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Willy Welch (also known as "Mr. Willy") is a children’s entertainer, picture book author and recording artist who brings his songs and stories (and sometimes puppets) to schools, churches, child care centers, preschools- wherever! He is a songwriter who wrote a few songs for Barney & Friends.

About Willy Welch

He performs at hospitals, arts festivals (Montage, Kid-Around, etc.) and birthday parties, bookstores and store openings. He penned over 35 songs of the songs that “Barney and Friends” sing on their PBS television show. He was also a staff songwriter for the “Boz the Green Bear Next Door” DVD series.

Mr. Willy has written and performed for (and with) thousands of children under the auspices of Arts Partners and Big Thought – leading singing with elementary children and working with them on expressing themselves through their own songs.

Mr. Willy has an ability to see the world through a child’s eyes, and the children listening and singing with him know they are with a friend!

Willy often performs with his wife, the actress Wendy Welch, as the folk/gospel duo “Wendy & Willy” at camps and churches throughout the country, as well as for Young Audiences. They have recorded three albums together.

A graduate of the Boston University School for the Arts, Willy Welch has been writing and performing for many years. He is probably best known for composing “Playing Right Field,” the heart-warming tale of an inept young baseball player, which has been recorded and performed by over a dozen recording artists, most notably Peter Paul & Mary, who recorded it for the third time (as a greatest hit!) in 1998 on the CD Around the Campfire.  Many people are also familiar with the Right Field story as a double-Clio award-winning Pizza Hut commercial!

“Playing Right Field” was released as a children’s picture book by Scholastic, Inc. in 1995 with illustrations by Caldecott-award winning artist Marc Simont. His second book, “Dancing with Daddy” was a fall 1999 release from Whispering Coyote Press (an imprint of Charlesbridge Publishing), who also published “Grumpy Bunnies” – aka “Grumbly Bunnies” in March, 2000.  “Grumbly Bunnies” was released as a paperback in 2009.

Willy’s other song hits include “Whole Lotta Fishin’,” featured in the Dallas Theatre Three musical Ball Games, “I’m Gonna Hold Onto You,” recorded by RSVP, and “House of the Carpenter,” a theme song for Habitat for Humanity. Pretending to be a grown-up, Willy wrote a rockabilly musical version of “Two Gentlemen of Verona” performed by the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas.

Willy has had a long and varied career as an actor.  He was last seen in New York City in the Off-Broadway musical “Flipside, The Patti Page Story” in December, 2012 and has since periodically toured around the nation with that show.  He also has a long-running gig as the King of Spain at the renowned “Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament” in Dallas, Texas, where he learned how to ride an Andalusian stallion!

Willy recently performed as the disciple Matthew in “The Cotton Patch Gospel” at Theatre Three’s downstairs Theatre Too, (2015)  as well as portraying General Robert E. Lee (and a number of other historical characters) in “A Civil War Christmas” on the Theatre Three main stage.   Earlier, Willy portrayed Woody Guthrie in the musical “Woody Guthrie’s American Song” at Theatre Too (summer, 2009).

DFW Metroplex theater audiences have also seen Willy as Farmer Brown in “Click Clack Moo, Cows That Type,” at the Dallas Children’s Theatre (Jan-Feb, 2009) and simultaneously in two Christmas musicals:  “The Gifts of the Magi” at PFamily Arts in Plano, and “A Sanders Family Christmas” for 1:30 Productions at the Bath House Cultural Center.

Before that, he was FDR in “Annie” at Bass Hall in Fort Worth (Dec. 2008).  He was also proud to be in the world premier of the musical “The Winner” at Lyric Stage (2007), as a member of an all-star cast at Watertower Theatre (Addison) for “Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues” (2004), as Wink in “A Country Life,” also at Watertower (2005) and the Clyde’s dad and the Dallas County Sheriff in “Bonnie and Clyde” (2014); as Jim in “Pump Boys and Dinettes” at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas (2004), and in “Cotton Patch Gospel” at Dallas Theater Center (2003), New Harmony Theatre in Evansville, Ind. and Casa Manana in Ft. Worth; as Uncle Stanley in “Smoke on the Mountain” at Granbury Opera House (2005), and as Lloyd in “Guys on Ice” at Circle Theatre in Ft. Worth. He also starred as the Balladeer/Proprietor in Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” at Theater 3.

Before he moved to Texas, New York and Boston audiences saw him in dozens of productions, including “Dracula,” the title character in “The Marlowe Show,” in “The Jim Thorpe Story,” “Geography of a Horse Dreamer,” “Tartuffe” and “Cowboy, the Musical.”

Willy, the father of Second City L.A. improv actor Grady and Dallas actor/singer/dancer Molly Bess, is a proud member of the American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers (ASCAP), Actors Equity, and PFLAG. [1]

Barney Songs He Wrote

  1. Camp WannaRunnaRound
  2. Pick Up Your Part of the World
  3. Pennies in My Pocket
  4. Ticky Ticky Tock
  5. Way Up in a Tree
  6. I Put a Smile On
  7. I Love to Read
  8. Colors Make Me Happy
  9. I'd Love to Sail
  10. What Will We See at the Zoo?
  11. Exercising...Won't You Come and Join Me?
  12. Look at Me I'm Dancing!
  13. When the Circus Comes to Town
  14. Icy, Creamy Ice Cream
  15. A Circle's Shape is Round
  16. Wheely's Got a Way to Go
  17. The Duckies Do
  18. Splash and Sprinkle
  19. What Shall We Make Today?
  20. A Swing is a Beautiful Thing
  21. Lookie! It's a Cookie!
  22. A Perfectly Purple Day
  23. Make Way for the Truck
  24. Everybody's Got Feelings
  25. Baby Bop's Blankey
  26. I'm a Builder
  27. Clip, Clop Riding on a Pony
  28. When You Hear

References

  1. Who is Mr. Willy?
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