Patrick Cassidy, who appears in the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation’s 17th annual “Help Is On the Way” benefit concert Sunday, is arriving in San Francisco fresh from a Boston production of “The Sound of Music.”
The son of Shirley Jones, who is joining him here for the concert, and the late Jack Cassidy says the show brought him full-circle theatrically.
“I was turning 16 and my mother told me if I wanted a car I was going to have to purchase half of it.”
At the time he wasn’t exactly scooping up big bucks at his Baskin-Robbins counter job.
“She said I could go on the road with her for a stock tour of ‘The Sound of Music’ and earn it.”
By summer’s end he had his Toyota Celica.
There’s been some film, television and lots of theater since, including the original Off-Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins,” the national tour of Elton John’s “Aida” and the Broadway revival of “42nd Street” with Jones, which marked a mother-son first on Broadway.
Working with relatives has been practically unavoidable for Cassidy, and a new generation is making their way in the family business.
“There’s my niece Katie and my nephew Beau, my children possibly,” he laughs, “I’ll try to do everything I can to persuade them not to.”
He jokes about the family business, but he’s very serious about the importance of family. “It’s No. 1,” he says.
Cassidy is now the same age as his father was when he died in 1976.
“Losing our father and having our mother be the family breadwinner forced my brothers and I to really bond together,” he says. “It instilled a yearning for the foundation of family.”
His priorities today are his wife, his children and then the career somewhere after that.
“It’s just how I am,” he says. “When I was coming up, most men put their careers first and most women put the children first. That’s not how it is for us, and it seems to work really well.”
The Cassidy plan includes turning down work that would separate the family unit.
“The ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ thing works for about a month, then the laws of nature dictate you start living your own life,” he says. “We have a two-week rule which we’ve never missed, and as a result we’ve been together for 18 years.”
Help Is On the Way XVII
With Patrick Cassidy, Shirley Jones, Lea Salonga, James Darren, Thea Gill, Lisa Vroman, David Burnham, Gloria Loring, Carole Cook, Mary Jo Catlett, Meg Mackay, Paula West and Kim Nalley
Where: Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
When: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $50 to $175
Contact: (415) 392-4400, www.reaf.org
Note: A preshow party begins at 5 p.m. and a dessert reception follows the performance.