This time around, Tucsonans can see Hollywood star and philanthropist John Amos perform his sometimes comical, sometimes heartbreaking one-man show, "Halley's Comet."

Amos, 72, has been taking "Halley's Comet" to theaters across the United States and abroad for nearly two decades.

This is his first Tucson performance, courtesy of Invisible Theatre.

The story is that of an 86-year-old man who returns to the same spot where he first watched Halley's Comet 75 years earlier, perched on his father's shoulders.

The two-hour play takes the audience from the turn of the century to modern times, as "Old Man" remembers and relives parts of his life, including his childhood dreams, the advent of fast food, the civil rights era and battle scenes in the Pacific.

During a telephone interview from his home in Baja, Mexico, Amos said he fashioned his character's life experiences after his own as well as those of many friends and relatives.

He transforms himself into a younger man, a soldier, a romantic, a newcomer to technology.

The old man, he said, "bemoans the loss of a much simpler way of life."

The idea first came to Amos in 1986 when he was watching a comet near his New Jersey home. An elderly man standing nearby was talking with his children and grandchildren about the comet and about his life.

"I went home and immediately began to fashion a character," he said.

Amos said performing on stage is still a thrill, even after all of his experiences on television and in movies.

"I love it. I get immediate feedback from the audience, I get a direct electrical charge and an adrenaline rush," he said.

"That's what keeps me going. I really enjoy story telling and Halley affords me a format to do that."

The old gentleman Amos plays is patient and thoughtful. He's also a spiritual man who pities younger generations who know so little about hard work, dedication and delayed gratification.

"Youngsters who are part of this generation were born into an era of instant gratification, they want everything right now," Amos said.

Through his character, Amos also pays a special tribute to the military.

"I've had people come up to me afterward, people of all ages, who say, 'This is great, this is just fantastic,'" he said.


• What: Halley's Comet, starring John Amos.

• Presented by: Invisible Theatre.

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: The Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd.

• Cost: $42.

• Reservations/information: 882-9721 or

• What: K.C. Amos and John Amos discuss K.C. Amos' Montford Point Marines documentary, "Their Stories, Their Voices."

• When: 9:45 a.m. Friday.

• Where: Tucson High Magnet School, 400 N. Second Ave.

• Cost: Free.

• Reservations/information: Seating is limited. Call 882-9721 for reservations.

You might remember him as the adult-aged Kunta Kinte in the television mini-series, "Roots," or perhaps playing James Evans on the hit sitcom, "Good Times."