We left Madisonville, KY to make the 8 hour drive to the Sondheim Center for the Arts. This is a beautiful theatre nestled in the small community of Fairfield, IA. Tickets had also been selling well here and, when we arrived, we had 70 tickets remaining for the “walk up” crowd. We were well on our way to a sold out performance.
We arrived at the theatre loading dock to be met by Cevin and the guys. The day moved along easily – a great crew met us at the loading dock to get all the equipment onto the stage. Once everything was in, all of us jumped into action to begin working on the hundreds of details that make this show work.
Rustin, the executive director, has worked very hard to turn this place around over the last few months. To say that this theatre got off to a rough start three years ago would be an understatement. You can tell the community has a great deal of respect for him and he’s booked an amazing season of performers. Doing good work goes a long way in building trust and a reputation.
Once set up was complete, I was very pleased with the way the stage looked. I love walking into a large, empty stage and watching it transform into our production, THEATRE OF ILLUSION. The theatre is the most magical place on earth!
Once the doors opened for the show, we were nearly at capacity. The crowd brought with them an excitement that you could feel throughout the theatre. We had a couple of “incidents” prior to the performance when our hazers set off the fire alarm – a very rare occurrence. The audience hung in there as the staff handled the situation…and the show went on! We wrapped the evening with a standing ovation from a wonderful audience!
Fairfield is the hometown of Doug Henning – the biggest magical influence in my career. He and his wife, Debbie, lived here for many years while he was performing and after he retired. After the show, I met dozens of people who knew Doug very well. I had the chance to talk with them at length. It was humbling to hear them say – over and over again – that I reminded them of Doug in many ways.
Thank you Rusting, Cevin, Beth, and the entire team at the Sondheim Theatre – and thank you Fairfield for all your support!!