Archive for February, 2012

MAYO PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – MORRISTOWN, NJ

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

After a few days at home, we were back on the road heading to New Jersey.  We performed on Friday night at the beautiful Mayo Performing Arts Center (formerly the Community Theatre of Morristown).  Tickets had been selling well before we arrived and , by showtime, we had a full house of excited patrons.  But first, we had to load it all in!

Once the equipment made it from the dock to the elevator and onto the stage, we were ready to start the set up.  There’s definitely an order to my day – scenery first, the moving lights, lighting focus, tweak the show cues, sound checks, and a quick tech rehearsal.  Everyone else also has their responsibilities during the day and, when it all comes together, we have a show…it just takes about 7 hours to make it all happen.

What a great crowd!!  We had a full house and the perfect audience for an illusion show – great volunteers, audible responses, and a great mix of ages.  Once again, Morristown proved that they are a fantastic audience!

SAUGATUCK & HOME

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

After a great experience in Flint, we made the four hour drive to the western side of Michigan for a Sunday matinee performance at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.  We had an early morning load in but everyone was there are ready to go.  This space is a little different for us and required some creative thinking to pull it all together.  In the end, with a great team, we assembled a solid show for the audience.

We were just a few seats shy of selling out the theatre and the audience was simply awesome.  The responses to each of the illusions was audible.  And because of the intimacy of the space, I was able to see every face in the crowd!

We left immediately after the show to begin the drive back to Virginia – home for 2 days!  We haven’t been home since mid-January so all of us were looking forward to sleeping in our own beds.

Today, we leave for Morristown, NJ for a Friday night (7:30pm) performance at the Mayo Center for the Performing Arts.  There was a nice article in the DAILY RECORD about the show and tickets have been selling well.  I’m hopeful for a full house.  If you are in the Morristown area and want to come, you can buy tickets online – there’s not a bad seat in the house!

FLINT, MI – TWO INCREDIBLE DAYS

Friday, February 17th, 2012

We arrived in Flint, MI on Wednesday in order to do some work in the area schools with the Hocus Focus project.  Christi Lackey at The Whiting worked very hard to make these arrangements, meeting with the Director of Special Education for the county.  In the end, her hard work paid off and we spent two incredible days working with some amazing students!

It all started on Thursday morning.  Watching students become engaged and excited about the learning process is “magical.”  Watching teachers change their attitudes about arts integration is fantastic!

After a morning of workshops, I met up with Wendi (also from The Whiting) and we drove over to ABC12 for a noon news interview.  I’m always amazed at how quickly 3 minutes goes on television but we did have a chance to talk about Saturday’s show at The Whiting and get in a word or two about the Hocus Focus work in the community. You can click the image below to watch the interview.

After the interview, we were back with Christi to work with more students.  And today, it was out again with some amazing kids!

Tomorrow night, we will bring the show to the stage of The Whiting.  It’s going to be a great time!!

PALACE THEATRE – MARION, OH

Monday, February 13th, 2012

As it turns out, this was our second time on the stage of the beautiful Palace Theatre in downtown Marion, OH.  We were here in January 2006.  Since that time, this place has undergone some renovations and additions.  It was beautiful then – it’s even more beautiful now.

We loaded in through the new loading area – quick and easy…and in this very cold weather, it was also warm!  The show went up quickly – scenery, lighting, hazers, etc.

Ticket sales had been fairly strong prior to our arrival today.  And, if you remember reading about it, I also spend a couple of days in Marion at the beginning of the week working with the Marion Smith Clinic training their therapists to use simple magic tricks in their treatment practices.  A nice article appeared in the MARION STAR that also promoted the show.

Doors opened an hour before the show and people were there to find their seats.  As the time came closer to 8pm, the audience continued to grow and, in the end, we had a great house of enthusiastic people.  I love this kind of audience too – a great mix of families, seniors, and young adults.  The responses to each of the illusions was great.  All of the new illusions in the show are getting very strong reactions!

After the show, we packed it all up, made our way back to the hotel for some rest….and now we are in Georgetown, KY for a performance here on Valentine’s Day.

