The Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts at Sacred Heart University continues its American Legends Series with the award-winning actress and singer Shirley Jones on Sunday, October 16 (2011) at 3pm. (Note: Jones’ stepson David Cassidy appeared on the same stage on October 1).
Shirley Jones will take the stage to candidly reminisce about her career on stage, in film and television in an ‘Actors Studio-style’ presentation hosted by Jerry Goehring, Executive Director of The Edgerton Center. In addition, the evening will include selected clips from her film, television stage productions. Miss Jones will also participate in a Q&A with members of the audience.
While vacationing in New York City with her parents, Shirley Jones auditioned for the songwriters Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Her wholesome appearance and girl-next-door image along with a well-trained soprano voice impressed the team. She began her career on Broadway at the age of eighteen as one of the nurses in the original production of South Pacific.
The following year, she was cast to star in Rodgers and Hammerstein's film version of Oklahoma! Released in 1955, the multimillion-dollar production met with acclaim from critics, who felt Jones was the perfect choice to play the movie's heroine Laurey. She followed the success of her film debut with a turn in the 1956 feature adaptation of Carousel. Opportunities continued to come her way, and she landed leading roles in April Love and Never Steal Anything Small, which paired her with leading man James Cagney.
To counter her more than peaches-n’-cream screen image, Shirley sought out the challenge of a darker role by taking a truly dramatic turn in the film “Elmer Gantry” portraying a jilted girlfriend turned vengeful prostitute. She successfully met that challenge by earning critical and popular acclaim as well as an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. According to Jones, “After I won the Oscar, my salary doubled, my friends tripled, my children became more popular at school, my butcher made a pass at me, and my maid hit me up for a raise.”
Jones continued to work in films portraying as Marian the Librarian in “The Music Man” and she took on lighter roles in such comedies “The Courtship of Eddie's Father” and “Bedtime Story,” and showed her dramatic flair in “The Happy Ending” and “The Cheyenne Social Club.”
Eventually, Jones made a transition to the small screen in ABC's musical sitcom “The Partridge Family,” cast as the recently widowed mother of a singing family. The show was a hit and its cast became household names - David Cassidy (Jones' real-life stepson with Jack Cassidy), Susan Dey, and Danny Bonaduce. Capitalizing on the show's popularity, the cast recorded a few albums which included songs like “I Think I Love You” and “Doesn't Somebody Want to Be Wanted.”
Jones had her first date with Jack Cassidy in Paris while both were touring in a European stage production of Oklahoma! Then in 1956, they married and she raised four children (including David Cassidy, whose mother was Evelyn Ward). After 19 years together, they divorced.
Later, Jones married actor Marty Ingels. In 1990, she and Ingels released their book, "Shirley & Marty: An Unlikely Love Story."
Since the late 1990s, Jones has focused her efforts on a very successful concert career, touring the United States and the world.
Reserved tickets are:
$25 - General Public
$20 - Students/Faculty/Staff
$15 - Senior Citizens
Tickets may be purchased:
By Phone: Edgerton Center Box Office at 203.371.7908 (Mondays through Fridays
In Person: at box office located in the lobby of the Edgerton Center
The box office will be open 2 hours prior to each performance.