Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Business of Show

Everything relates to my Dad these last few days. He was a big believer in the fact that Show Business is an equal mix of Show and Business. The business part of the career is just as important as the show. I am so glad that I got some of his understanding of business. It has helped me in more ways than I can say in my career.
So tonight we are sold out for a theatre party. It is a very big deal on a week day. An investment company is giving the show to their customers to thank them for their loyalty. They are serving dinner in the lounge before the show with drinks and have dressed up the tables beautifully. The staff is all in black outfits and there are waiters with trays of goodies working the crowd. John and I arrive a couple of hours early to get into the theatre and set it all up so a sound check will not encroach on the festivities.
Then about 5:45, just before sunset, the power goes out. I thought it was the extra food warmers they had plugged into the theatre circuit, but that is not the case. It seems the grid for our entire area is blacked out.
The guys who promoted and planned the evening begin to panic immediately. People are arriving for the evening and there is only emergency lighting in the theatre and lobby. No one seems to know much about what was going on.
John powers up his smart phone and finds out that 2500 customers are currently without power and that they are estimating they will have the grid back up by 9:00. The show is suppose to go up at 7:15. It looks like that schedule will certainly not hold. I have to say that John is the best techie there ever could be. He can find out what is going on faster and more reliably than anyone I have ever seen. The Rochester locals are coming up to him to ask what the update is on the blackout.
Now there is a discussion about how we can do the show with out electricity. John and I are sitting in the theatre that is lit with only with two emergency lights. It's not a bad situation because he is surfing his smart phone and I am drawing on my Ipad. The enigma about drawing on an Ipad is that normally you look for the best light to draw, but with an Ipad you need the worst light to draw. The owner of the theater instructed the servers to bring us the finger food that is being served in the lobby. Suddenly a person would appear in the dark with skewered chicken or boiled shrimp and ask us if we wanted some. We are happy as clams, waiting for the electrical situation to change.
The stage is too dark to even know it is there. The promoter appears and asks if we can do the show if the lights come back on. I said I was there to do a show and when the lights come back on I would be ready. They are not sure everyone will stay if it gets too dark and the lobby is no longer lit by he outside light. John continues to surf and I continue to draw.
Then at 6:45 suddenly and without warning the lights come back on. It is half hour and John and I jump into performance mode. We were ready, and the show went on, on time and without a slip.
Here is the point. You never know what situation you will find yourself in. In business... especially Show Business you have to be a professional. A professional is ready to do his/her job whenever called upon to do it. The black out was a minor glitch, but a glitch nonetheless. Anybody can perform when everything is perfect... the professional can deliver even on a moments notice under conditions that seem impossible. I think that ethic came directly from my Dad. Thanks Dad.
As you were,


Aaron M said...

I am not certain of your singing and dancing abilities, yet I am certain of your writing, painting, and ventriliquism. You may be the first "triple-threat" in these categories and in all categories you are a true professional. While personal in nature, I always feel a connection and gain words of wisdom from your writings. I go back to previous posts. I keep waiting for the book!

Roomie said...


Here, here!!!!!!

Carry on,


Aaron....let us know when the book comes will be at the top of the charts, for sure!!!!!

P. Grecian said...

"I said I was there to do a show and when the lights come back on I would be ready."
I'm proud to know you...even if only in this bloggy, internetty way. You honor and grace the profession.

Bob Conrad said...

A few years back I was set to do a show in a library in South Jersey when a storm knocked the power out. I was all set up, the audience of children were seated, my sound system has a rechargeable battery and keeps working with out power. One of the librarians pulled out a large flashlight and used is like a follow spot and the show went on. It is amazing what you can do, when you have to.