Now that the dust has settled and I’m back in the office, I thought it was time to write about the most excellent experience we had last weekend in New Jersey. After our show in Newnan, GA, we made the drive up the interstate to colder temperatures. The first stop was the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ.
RED BANK, NJ – COUNT BASIE THEATRE
We performed at the Count Basie Theatre several years ago. They were undergoing a major renovation at the time. Well, it was well worth the investment because this theatre is spectacular! We arrived around 10:30am and pulled to the loading area. Before we could start unloading the truck, there were several things that needed to be moved around the stage and into storage to make space for all of our cases.
There were a few challenges throughout the day but the team managed them well. Cindy always amazes me at what she can make fit into small areas. She is definitely the real miracle-working in this group! Once things were in place, the day started for all of us – assembling illusions, hanging scenery and lighting, tech rehearsal, etc. In the end, the stage looked great and we were ready for the show.
When the doors opened for the 7:30pm performance, you could hear the audience make their way into the theatre. You could feel the excitement and I got a sense that this was going to be a great show. From the moment we took the stage to the final illusion, this audience was spectacular. In all the years we’ve been performing, Cindy and I would consider this show one of the top five of our best audiences and performances. Afterwards, in the lobby, I had the opportunity to spend some time talking with those who chose to stick around…including several of the area magicians.
THANK YOU to everyone in Red Bank who supported our show, to the crew for a great day (Mike, Anthony, and the guys), and to the staff at the Count Basie Theatre (especially Numa) for taking such good care of us!
ENGLEWOOD, NJ – BERGEN PAC
The next morning, we were up early to make the 75 minute drive to Englewood. You can never judge how traffic is going to be in Northern New Jersey so we needed to give ourselves plenty of time. We arrived a few minutes before our scheduled arrival. Backing a big truck into the loading dock here poses several challenges. A major shopping center has grown up around the theatre narrowing the roads, restricting the turn radius to the entrance, and the traffic is constant.
I made it into the loading dock and we all went inside the theatre to meet up with the crew. This is our third or fourth appearance at BergenPAC so we know these guys fairly well. It’s great when you can work with a crew who is willing to have a little fun during the day while staying focused on getting the show ready. These guys are great – and we had a very easy day as a result of it all.
Tickets for the show had been selling very well and we were only a handful away from selling out this 1311 seat venue. The mix of the audience was awesome – families, young adults, and seniors. This is, without a doubt, our favorite type of audience. It should be a fun night.
We loaded in and started the “process” that is our “day at the office.” I was very pleased with the way things came together. The “theatre” of our production was evident and that always gets me excited. I’m very proud of my team who work hard to make sure there is consistency in what we bring to our audiences – regardless of limitations, they work hard to make sure the show always looks the same.
The Englewood audience did not disappoint us. We had a packed house of lively people ready to be amazed! The enthusiasm of an audience makes all the difference in the world to a performer. That energy “feeds” you on stage – the performer gives back what he receives from the crowd. And this was a very generous audience!
THANK YOU to everyone who came back to see us at BergenPAC! This is one of those rare places on the road where you feel like you’re working with family!
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – SOPAC
We stayed the night in Englewood and woke up early (once again) to make the 60 minute drive to South Orange. On this day, we had a 3pm matinee so we needed to be at the theatre by 8am.
As we pulled to the loading area, it was great to see Brian and his crew ready to go! Cindy made her way to the stage to prepare for case placement while Keith talked with Brian about some pre-load in tech things. Ethan and Alan scoped their necessary areas and I evaluated the light hang to figure out where our intelligent fixtures would end up.
Once all that was done, we started bringing in the cases. Everyone worked very hard and we had no major challenges. It was a good day thanks to a good team and a good crew.
We had a sold out show and a very nice age range in the crowd. Good volunteers made for some perfect audience moments! This was the perfect end to a perfect weekend in New Jersey. So, THANK YOU SOPAC and all the people who came to see us perform!