Personally, I had the sense that the first annual Jim Thorpe Burlesque Festival would go well. Sometimes ideas are plainly good. The efforts being made to ensure a lively, diverse show were encouraging. The fact that the festival organizers had attracted both out-of-town and local talent was also a very good sign.
Not to say that every show doesn’t carry it’s own challenges and unexpected occurrences. Just 3 weeks ago ticket sales were still pretty slow. But as I told the festival’s organizers/producers , Brooke Au Buchon, Michelle Gallagher and Tara Kubas, I think you’re going to be fine.
For one thing, publicity had carried on a steady drumbeat for 3 months. Lots of local and regional media outlets had carried stories about the event. I didn’t notice a lot of competing burlesque shows out there. And this one promised to be quite good.
Clearly, there was a ton of work taking place to actually produce the show. Vincent DeGiosio managed the stage production and coordinated all aspects beautifully. Brooke, who said she had no prior experience with the microphone, did a very nice job setting up each performer. The Opera House volunteer staff had all of their jobs covered as always (this is a fine group of people, put together by Janet Herman of the Opera House board). A terrific job was done by all.
Ultimately, the performers themselves were all outstanding, bringing something different to the stage each time. You really never saw the same thing. And the guy with the bed of nails. Yikes!
So the packed house left happy. And this benefit for the Mauch Chunk Opera House raised significant revenue to support many ongoing projects. Seven years ago the place had a rusting 125-year old roof, a primitive sound system, squeaky cramped seats and an embarrassing backstage.
No more. 225 shows later these have all been addressed. There’s a lot of work yet to be done, but with events like this the future looks bright.