The Theater Years

The Theater Years

While still filming “Wagon Train,” Bob was preparing for a career in the musical theater by performing in summer stock around the country during the breaks in filming “Wagon Train.” After leaving that series in 1962, Mr. Horton starred on Broadway in “110 in the Shade,” the musical version of “The Rainmaker.” The musical also starred Inga Swenson, Stephen Douglas, Will Greer, and introduced Leslie Ann Warren. Mr. Horton, who has performed in both the play and the musical versions, feels that the play “holds up much better.”

110 in the Shade (1963-1964)  
I Do, I Do (1981) 
There’s a Girl In My Soup (1969-79) 
Same Time Next Year (1978-79)
6 Rooms Riv Vu (1978-79)
The Girl in the Freudian Slip (1978)
Catch Me If You Can (1973)
1776 (1972)
The Odd Couple (1972)
Oklahoma (1963-72)
The Rainmaker (1956-72)
The Man of La Mancha (1971-72)
Kismet (1969, ’70, ’71)
Zorba the Greek (1970)
The Music Man (1970)
Picnic (1955-70)  
Under the Yum-Yum Tree (1970)
Carousel (1963 & '64)
Show Boat (1962)
The Man (1962)
Pajama Game (1961-62)
Brigadoon (1960-62)
Guys and Dolls (1959)  
Death of a Salesman (1950)
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1950)
All My Sons (1950)
The Hasty Heart (1950)
The Respectful Prostitute (1950)
Thunder Rock (1950)
Harvey (1950)
Born Yesterday (1950)
On the Town (1950)
Night Must Fall (1948)
Golden Boy (1947)
110 in the Shade 1963-64 As Starbuck in 110 in the Shade Singing "Is it Really Me" from 110
No matter how Mr. Horton felt about the musical, 110 in the Shade was well received and reviewed. Ward Morehouse of the Long Island Press claimed that it had "definite quality and certainly there is magic in the music." And of Mr. Horton's performance he said, "Robert Horton supplies a vigorous and winning performance as the con man on the prowl." And of the album release, Variety said that "Horton's 'Rain Song' was a high point in an overall winning score." Hobe Morrison of the Chronicle said, "Horton, making his (Broadway) stage debut, gives a convincing portrayal of the swaggering con man who big-talks his ability to bring rain to a parched southwest farmland and proves to be an impressive singer."
"Picnic" "Picnic" "Picnic"
Of Mr. Horton's many portrayals of Hal Carter in Picnic, the reviews are legend. S. Carleton Guptill of Kennebunks The News, said, "Sometimes the theater rises above entertaining and soars with its audience to a memorable dramatic experience. The star is Robert Horton...Here is one TV star who can really act. I don't remember who originally created the role, but it should have been Mr. Horton." Josef Mossman, the drama critic for the Detroit News, said, "Horton fitted the role both physically and artistically. The physical fitness was demonstrated by the skintight blue jeans the role requires. His artistic portrayal of the role was an extraordinarily fine job of acting. Horton's performance had insight and strength." And WCSH-TV Drama Critic Fritzi Cohn said, "Robert Horton is the catalyst who takes the stage with his first dynamic entrance and never relinquishes it. Entirely believable in every mood...swaggering, tender, belligerent, boyish...the complete man and the complete actor. Moving with a lion's grace, he is a captivating performer."
In his 1st musical, "Guys and Dolls," 1959 Bob & Marilynn in "LaMancha" 1972 As Curly in "Oklahoma"

During much of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, Mr. Horton toured throughout the United States performing in musicals and plays, often with his lovely wife Marilynn, whom he met while both were performing in a summer theater production of “Guys and Dolls” in Ohio. In a review of Kismet , for the Sacramento Union,  Richard Simon said, "The most enjoyable thing about the show was the incandescent performance by Robert Horton. Horton showed a fine awareness of the ironic wit of the humble poet, and a certain dash that recalls the vintage of Errol Flynn. Marilynn Horton was both striking and droll as Lalume." Of Mr. Horton's role as Don Quixote, Angela Owen, of the Peninsula Times Tribune wrote, "but above all it was his humanity that tugged at the heartstrings of the audience...Horton is such a compelling dramatic actor..." Both Robert and Marilynn have played the roles of Curly and Laurey in Oklahoma numerous times around the country. The reviews were always glowing. In a  review in The Plain Dealer, Peter Bellamy wrote, "Both Hortons have the quality of fresh, radiant youth. He has a rich baritone voice. Her operatically trained and throbbing voice has great charm. And as a couple truly in love they add extra tenderness to their singing of "People Will Say We're in Love." And in Ohio, reviewer Miriam Hawkins wrote, "Hortons make "Oklahoma" a 'Beautiful Evening' here." She went on to say, "(Robert) Horton's voice registers a depth and power as he sings his way through the two acts. Appearing opposite her husband is Marilynn Horton, a radiant beauty whose main forte is singing but who enacts with charming innocence the part of a pretty farm miss." It was reported in "Variety" that in a mere seven performances of "Oklahoma" at the St. Louis Municipal Light Opera, Robert Horton grossed a record $143,320.75!

Bob as "Zorba" 1970 As Tommy in "Brigadoon" As John Adams  in "1776"
"Rainmaker" "There's a Girl in My Soup" In "The Odd Couple"
Bob's favorite character was Billy Bigelow from “Carousel.”
His most demanding role: John Adams in “1776.”
The most "fun" role to play: Robert Danvers in "There's a Girl in My Soup."
A role he would have liked to have played, but didn't: King Arthur in "Camelot."
As an actor, it must be nice to know that your "favorite" role is also one you are supremely good at, and such was the case with Mr. Horton's portrayal of Billy Bigelow in Carousel. A review by Carl Apone, in The Pittsburgh Press said, "To Robert Horton go the bows. His performance not only measured up to the requirements for Bigelow, it went beyond. Horton's 'Soliloquy' was loaded with emotional substance. In fact, the song not only carried the intended conviction, for me it was more impressive than Robert Goulet's version of the same song in the Carousel opener. (Horton's) 'If I Loved You' in the second act was a thing of beauty. Horton's brilliant bombardment of the role from every direction brought power and poignancy to the part."

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