Johnny Carson Needed Someone To Fill A Music Spot At The Last Second, And This Man Filled In…

When Dave Tolley got a ticket to see The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1985, he never imagined it would be the day his life would totally change. Tolley had played piano for years but was still waiting on his big break. He got that chance when the musical act Johnny Carson had previously booked cancelled at the last minute. So Carson decided to turn to the audience.

Dressed in a t-shirt and sandals, Tolley nailed a version of Memories for the Broadway show “Cats.” The audience roared with delight and he got the attention of Johnny Carson who invited him back on the show a few months later, this time as a featured guest. Tolley’s appearance catapulted his career and he went on to write seven musicals as well as compose music for Disney theme parks.


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