Shaun Cassidy chats with Woodlands Online about enduring and evolving over the years
Teen idol-turned-multi-genre entertainer will play Dosey Doe - The Big Barn this Wednesday
THE WOODLANDS, TX – Too often, entertainment icons from decades past are shunted into the “resurrection” category when they appear on stage or screen today; they are considered to have had no continuing career in the intervening time frame. One such musical-and-acting icon, however, hasn’t gone away at all since the 1970s; he’s been around all the time.
Shaun Cassidy was the literal poster boy for ‘70s fangirl wish fulfillment – his iconic boyish looks adorned the walls of every youngster who subscribed to Tiger Beat magazine. Still only a high school student when he released his debut, platinum-selling, self-titled album, he soon earned a number one song plus a Grammy nomination for 'Best New Artist.'
Immediately, the son of screen-and-stage icons Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy became a favorite of a new generation of music listeners when – around the same time in 1977 – he crossed genres and also became a television star shortly thereafter as Joe Hardy in The Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries. As the ‘70s wound down – and the formerly ubiquitous reach of AM radio with it – Cassidy redirected his attention and talents to stage and screen, appearing in hits such as General Hospital, Murder, She Wrote, Matlock, and Roots: The Gift.
We sat down with Shaun to get some insights on this multi-talented entertainer and what his life past and present has been like as he prepares for a special concert-plus at Dosey Doe - The Big Barn on Wednesday, June 8.
“This is my first time visiting The Woodlands, and I hear it’s a lovely area,” he said. “I’ve been to Houston before – in fact, my last tour in 1980 was at the Astrodome – but I can’t wait to see what’s in store in The Woodlands.”
From practically birth, Cassidy has been no stranger to the performing life. Son of “Mrs. Partridge” Shirley Jones and Broadway legend Jack Cassidy – and younger half-brother to fellow performer David Cassidy – Shaun has fond memories of his theatrical roots. “On so many weekends our family would go see our dad perform on stage on Broadway,” he said. “It was basically our church.”
Not being content to be pigeonholed in a certain block of mass media appeal, once he had already established himself as a musician and actor, Shaun flexed his writing and producing muscles and created the chilling universe of American Gothic, a groundbreaking series broadcast to homes starting in 1995. His name in the “created by” credits caught many people off-guard; how could it be that the wide-eyed singer of “Da Doo Ron Ron” had written a television series that included cold-blooded murder by a devil-like leading character in the pilot episode alone?
“I’ve always liked genre television,” he said. “I’ve gravitated toward ‘heightened reality’ shows. Even as a kid, I felt I had a writer’s brain, and American Gothic allowed me to basically put on a cable television show long before there were those cable shows we see today.”
As a producer and writer, Cassidy cemented his reputation as someone who could work in front of the camera and behind the scenes with equal ease. Besides American Gothic, he has been instrumental in the production of hits like The Agency, Cold Case, Ruby & the Rockits, Emerald City, Cover Me: Based on the True Life of an FBI Family, Invasion, and Blue Bloods. Additionally, since 2018, he has served as executive producer and writer of the hit series New Amsterdam and is currently developing a new pilot for NBC with fellow theatrical icon Scott Bakula. Working on the hit medical drama New Amsterdam has been fulfilling to Cassidy as an executive producer and writer; he views it as his most ‘down to earth’ shows, especially in these pandemic times.
“Several years back, I got to act with my brother David in a Broadway musical called Blood Brothers,” he said. “What a great experience, and when David took it on tour, I allowed it to be my last acting gig.” Blood Brothers is the tale of twins separated at birth and raised by disparate sets of parents, highlighting the age-old ‘nurture versus nature’ trope.
In talking with Shaun, it became readily apparent that he has a positive – yet realistic – outlook on life. He has avoided the tribulations and scandals of so many other started-out-young entertainers of his generation and has contrived to constantly revamp his career practically every decade of his career. “The arc of a teen idol is short by definition,” he said. “I grew up watching the paths of my brother, of the Monkees and the Beatles, and knew I had to transition into uncharted territory.”
Cassidy relied on his theatrical upbringing combined with his age-old desire to write to conceive of his show that will regale fans this Wednesday at Dosey Doe. “I’ve come full circle to get back on stage with this, which is basically a love letter to the audience and our shared experience.” He had originally opted to do a one-man monologue show, but was convinced by his inner circle to include music, creating a narrative, fully theatrical piece.
“This show won’t be what people expect, and in the good way,” he said. “I hope people will come away with their expectations more than met. The music includes some new songs and classics; I’ll sing some David, and I’ll sing some of my mother. To me, the concept of family – whether it’s my own kin or the family of my audience – is a key part of this show.”
The Wednesday show includes a full course dinner in an intimate-yet-bustling venue that has drawn in globally loved acts from literally all over the world. Click here to get your tickets before they sell out.