'Hollywood Squares' host John Davidson to headline weekly gig at Gateways in Lenox


LENOX — In an attempt to spice up the town's limited nightlife, the Gateways Inn & Restaurant has hired veteran Broadway, Las Vegas and Hollywood entertainer John Davidson, now a local resident, as a marquee attraction.

His show, "Roots, Roles and Rhythms," is booked at the downtown establishment on Thursday nights at 7:30 through August.

"It's a very positive show," Davidson said in an interview. "I want to sing songs that reveal human nature and relationships. It's all material that will move people to laughter, inspiration, or tears."

Davidson, 74, is marking his 50th anniversary in show business. His early theatrical roles includes Curly in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!" and he is well-known to TV viewers of "The Hollywood Squares" and "That's Incredible" in the 1980s.

Following a lengthy road tour as the wizard in the musical "Wicked," Davidson and his wife, Rhonda, relocated here from Florida. He performed a weekly summer gig at Firefly on Church Street in 2014 before returning to the road, again in "Wicked."

Embarking recently on another search for a regular local gig, Davidson landed at the Gateways, reveling in what he calls "a real showroom with nightly entertainment."

At the Gateways, he accompanies himself on guitar and on drums ("I play with my feet") and reminisces about Broadway and other career highlights.

Davidson covers hits by Harry Chapin, John Denver and Kenny Rogers in a set list that ranges widely from '50s rock 'n' roll to folk music and country tunes.

By nature a storyteller, he also recites his own comic verse, including a poetic tribute to Lenox, where he resides on Kemble Street.

"I talk about how I feel about life at 74, some of the triumphs, dismays and regrets along with insight and hope for the future," he explained.

"It's a self-discovery thing, I'm discovering ways that I can entertain and communicate," he added. "It's more in-depth, a more personal show than I've ever done, more naked, candid, more moving and more fun."

"We're thrilled to have him join us on a regular basis," said Michele Gazit, co-owner of the inn. "He's a distinguished troubadour and such a perfect fit for the Gateways." She hopes his stint will extend beyond the summer season.

Likewise, said Davidson, if the fans turn out he'd like nothing more than to perform several nights a week.

Contact Clarence Fanto at 413-637-2551.

What: "Roots, Roles and Rhythms," cabaret performances by veteran entertainer John Davidson.

When: Thursday nights at 7:30, through August.

Where: Gateways Inn & Restaurant, 51 Walker St., Lenox.

How: No cover. A $15 minimum food and/or beverage order per person, except for inn guests and dinner patrons.

Information: 413-637-2532 or www.gatewaysinn.com


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