One-man 'Wild Bill' Hickok show being held at JWHS

1/8/2015, 8:24 a.m.
The public performance, feature "All My Children" star Walt Willey, explores the life of the western legend and will include ...
Actor Walt Willey portrays Wild Bill Hickok in a one-man show, "Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok," being presented at Joliet West High School. www.waltwilleyworld.com

"Wild Bill! An Evening with James Butler Hickok" is being presented on Feb. 28 and March 1 at Joliet West High School.

The live production, open to the public, features actor Walt Willey in a one-man portrayal of the western legend who hailed from Illinois.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. The Saturday performance is at 7:30 p.m. followed by a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. The school is located at 401 N. Larkin Ave.

The event is presented in conjunction with the JTHS Alumni Association, and includes an implementation of the Wild Bill! In-School Program for students of the theater arts at Joliet Central and Joliet West high schools.

Willey said he was inspired to do the show when he and his son spotted a sign memorializing the town of Hickock's birth, according to a news release on the show.

“My son Chance and I were doing 'Arsenic and Old Lace' with my theater company in my hometown of Ottawa, Illinois, in 2010," Willey said. "We were traveling to a nearby town to pick up the rest of the family at the train station there. On the way, we saw this sign: ‘Troy Grove, Birthplace of James Butler 'Wild Bill' Hickok.'"

Willey, who played “Jackson Montgomery” on the daytime drama "All My Children" for almost 25 years, said he had been looking for a one-man show to take on tour, the release said.

“I began to research this man’s life and I was fascinated," he said. "Even with the myth and fable surrounding him stripped away, his life is as exciting as any of the fiction written about him. Plus, he was six-foot-two, blonde and blue (eyed), like me.”

The first-person narration follows Hickok’s life from his birth and adventures in Illinois, through his years as scout and guide, spy and lawman, gunfighter and gambler, to his assassination in Deadwood, the infamous mining camp.

The show features audience participation and after the presentation there will be a discussion and question/answer period, followed by a meet-and-greet reception.

“JTHS is extremely excited to work with Walt on this project," JTHS Alumni Director Lynne Lichtenauer said. "The mentoring program fits perfectly within our Academy of Arts and Communication and provides real-world theater experience from a seasoned industry professional.”

To purchase tickets, call 866-967-8167 or go to showtix4u.com.

For more information, call the JTHS Alumni Office at 815-727-6763.