By GERRY BARKER
North Palm Beach Life
Before every show, the multi-talented John O'Hurley says a little prayer: "God, let me be surprised."
At his show, "A Man With Standards," Wednesday night at Kravis Center's Rinker Playhouse -- the second of two -- it was the audience who might have been surprised at just how skilled O'Hurley is as a singer and storyteller. Not to mention, he's just so darned funny. His wry and self-deprecating sense of humor had us laughing almost nonstop.
The man many know for his portrayal of J. Peterman on one of TV's biggest hits, "Seinfeld," delivered 90 minutes of songs from the American Songbook, interlaced with anecdotes and stories from his life and long career in show business.
Not many entertainers can say their careers started by playing a marigold in an elementary school production of "Sing a Song of Sixpence." But O'Hurley, a native of Kittery, Maine, said he played that part with pride, and used it as a springboard to bigger and better things.
There's hardly a facet of show business O'Hurley hasn't touched, including game show host ("Family Feud") to daytime soaps (too many to list, but he said he's married Susan Lucci at least four times), ABC's popular "Dancing With the Stars" (he was the people's choice winner), singer-songwriter (he said he once made the mistake of singing Sinatra to Sinatra), not to mention 2,000 performances in "Chicago" on Broadway (he delivered a great version of "Razzle Dazzle" from that musical). Not bad for a guy who started acting as a flower.
O'Hurley ended with an "obligatory encore" straight out of the J. Peterman catalog, an opus from his life-affirming time in the Ganges River. It was so eloquent, we'll have to add "poet" to his long list of talents.
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"