Jon Dawson: Neuse News dancers and Bucklesberry theater

Jon Dawson: Neuse News dancers and Bucklesberry theater

I've just arrived home from a fantastic night of theater in Bucklesberry. 

You probably won't read about the Hickory Grove United Methodist Church Christmas play in Ben Brantley's New York Times theater column, but it deserves a mention. Simply put, the Hickory Grove production makes so-called classics such as "Hamilton", "Cats" and "Rent" look like poorly-dubbed VHS copies of Hee-Haw by comparison.

As an adult I've played music on a few stages in New York, but my stage debut was in Bucklesberry.

In 1980 I was cast in the Hickory Grove Christmas play, snagging the highly sought after part of Shepherd #2. The director and I clashed over my desire to improvise, and my attempt to contemporize the role by having the shepherd dress in a leather jacket à la Arthur Fonzerelli fell on deaf ears.

Henry Winkler as The Fonz

Henry Winkler as The Fonz

To give a realistic performance, I decided to immerse myself in the character. There were no sheep to herd in Bucklesberry in 1980, so I grabbed a crooked tobacco stick and spent weeks herding the neighborhood cats.

This may seem like overkill for the part of a shepherd that had no lines and was only on stage for 34-seconds, but if you're going to do something you might as well do it right. Besides, I'd been given a Lee Strasberg coupon for my sixth birthday and I wasn't going to let it go to waste.

In other Lenoir County entertainment news, a video of several dancing Neuse News writers was leaked to the public. The footage was shot at the Neuse News Christmas party, and none of us were consulted before this clip was released:

When I was asked by BJ Murphy to be a columnist, writer, consigliere, ombudsman, fill-in editor and Bryan Hanks-wrangler for Neuse News, there was no mention of choreography in my job duties.

My colleagues Junious Smith III and Graham Hill were the first and (to date) only male Rockettes in that organization's storied history, so it makes sense that they'd jump at an opportunity to show off their moves. Scott Cole apparently was coerced into dancing, as he's the only person I've ever met who thought Kevin Bacon was the villain in "Footloose". 

I've always been a hoofer at heart. There isn't a dance floor from the capital to the coast that can contain me, but that's always been a hidden part of my life.

For years I've danced under a blanket of anonymity through the use of several dance club aliases such as DJ Krinkle Cut, MC Khaki Lackey, Club Soda Kenny and Dr. Deodorant. But thanks to this Neuse News video, I can no longer go out in public and share my gift of dance with the world.

To make matters worse, I was actually on the short list to compete on the next season of Dancing With The Stars. Preliminary rehearsals saw me paired up with the woman who played the mom on ALF, but those negotiations have now stalled.

Thanks for ruining my dreams, Neuse News.

Contact Jon Dawson at and

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Lenoir County land transfers for Nov. 19 through Dec. 3

Lenoir County land transfers for Nov. 19 through Dec. 3

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to hold live Nativity