MIDLAND THEATRE – NEWARK, OH

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

We are in Newark, OH in advance of our performance tomorrow night at the beautiful Midland Theatre.  Today started extremely early – like a 4:30am wake up call – so that I could be at the Midland Theatre for a series of interviews on GOOD DAY COLUMBUS.  Steve, the executive director, was also up early when he picked me up at the hotel!  Thanks Steve…and then got me coffee (thank you again!).

Working with Johnny DiLoretto, the on-the-go reporter for Good Day Columbus, was awesome!  He kept things moving and, in between television hits, was great fun to hang with.  I think we did about 5 or 6 segments throughout the morning show.  Check out the photos on my FaceBook album:

http://www.johnston.k12.nc.us/education/school/school.php?sectionid=10078&

After television, I had the chance to work with some very cool students at the Excel Academy in the morning…and, in the afternoon, spent some time at My Place To Be – both in Newark.  It was an opportunity to share with educators and students the concepts of the Hocus Focus education project. Tomorrow night is the main performance of THEATRE OF ILLUSION at the Midland Theatre at 7pm – come join us!

WARSAW, IN – HAMILTON, OH – TOLEDO, OH

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

WARSAW PERFORMING ARTS CENTER – INDIANA

I started February with a very busy schedule and travel plan.  We left Ada, OH and made our way to Warsaw, IN to perform at the new Warsaw Performing Arts Center.  The day before the show, I had the privilege of teaching some of the students in the high school in a magic workshop.  The following day, we moved the show into the Performing Arts Center…but when we arrived for load in, someone had tripped the fire alarm and the building was being evacuated!

Once the fire department gave the “all clear,” we were able to start loading in.  The day moved along really well and I was happy with the way things looked on the stage.

Tickets sold very well for this performance, especially on a Thursday night!  We had a huge crowd of families, students, young adults, and seniors – my favorite audience!  The response to the show was very positive and I talked to hundreds of people in the lobby afterwards.  It was a good way to start February!

FITTON CENTER FOR CREATIVE ARTS – OH

Immediately after we loaded out the show in Indiana, we made the four hour drive to Hamilton, OH.  We finally checked into the hotel around 2am. The next day would start early with a morning workshop for the theatre students at the performing arts high school.  I had a great time teaching them some magic and they entertained me with their improv presentations.

After the workshop, I walked back to the hotel and gathered the rest of the team.  We brought over the truck to begin getting set up for the evening performance.  This is a very different venue for us but we were able to customize a show that worked well in a very cool, intimate space.  We had a sold out house and they turned so many people away the week prior to the show, during the day, and at the box office the night of the performance.  The audience we did have was GREAT!!

VALENTINE THEATRE – OH

One more time, after the show in Hamilton we were back in the truck and driving up to Toledo.  We arrived there around 1:30am, got checked into the hotel, and into the bed.  I was excited to make this drive because the folks at the Valentine Theatre had made arrangements for me to do a show at Toledo Children’s Hospital on Saturday afternoon.  How could I miss that opportunity!

Our performance at the Valentine Theatre was Sunday afternoon – Super Bowl Sunday!  Thankfully it was a 4pm performance and the show would be over by 6pm so fans could see the kick off.  We had a nearly sold out audience – packed house – of excited, energetic people.  Once again, this was a very diverse audience of people of all ages.  I love looking over audiences like this – and I loved watching this audience’s response to each illusion!

I also have to say the crew here (local IATSE 24) was amazing.  We were loaded in and set up in record time!  And it was a fun, enjoyable, relaxed day for everyone.  It was the perfect day!

We loaded out the show, jumped back into the truck….and, yup, made the drive to Marion, OH….ah, life on the road!

THE LIMA NEWS & HOCUS FOCUS

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

We left Lima, OH today to head to Warsaw, IN for our next residency.  This morning, while having breakfast, I picked up the local newspaper and found an article about the Hocus Focus project at Marimor School.  It’s a good article but a picture speaks a thousand words…