She was Marion the librarian in “The Music Man,” Shirley Partridge in “The Partridge Family,” and Laurey Williams in “Oklahoma!” This spring however, legendary performer Shirley Jones will be coming to Oklahoma for real as she brings her one-of-a-kind voice and a lifetime of stories to Rogers County for “Destination Claremore.”

“We’re thrilled that Shirley Jones will be coming to town for ‘Destination Claremore’” said Tanya Andrews, Claremore Convention and Visitors Bureau. “As Laurey in the movie adaptation of Roger and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”,  Miss Jones is a legend in Oklahoma, the state, and as such, she was an obvious choice to be a part of ‘Oklahoma’s Cast of Legends’ — this year’s ‘Destination Claremore’ theme.

“We’re so fortunate that her schedule allowed her to be a part of the week-long celebration of Claremore,” she said. During her time in Claremore, Jones will perform at the Robson Performing Arts Center on May 3, speak to Claremore students at “Conversations,” a student assembly, also at Robson PAC (not open to the public), and be at Will Rogers Downs for a “Meet & Greet with Shirley Jones” on May 4.

Longtime performer and actress Jones began singing at age six, receiving formal training at age 12.
After graduating from high school, she went to New York to audition for the casting director of Rogers and Hammerstein and was signed on as a nurse in the Broadway production of “South Pacific.”
Within a year, Jones would appear in her first film, “Oklahoma!” as Laurey, the farm girl in love with a cowboy played by her childhood idol, Gordon MacRae.

Following the year-long shoot of “Oklahoma!”, Jones returned to Broadway for the stage production of the same. She returned to Hollywood in 1956 to star in “Carousel,” and was later featured in films including “Elmer Gantry” “The Music Man,” and “The Courtship of Eddi’s Father,” among others.
Jones also began working in television, on programs such as “Playhouse 90,” but she was immortalized as Shirley Partridge, the matriarch of a band of family members in “The Partridge Family.”
Following the cancellation of “The Partridge Family,” Jones continued working in television in both made-for-TV-movies and making guest appearances on regular (television) series.

Most recently, Jones appeared as Colleen Brady on the ongoing daytime series “Days of Our Lives.”

“When I was growing up, just like all kids my age, watching ‘The Partridge Family was the highlight of the week.  Now, knowing a little more about Claremore’s history and the significance of ‘Oklahoma’s Cast of Legends’, having Shirley Jones in Claremore takes on an entirely new meaning. “I’m humbled by the support of our community, our sponsors and Miss Jones,” she said. “The Claremore Convention & Visitors Bureau is proud to celebrate our history, our accomplishments, and our bright and shining future by hosting Destination Claremore, 2011.”


“Destination Claremore” begins April 29 and continues through May 7, 2011, and features Shirley Jones at the Robson PAC, May 3; and Meet-N-Greet at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs, May 4. 

Tickets go on sale for the Meet-N-Greet with Jones and Taste of Claremore, March 21 and can be purchased at the Claremore Convention & Visitors Bureau, 419 W. Will Rogers, Claremore, OK. Tickets for the featured performance with Shirley Jones, and the opening performance by Sounds of Music Orchestra, go on sale April 5. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Robson PAC at 918-699-6930. 

The nine-day event also includes events such as RSU’s “Art on the Hill,” “Wooly Weekend” at Shepherd’s Cross, Route 66 Nut House presents the Tulsa Vintage Show, Dog Iron Poker Run ending at Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs, the Route 66 Cruiser’s “Cruise-In,” “American Cowboys Traders Days” at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum and the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum, Claremore night at the

JM Davis, Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at the Belvidere Mansion, Taste of Claremore at Will Rogers Memorial, the Lilac Festival in downtown Claremore, and “Derby Day” at the Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs.


Tom Fink, Claremore Daily Progress