December 13, 2020 – Hartford, WI – John McGivern lit up the stage at the Schauer Arts Center in Hartford on Sunday afternoon. It was his third show during a weekend appearance; “John McGivern Holiday Tales.”
For nearly two hours McGivern, dressed in a dark red seasonal sweater, blue jeans, and Allen Edmond Oxfords, took the audience back to a simpler time growing up in a duplex on Bartlett Avenue on Milwaukee’s east side, with his parents and five siblings and their station wagon and Catholic values doled out at St. Peter and Paul Parish.
McGivern eased through tales about summer vacation with his family in a snug cabin near Wildrose and all the life’s lessons learned about outhouses, your grandmother’s housecoat/duster and questionable actions of young adults that did not fall under the category of “sin” but rather “they were Lutheran.”
McGivern eased into the news about the death of his mother in April 2020 and then wrapped a story around it about her patience when his dad bought a toupee, her wire coat hanger wrangling skills and the surprises found in her drawer of delicates.
McGivern was classy and comforting and mixed humor with heartache and then put a bow on it with a relatable punchline.
During a post-show Q&A is when the Emmy Award-winner dropped the bomb and said Milwaukee PBS decided not to renew his show Around the Corner with John McGivern.
The news stung, especially for McGivern who recently beat out five other nominees to pick up his fifth Emmy for hosting Around the Corner. “I don’t wonder where my Emmys are. I keep them on my desk, I will take you right to them.”
The goal of McGivern and his staff was to complete 10 seasons. They had nine under their belt.
McGivern said Milwaukee PBS was “moving in another direction” with more “COVID-related programming.”
Questioned about what was next, McGivern said they were exploring their options.
After a couple minutes of discussion, he forced himself to change topics, saying “this isn’t what you came here for.” However, the audience was supportive and shared stories about how much they loved Around the Corner with John McGivern.
“I had one couple here last night who visited 67 of the cities we feature,” he said. “They would write down all the places I stopped and then trace my steps.”
McGivern is performing at The Pabst in Milwaukee in February. Click HERE for details.
Click HERE if you want to contact McGivern and share your support.
Click HERE if you want to give a piece of your mind to Milwaukee PBS; it is a full list of decision makers and their phone numbers and email addresses.