January 11 – Happy Birthday Don Percassi

Percassi4Here’s an excerpt from my story about this talented Amsterdam-born performer which appears in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order a copy, click here.

Today’s birthday celebrant has to be considered the best and most successful male professional dancer ever to hail from Amsterdam, New York. Fortunately, Don Percassi’s parents not only recognized their son had a talent for dancing as a youngster, they encouraged and nurtured it. By the time he was fifteen years old he had already taken dancing lessons in New York City. His local fame soared when in 1954 he was selected to be the featured male dancer in Horizons, the gigantic historical 15-part episodic pageant performed at Mohawk Mills Park to commemorate Amsterdam’s sesquicentennial. He also became Bert DeRose’s favorite chorographer for the summer plays put on by the Amsterdam Recreation Department. He graduated from Wilbur Lynch High School in 1956 and returned to New York City to further his study of dance and begin a wonderfully successful career as a professional dancer.

He got his first stage role as a dancer and singer in a touring version of the play Pajama Game in 1957. His first appearance on Broadway came in 1964 in the play High Spirit followed by appearances in Walking Happy, Coco, Sugar and Mool, Mack and Mabel. Then in 1975, Percassi landed the lead role of “Al DeLuca” in the giant Broadway hit Chorus Line, which set a record run of over 6,000 performances…

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