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date: 22 September 2020

Raitt, John (Emmett )locked

  • William A. Everett
  •  and Lee Snook

Extract

(Emmett )

(b Santa Ana, CA, Jan 29, 1917; d Los Angeles, Feb 20, 2005). American actor and singer . His background and training in opera prepared him for his career in Broadway, having sung Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, and Escamillo in Carmen. He played Curly McLain in the national tour of Oklahoma!, which opened in Chicago in 1944, before being cast as the first Billy Bigelow in Carousel (1945), and hence the first singer to perform that show’s ‘Soliloquy’. Raitt also created the part of Sid Sorokin in The Pajama Game (1954) and reprised the role in the 1957 Warner Brothers film. Although he played many parts in numerous revivals, it is for the two Rodgers and Hammerstein characters of Curly McLain and Billy Bigelow, especially the latter, that he is remembered. He possessed a well-produced high baritone voice and was known and respected for his vocal endurance and consistency. He was able to avoid excessive operatic mannerisms, thus giving an authentic American sound to his stage personas, and establishing high standards for musical theatre baritones. The natural quality of his voice appealed to a broad spectrum of the American people. His daughter, Bonnie, is a successful country singer....

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