against specialists orders she came straight to London. There was no way after 6 nights here she could have carried on next week." Ingels called the posting a "desperate effort." Ingels wrote, "Despite Mr. Mishon's underfortunate judgment calls, my wife still harbors only profound gratitude for the team of dedicated professionals that hung with her to the very last."

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Oscar-winning Hollywood star Jones, who has also appeared on Broadway in South Pacific, Maggie Flynn and 42nd Street, was virtually unknown when Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein cast her as Laurie in the 1955 film version of their stage musical Oklahoma! It brought her worldwide fame. Subsequent leading roles on film included the movie versions of The Music Man and Carousel, and on TV she is best known for playing the matriarch in "The Partridge Family." Among the people she has acted with are Marlon Brando, James Stewart, Glenn Ford, Lloyd Bridges, Henry Fonda and James Cagney. Her song list for her London appearances was to include "Tonight," "If I Loved You," "A Wonderful Guy," "Send in the Clowns," "Memory," "76 Trombones", "What's the Use of Wonderin'," "When I Fall in Love," "He Touched Me," "He Loves Me," "As Time Goes By," "Can't Help Lovin' That Man," "You Made Me Love You," "Oklahoma!," "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning," "People Will Say We're in Love," "Out of My Dreams" and "You'll Never Walk Alone."

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