Wednesday, January 28, 2015

South Philly's Sherman Hemsley brings mystery show to Cherry Hill

South Philly native Sherman Hemsley, better known to a generation of TV viewers as George Jefferson, performs Saturday in Cherry Hill.

South Philly's Sherman Hemsley brings mystery show to Cherry Hill

Sherman Hemsley (AP Photo)
Sherman Hemsley (AP Photo)

South Philly native Sherman Hemsley, better known to a generation of TV viewers as George Jefferson, says that he always wanted to return to this area with "something special." Hemsley says that his two shows Saturday at Sarcasm, inside the Cherry Hill Crowne Plaza, are "the shows I always wanted to do."

Despite that declaration, Hemsley, who was raised at 22nd and Christian, was fairly mum about exactly what kind of show he's performing when we asked if it was a comedy show, or musical, or sharing stories of his past.

"I can't explain it, bro," he said. "I'm just showing up. I don't want to get into it. I don't know."

Before leaving Philadelphia at age 29 to pursue acting in New York, Hemsley worked as a postal clerk at 30th Street Station, where, he said, he played a lot of pingpong.

"I was so good I used to go to other post offices to play," he told us the other day.

The actor appeared in shows at the Society Hill Playhouse, Theater 14, the Theater of Living Arts and the Valley Forge Music Fair before moving to New York, where he eventually landed the role of George Jefferson, first on "All in the Family," which then continued on "The Jeffersons."

Hemsley is grateful to fans of the show and everyone involved in it, but says that despite his success as George Jefferson and on "Amen," his theater roles, even back to his days playing fire in a school safety assembly and playing Santa Claus in elementary school, are just as important.

Hemsley, who said that he's written music his whole life, hinted at a musical aspect of his Sarcasm show, though didn't seem too confident in his singing, answering, "I don't know, bro," when asked if he was a good singer.

Appearing with Hemsley, who performs at 7:30 and 9:30, will be WIP radio personality and Sarcasm owner Steve Trevelise, along with Dr. Danny Broad and 97.5 the Fanatic's Phil from Mt. Airy. Tix are $25 plus a two-item minimum per person with a senior citizens discount of $20 online or by calling 856-382-6253.

Read more from our column in Monday's Daily News.

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Molly Eichel
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