2017 Year In Review

2017 has been an incredible year for me. Here are some of the highlights:

• 135 shows in 35 states and 3 countries
• “The Mystery Tour” with SOLD OUT performances at six fringe festivals internationally
• “Best Bet” at FRIGID New York
• “Audience Choice” at FRIGID New York
• “Patrons’ Pick” at Orlando Fringe
• “Critics’ Choice” at PortFringe
• “Outstanding Magic or Mentalism Performance” at San Diego Fringe
• “Top Selling Show” at Chicago Fringe
• 13 TV appearances
• Features on Theatre Is Easy, Broadway World, Voyage Chicago, The Orlando Sentinel, WGN, NBC, FOX, and more.
• Largest Audience - 6,000 people at Purdue University in Indiana
• Smallest Audience - 7 people for a private event in NYC

I performed in Major League Ballparks, massive theaters, airports, mountainside resorts, casinos, rooftops, pool cabanas, and more. I also started writing my first book and helped create a customized marketing plan for an international brand kickoff campaign.

My new show is nearly written and I’m already putting together my tour for next year. It’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait to share all the deets with you soon. For now, check out my new Year In Review Video for a look back at all the places I went in 2017.

Thanks for following my adventures this year. I’ll be taking a month off from Thursday Thoughts so I can concentrate on some other projects for a while. But I’ll be back soon with more ideas from the road.

See you in 2018. 

Progress

Around this time of year I usually start thinking about my resolutions for the new year. As silly as it seems, I’ve always enjoyed setting goals each year.

This past week I was flipping through old notebooks and found a list of goals I made way back in college, over 10 years ago. The pages were dog-eared and coffee stained, full of doodles in the margins and faded post-its sticking out at odd angles. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve opened this notebook since I wrote in it.

But there was my short list of goals staring me in the face, a prehistoric TimeHop back to less stressful times. It was like opening a time capsule that forces you to confront your personal progress.

When you work at something every day, progress is incremental at best. Yes, sometimes there are fantastic days that feel monumental, but mostly you take tiny, imperceptible steps forward that go unnoticed at the time. Often it feels as if you haven’t achieved anything at all.

I’m super hard on myself. I always strive for perfection or think I could have worked harder. And I never feel like I’m where I should be at any given time.

That’s why I love setting goals. It gives you a chance to stick a pin in a particular moment so you can come back later and remind yourself of how far you’ve come.

It could be a month later or maybe a couple years. Or it might be over ten years ago, back to a silly list of career goals you made late at night in your college dorm room. And maybe you might scan that list and frantically search for a pen, realizing that it’s time to cross off every single one of those goals.

That’s what happened to me this week. Turns out I was right, I’m not where I thought I should be right now - I passed that place a few years back. Those early goals weren’t quite big enough.

I won’t tell you what’s on my list of resolutions this year but I already put them in a notebook and they’re on my shelf. In the meantime, I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and I’ll let you know when it’s time to cross them off again.

Whatever It Takes

This time of year is always my busy season. Corporations hold their holiday events in November and December, so after Thanksgiving I pack my bags and hit the road for a dozen shows around the US before Christmas arrives.

Thanks to the snow and cold, flying and driving around the country this month is always an adventure. And this past weekend was no different.

Last Saturday was what has become over the past five years a typical December travel day. I was traveling from Colorado to Ohio for my show that night, so my plan was as follows:

• 90 minute drive to Denver
• Flight from Denver to Chicago
• Flight from Chicago to Columbus
• 35 minute drive to my event

To the uninitiated that looks like a brutal day but all of my friends are “road warriors”. THIS IS WHAT WE DO.

I had to hit the road at 2:30 am, since I had a 6:00 am flight out of Denver. Hell is having to wait in an airport security line before the sun comes up.

Everything was going smoothly until my flight out of Chicago was cancelled minutes before we were supposed to board. Suddenly, all flights to Ohio and neighboring locations were cancelled, too.

I called my client and told her the news, assuring her I would do everything I could to make the show. But I wasn’t sure I’d actually make it.

In 10+ years of professional performances I have never cancelled a show. NEVER. I’ve gone out of my way to make shows happen, including last-minute flights, all nighters, and absurd travel plans.

One time there was a fire at Chicago’s airports and cancellations were announced the night before. Without a second thought I loaded up the car and drove 17 hours overnight to the East Coast to make my show.

I haven’t had to cancel a show yet, so I really didn’t want to break that streak last weekend.

Luckily, after several hours, I was the last person called for a standby flight. I landed in Columbus with a little over an hour to go until showtime.

The only problem? My bags were on a later flight.

That’s right. My microphone, props, toiletries, shoes, and more stayed in Chicago while I went ahead. I did the math and realized that if everything was on schedule then my bags would arrive 45 minutes before showtime and I might be able to pull it off.

I raced to my hotel and got ready, hoping I wouldn’t have to wear these shoes to my gig:

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Then, I raced back to the airport and realized I was going to pull this off:

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Bags in hand, I drove to the venue, set up, and took the stage on time. My client was the only person at the gig who knew what a crazy day I’d had. To everyone else, nothing was out of the ordinary. They simply got to enjoy a show and be amazed.

When I tell people about life on the road - especially days like last Saturday -  they always look mortified. They say “Wow, that sounds horrible!” or “I could never do that!” However, I don’t feel that way at all.

Some people say that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. But that’s not true. You’ll actually end up working harder - but when you have a dream that keeps you up at night you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.