‘Bubble fear’ and family ties put Patrick Cassidy on the road again [classic article]

As first seen on Bankrate.com

Patrick Cassidy is doing his part to uphold the family’s show-business dynasty.

The son of Shirley Jones and the late Jack Cassidy, brother of Shaun and Ryan, and half-brother of David, Patrick has had some big shoes to fill. He made his Broadway debut in 1981, as the lead in “Pirates of Penzance.” He’s also done stints with mom, Shirley, in “The Sound of Music” and “42nd Street.” Currently, Cassidy is reviving a role he first played in 1999 on Broadway, as the lead in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The tour will begin Sept. 6, 2005, in Milwaukee, Wis. Cassidy is expanding the family dynasty, too; his wife Melissa Hurley-Cassidy, along with sons Jack and Cole, are all appearing in the touring production.

When he’s not on live stage, fans have been able to see Patrick Cassidy on television in “Dress Gray,” a TV movie for which he received an Emmy nomination, and on guest appearances on TV series such as “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” “Smallville, “Without A Trace,” ” Law & Order: SVU,” “Crossing Jordan” and “According to Jim.”

His film credentials include playing Howard, the gay actor, in “Longtime Companion,” the first feature film that dealt with the AIDS epidemic and a neglectful husband in “Man of Her Dreams,” with Lysette Anthony.

BANKRATE: You seem to like the gypsy life of touring with a show. You’ve even sold your home and cars to go on the road. Tell me about that.

PATRICK: I don’t know if “like” is the right word. It was all kind of coincidental. I was planning to sell the house anyway, the children were getting larger, and we were thinking about school districts. Then, they offered me the tour. I said, “Absolutely not!” They came back with a different offer. They included my wife and children in the offer. I thought about the real-estate market in California — I think the real-estate bubble there will burst. I took the money and invested it. I bought the house nine years ago, so I made a nice profit. The producers were very extravagant with me, they pay all my living expenses, hired my wife and children. I hired a nanny and tutor for them. They will perform from time to time; they’re not professionals.

BANKRATE: Are you a stage dad?

PATRICK: The truth is, they’re young boys. Neither has aspirations to be in the business; I hope and pray that they don’t. I did prepare them before the show, I taught them the whole score. I’m no “Father Rose,” though.

BANKRATE: You have made the decision with your wife not to allow work to separate your family again. How would that work out if you were asked to film on location and your kids were happy in school?

PATRICK: We’ve broken the mold this time. That’s one of the biggest problems performers have. We’ve been married over 12 years. We have a two-week rule; two weeks before one of us hops on a plane. We’ve broken that rule only recently. It’s been closer to three weeks. When the children are ensconced in school, it will be harder.

BANKRATE: You have an autobiographical one-man show in the works. Tell me about the process of getting that off the ground.

PATRICK: It’s been a long time coming, growing up in a family where every single person is in show business. It’s our family business, just like another family might own a shoe store or a drug store. We still have our squabbles, our pitfalls and heroic events. I do songs both my parents did. As for financing the show, I’m in the process of working it out. I got an offer. I did my first rendition, about 40 minutes, in Newport Beach at a ladies’ luncheon. I also did it at the Manhattan Theater Club. I hired an agent.

BANKRATE: Tell me about the pros and cons of trying to carve out a career when you come from a famous family.

PATRICK: The pros: All these people are ahead of you. You have examples of what to do or not to do. But the higher you climb, the harder you fall. I made a conscious choice to study acting in New York. I worked with people like Treat Williams, Ellen Burstyn.

BANKRATE: You made the decision to go into acting, after seeing their examples, and not recording. Why?

PATRICK: I saw how short-lived it is, with the last name Cassidy. Sure, there were offers after I finished high school, “Dress him just right, give him a catchy tune to sing.” I had that all accessible.

BANKRATE: Unlike filming a television show, for example, a Broadway show requires you to use your vocal chords almost every night. What precautions or expenses do you have in preserving your voice?

PATRICK: As many expenses as you can think of. Any musical person will tell you. Like, quiet, staying quiet. Humidifiers in my room and dressing room. All kinds of remedies. I had vocal chord surgery; my range was decreasing. As a young child, I did a lot of screaming. It’s made me very conscious of how I use my voice.

BANKRATE: The income of an actor can go up and down. Do you have investments?

PATRICK: Yeah. For the first time since I was single, all the money I make goes for investments, for my wife and children. We were cash poor, and then the job came. I have very few bills: no mortgage, insurance payments, car payments. I just have cell phone and credit card bills. Now, the government might come calling to get me to pay up, now that I don’t have all the write-offs!

BANKRATE: Do you manage your own money, or do you get help?

PATRICK: I’ve always had a business manager. Both my brothers and I didn’t get a lot of money from my father’s estate. I got $80,000 from an insurance policy. Then, my mother’s business manager embezzled it. Now, with my manager, I was with him for 20 years, he’s retiring. The new guy, he’s almost like family. And, my cousin is a broker. I have a bookkeeper, too.

BANKRATE: You are active with AIDS causes. How did you select that charity?

PATRICK: Through being a member of the theater: It’s been decimated by HIV and AIDS. I have seen some of the greatest artists taken away from this planet. It’s my obligation to bring some awareness.

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