13 Year Old Harvey Johnson Addressing the Court

In my senior year of high school, I had the pleasure of playing Danny Zuko in the “Jet Theatrix” production of Grease…some of the most fun I’ve ever had working hard.  But when I think about the importance of CCP in my life, a production Bye Bye Birdie several years prior comes to mind first.

I was probably 13 at the time, when I managed to finagle my way into that cast.  Kirk Shanks had the role of Harvey Johnson and was great.  He always got laughs with a perfectly placed crack in his voice when asking Mrs. Hinkle if he could speak to Debra Sue.  I was several years younger than Kirk, but tall for my age and probably had a natural “crack” in my voice (although not has comical as Kirk’s) I became alternate Harvey.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget how nervous I was the only time I remember that Kirk couldn’t be there, and I certainly thought my performance that night suffered from it.  But despite my personal disappointment, I remember only encouragement from everyone involved in that production.

The Playhouse helped me grow up, contributing to the skills and confidence I would need in my continued pursuit of work in the arts as well as business.  The term “Play” is such a misnomer…with each production being the product of so many long days and late nights of tweaking and perfecting.

Now a 44 year old lawyer, when I’m preparing a case for trial, I stay up late, perfecting my words…dress rehearsal.  When I approach the podium to address the court or jury, I’m still that 13 year-old Harvey Johnson.  But because of all the work that’s gone into my “production” the nervousness is now the good kind…the kind that keeps you sharper than you would be without it.

The Crabtrees, along with the many other uber-talented folks who have graced those stages and backstages over the years, have nurtured many a Harvey Johnson…and we are grateful.

Earl Patton
Attorney at Law

© 2015 Earl Patton
Used by Permission