Born – May 30, 1951,/ Died – April 27, 1993
John Barocas grew up in Bensalem, PA. before coming to New Hope. He grew up with parents who were supper club performers and performed for Judy Garland. Show biz was in his blood and was his passion and he was always dreaming of shows to put on.
When John came to New Hope he worked as a waiter at the famous Hacienda Inn and Restaurant on West Mechanic Street. John Barocas would work at the Hacienda during the summer and spend the winters in Florida.
The Hacienda was owned by Pamela Minford and became a getaway for celebrities. Starting as an antique shop, Pamela expanded into a restaurant and inn. Maurice Chevalier, Liberace, Burt Reynolds, Dinah Shore, and Ella Fitzgerald were among those who stayed at the Hacienda.
Robert Ebert said, “John Barocas was by far the best act that New Hope has ever seen. His drag shows were ingenious and the diversity of things that went on that stage including real tap dancing; by the way, they were taught by the June Taylor Dancers. He performed at The Raven for several years and as a matter of fact the first summer we had him and his group they were there 3 nights a week for the entire summer and every show was sold out.”
Besides performing at the Raven, John put on shows at the Cartwheel. His friend Loretta Johnson remembered doing rehearsals at the Cartwheel after hours at 2:00 am. She did stage, costumes, and wigs and also performed. She said all his friends would come and audition and he would find them all a role.
The first show they did was called “Getting off on Broadway” and 500 people came. It was on John’s birthday and his parents were in the audience. He did a tribute to his dad, “What Makes a Man a Man.”
Besides shows at the Raven and the Cartwheel, John did shows at the Chadwick Inn, Yellow Brick Toad, and The Ritz (now known as Karal’s). He performed for three summers in P-town at the Crown & Anchor. John was also in a performance in New York called “From Broadway to the Stars.”
One of Loretta Johnson’s favorite memories of John was the time she said he broke her car seat. John had borrowed her car and somehow broke the car seat. Loretta would then have to drive almost laying down. She said she had to put bricks in the seat so she could sit upright.
She also recalled on her 30th. Birthday, John taking her to see HAIR on Broadway and being in the 5th. row center. They also visited her brother who was living in Chelsea.
John Barocas was only 41 years old when he passed away in Florida in 1993. Until this day, when people who knew him to speak of him, they still miss his bigger than life spirit.