Saturday April 5th was not only a long awaited beautiful sunny spring day in Crystal Lake, IL, it was also the long awaited Nothin’ Up My Sleeve at Raue Center For The Arts. In it’s 6th year Nothin’ Up My Sleeve is primarily a magic show with a couple other unique (and equally magical) acts like ventriloquism, juggling, fire-eating to name a few.
The show is an annual benefit for the Raue Center and geared toward families and boy did we have the families. This year’s show was sold out with 750+ people witnessing an amazing line-up of magic, comedy, bubbles, grand illusions and most notably our host for the night, ventriloquist Mr. Bob Isaacson and Speedy Wheeler.
I was glad to secure Bob (and Speedy) for this year’s show. We first brought ventriloquism into the show 5 years ago with Bob Rumba and Chuck Field. The following year we had the lovely Stephanie Johnson. The next year we tried something completely different – Bozo the Clown joined our cast. Bozo was a big hit with both the parents and kids but the ventriloquism was greatly missed. Last year we brought Chuck Field back with his Wooden-American friend Ziggy to emcee the show. It was a huge hit! People are still talking about it and what a great job Chuck Field did.
BINGO! We had a formula that works – VENTRILOQUISM – front and center stage. I personally have a growing love for the art and have been thrilled to share it through these top-notch ventriloquists. In addition to these vents, last summer I brought ventriloquist Dale Brown and Chip Martin in to the Raue for a special vaudeville show and just 2 months ago we had Tony Award Winner Jay Johnson perform – The Two and Only. This year I was honored to be part of Bob’s act, as he asked me to come out on stage and do the “Riddle Fiddle” bit with them.
Although I did not see Bob and Speedy’s entire act because I was back stage, I knew that the audience loved it by the continuous laughs and applause. Bob also did a great job at the front of the show by telling the history of the Raue and vaudeville entertainment as only a guy like Bob can do. Besides Bob and Speedy we had magician Misty Lee in from California, bubbleologist Geoff Akins, magician/whip cracker John P. Hopkins, illusionist Mike DiDomenico and magician/producers Nino Cruz and me. Fortunately this was all captured on tape and I look forward to watching the final DVD. With Bob’s permission I hope to also share some of his act here on Ventriloquist Central – stay tuned.
See you all at the Vent Haven ConVENTion in July!
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