With a nearly 60-year career performing, entertainer Pat Boone said he's not sure how he managed to never be booked for a concert at any of the Drury Lane theaters in Chicagoland.
"Everyone knows the Drury Lane, so I'm glad to finally get back to Chicago to play this space," Boone said Monday, talking by telephone from his office in Beverly Hills.
"Actually, it's been some time since I've been to Chicago."
The last time he was anywhere close to the Windy City and Midwest area was in September 2009 to perform at Amish Acres near South Bend. Earlier that same summer, he made a brief appearance at a Chicagoland charity golf outing in June 2009.
In three weeks, Boone, will welcome his 79th birthday on June 1. So he says he doesn't mind celebrating a little early at Drury Lane Dinner Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. to do two concerts just in time for Mother's Day weekend. His shows are at 1:30 p.m. both May 13 and 14.
Boone has had nearly 40 Top 40 hits, and has sold more than 45 million albums, in addition to his starring in more than 15 Hollywood films.
Boone, part of a famous family of performers, is still the man as associated with his Christian devotion as he is with his white buck shoes.
In fact, he originally wanted to be a teacher before his singing career took off in the 1950s.
"My concerts I'm doing at Drury Lane are a trip down memory lane performing all of the hits audiences love and associate with what was a great time in so many lives," Boone said.
"There's something about the music from that time period. It's magical. I tell my audiences that as I look out from the stage, I can see everyone seeming to become younger as they listen and enjoy these songs they grew up with."
Some of Boone's biggest song hits include "Don't Forbid Me," "Love Letters in the Sand," "April Love," "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally." Boone's career includes dozens of hit songs, some featured on the Indiana State Fair Grandstand Stage in 1956 and 1960 and in his starring role in Oscar Hammerstein's "State Fair" (1962).
As for how Boone has managed to navigate what has been the rough waters of show biz for so many of his contemporaries of his day, Boone credits both his faith and good agency management.
"I was always made out to have this rivalry with Elvis Presley, whose career was hitting high at the same time as mine, despite our different styles," he said.
"His management played up his single man lifestyle, which wasn't exactly true, while I was already married to my wife Shirley by age 19 and we began adding new additions to our family each year. I wouldn't change a thing."
The couple celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary two weeks ago, and they have four daughters, Linda, Cherry, Debby and Laura. Shirley is the daughter of country music great Red Foley and singer Judy Martin, while daughter Debby is married to Gabriel Ferrer, son of late entertainers Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney.
Thinking of Mother's Day, Boone recalls how impressed his own parents were, especially his mother, when his career took off and he was able to introduce them to their "all-time favorite" singer Bing Crosby, when the legendary crooner asked Boone to perform at his annual golf tournament.
"I grew up listening to Bing Crosby and that's the type of music and performing I also wanted to give fans," he said.
"And as my career progressed, I'd have to pinch myself when I was able to say I was now friends with all of my idols like Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Tony Bennett."