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THE PERFORMERS

John Raitt. Photo by Scott Suchman.
John Raitt

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In 1945 when baritone John Raitt made his Broadway debut playing Billy Bigelow in the Rodgers and Hammerstein masterpiece Carousel, he also made musical history, introducing such songs as the immortal "If I Loved You" and the ground breaking "Soliloquy," which was written especially for him.

One of the most notable and enduring stars of musical theater, Raitt’s many stage credits include starring roles both on Broadway and in national companies of Oklahoma!, Annie Get Your Gun, The Pajama Game, Zorba, Kismet, Shenandoah, The Music Man, A Joyful Noise and Man of La Mancha.

Born in Santa Ana, California, Raitt began performing professionally with the Los Angeles Civic Light opera. His performance in the company’s Merry Widow won him an MGM screen test and an MGM film contract, under which he appeared in Flight Command, Billy the Kid and Ziegfeld Girl. Impressed by his work as Curly in the national company of Oklahoma!, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein decided to cast him as the star of the Broadway-bound Carousel.

Raitt has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame at the Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. He has performed with his daughter Bonnie Raitt many times including a special PBS concert with the Boston Pops Orchestra.