Comedian, actor, ventriloquist, entertainer and musician Taylor Mason will bring laughs and smiles to Greeneville during a performance at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
Mason is known for his clean, family friendly shows that capture the imaginations of the young and young at heart.
He was born in Hinsdale, Ill., where his mother was a homemaker and his father was a church deacon and broadcaster at WGN Radio and Television, a local Chicago station that featured farm news in the early mornings and every day at noon. This served as an introduction to show business for young Mason, who often accompanied his father to broadcasts. His father was also hired by farm groups to speak at their conferences and meetings, and Mason was a regular sidekick to his father’s speeches.
Mason graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979 with a degree in agriculture. While there, he played varsity football for The Fighting Illini, and suffered a knee injury during his junior season. This led to an entire autumn in an ankle-to-hip cast, during which time Mason began performing at his fraternity as a disc jockey and comedian for dances. By the time his football career (he received the Illini Champion award and varsity letters) and undergraduate education ended, Mason had become a campus favorite by spinning records and telling jokes at parties, college functions and university events.
Mason was admitted to The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in the fall of 1982, where he spent the year in graduate school, earning a Master’s Degree in Advertising in June 1983. During those 12 months at Northwestern, Mason began working as a ventriloquist at Zanies Comedy Club, just one block south of The Second City Theater. By the end of 1983 Mason was working full-time in show business, either with Zanies or The Second City, getting a full education in comedy writing and performing.
In the years that followed, Mason went on to emcee at Catch a Rising Star in New York; win “Star Search,” hosted by Ed McMahon; and appear on “Comedy on Campus,” a comedy special for Showtime.
In 2000, he performed at Praise Gathering, a Christian conference in Indianapolis, Ind., and spiced up his act with a puppet version of Christian musician Bill Gaither. The performance led to Gaither offering Mason a spot on his Homecoming Concert Tour. Gaither also had Mason perform on three of his best-selling videos, filmed at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and Red Rocks in Colorado.
His latest adventure is “Children Talk,” a variety show featuring family friendly adventures of a precocious, gently mischievous and clever puppet named CT.
Most of his work can be viewed online via his website, www.taylormason.com.
Tickets to Saturday’s show at NPAC are $22.50 for adults and $10 for students, and can be purchased online at www.greenvillepac.com or by calling (423) 638-1679.
|Mike Mahaffey Tribute at Capone's|
|Regional musicians convene for the annual Mike Mahaffey Tribute at Capone's in Johnson City. Featured performers include Matt Mahaffey, Hans Rottenberry, The Butcher Covers, Tad Dickens, Terry McCoy, Bo Bradley, Quentin Horton, Stinky Finger, Andrea Hoskins, and more.|