It has been an extremely busy week – Iola, KS, Bartlesville, OK, Columbia, MO, Rolla, MO, and then to Effingham, IL. Â Back to back shows and community activities have kept us very busy. Â I’ve blogged about Iola and Bartlesville (though I didn’t talk about the very cool Frank Lloyd Wright hotel we stayed in there – his only skyscaper).
Rooms were VERY cool – not a 90 degree angle anywhere! Â There was a coffee table book in the room talking about Wright’s work and this building specifically.Â
COLUMBIA, MO – JESSE AUDITORIUM
I’ve posted about the day of activities Ethan and I had in Columbia on February 18. Â On Thursday morning, February 19 (the day of the show), I was up early again and Cheri picked me up at the hotel. Â We were off to WFIR Rado for an interview on one of the popular morning shows. Â Immediately following that interview, we drove over to the local ABC affiliate, KMOU, for an appearance on “Pepper and Friends” – a locally produced variety show with a big following.
Both local papers wrote wonderful stories about the outreach activities from the day before. Â The Columbia Missourian had a nice article AND so did the Columbia Tribune.
Cheri dropped me back at the hotel, I changed clothes, and we all loaded into the rig to drive over to Jesse Auditorium to start setting up for the evening performance. Â We’ve performed here several years ago and had a great time. Â This is one of the shows I’ve been looking forward to doing…because we know the show will look good on this stage.
The crew here is very professional and hard workers. Â The show loaded in smoothly and set up was uneventful – good preparation before we arrived always makes the day go easier for everyone.
Doors opened at 7pm for the 7:30pm show – and the audience rolled in, about 1300 of them! Â What a wonderful audience too! Â They responded with audible enthusiasm to each of the illusions we presented. And, in the end, I had the chance to spend time with lots of people in the lobby afterwards to hear their favorite moments of the evening. Â This is my favorite part of the night!
Cindy, Keith, and Ethan worked hard with the crew to get the show down and packed back into the trailer. We would need to drive to Rolla, MO after the show so we needed to get on the road fast! Â We drove all the way to Rolla so we wouldn’t have to do it in the morning!
Columbia wrapped up as a very full, productive, and amazing visit – two days of workshops and performance pulled together by some great people. Â A HUGE thank you to Kimberly and Cheri for all they did to make our time there memorable!
ROLLA, MO – LEACH THEATRE
We pulled into Rolla a bit after midnight on Friday morning. Â This would be a short night and an early morning.
We have performed at Leach Theatre in Castleman Hall several times in the past. Â These are the nicest people and folks that we look forward to working with! Â The theatre is intimate, not a bad seat anywhere, and the stage is perfect for our show. Â The new TD, Christopher, was ready for us when we arrived. Â And his student crew from the University were standing by to help. Â We could not have asked for a better day! This has been the week of good crews and great audiences!
It was time for dinner before we knew it and Emily (who always takes great care of us) had arranged for a nice sit down meal served on REAL dishes, with REAL silverware!
The meal was excellent (Cindy’s not in the picture because she took it). Â I could only think, “I need to stop eating or I’ll never get out of that water escape!”
The audiences we have had in Rolla in years previous have always been great. Â Friday night was no exception! Â A large enthusiastic crowd filled the Leach Theatre and we were only a handful of tickets away from a capacity audience.
Several friends of ours came to this performance. Â Paul and Rebecca Ebeling from Kansas City drove down for the show. Â We haven’t seen them in quite some time. Â And an old college friend of both Cindy and mine drove in from St. Louis with his wife and family. Â It has been a LONG time since we’ve seen Dave Booker!
Once again, we had to tear down, pack up, load out and hit the road immediately following this show. Â Our next performance was in Effingham, IL at the Rosebud Theatre – some 215 miles or 3.5 hours away. Â We drove about 2 hours and pulled over in Collinsville, IL, about 2 hours from Rolla. Â Another short night, early morning was on the itinerary for Saturday.
EFFINGHAM, IL – ROSEBUD THEATRE
We were on the road early to finish up the last 90 miles to Effingham. Â We’ve never performed at the Rosebud Theatre before so this is a new adventure for us! Â The venue is only slightly more than a year old and bringing lots of variety to the Effingham area.
We negotiated this contract more than a year ago with Matt and Brad; and, when we arrived, we were greeted by a familiar face – Janie Oldfield! Â We’ve worked with Janie in Chicago and in Baton Rogue. Â I knew the three of them would have everything ready and under control – and they did not let us down!
This is one happy crew! Â And we had another great friend drive over from Terre Haute, IN to spend the day with us – Tom Pitts of Thomas James Productions (if you ever need anything technical, this is the guy).
The venue has a few technical challenges for a show like ours but the guys here are “professional problem-solvers” and they meet challenges head on. Â I was impressed with their skills and their willingness to “make it work” without a single complaint. Â It’s a very large stage in both width, depth, and height. Â Our first challenge was to get one of our backdrops in the air. Â They already had a plan in place for this and, in the end, it looked very good!
Once the intelligent lighting was hung on the electrics, we began to focus the remaining fixtures to prepare for the evening show. Â They told us that tickets had been selling well and, when the doors opened, there was a nice crowd waiting to find their seats.
The stage here is so big it’s tough to hear the audience responses. Â There were a number of times, however, where they responded so loudly, we could definitely hear them – the Brick Wall, Windshear, No Feet, and the Water Escape!
In the lobby afterwards, I was able to talk with so many people and listen to their reactions individually. Â It was positive feedback and a fun evening for us.
By the time I made it back from the lobby to the stage, my team and their crew had the show down and almost loaded back into the trailer. Â I had to change clothes quickly so they could have my waredrobe case and then I went back to the lobby – now empty – to tear down our display and merchandise.
This would be our first night in several that we did NOT have to drive after the show. Â We went to our hotel and went to bed!
EFFINGHAM, IL – ARC COMMUNITY CENTER
As most of you know, we have coordinated a project called Healing of Magic for many years now. Â This is a very important project for us and one that I’m dedicated to seeing advanced. Â I’m currently working on an expansion of this project called Hocus Focus designed for special needs/education students in the school system.
Today, Ethan and I spend the afternoon with some amazing and incredible people at the ARC Community Center just outside of Effingham in Teutopolis, IL. Â Janie picked us up at the hospital and we made the quick trip to the Center.
First we met with the staff to explain what we wanted to do with their consumers. Â We taught the staff several of the tricks that we would be teaching so they could assist us. Â A reporter from the Effingham Daily News was also there and should have an article in Tuesday’s paper. Â I’ll try to post it when it’s printed.
Once we finished up with the staff, we moved into the big room and started to teach tricks to their consumers. Â This was a fantastic afternoon of fun, laughs, smiles, enthusiasm, applause, and more!
Yes, this is a BIG smile from Kevin – one of many people who learned some pretty cool tricks today. Â I also captured some amazing video that I hope to share very soon.
Tonight – we rest as we watch the Oscars and try to finish up some work (including my blog and our March newsletter).