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Frequently Asked Questions



Should we book one or two shows?

For our family show fundraisers, I usually recommend you offer only one show initially (choose the most popular time, which is generally the 7pm one).  Then, add another show (4pm) as sales warrant.  The 2-hour shows must be spaced a full hour apart.  (A Night Magic dinner theatre show will usually be a one-night, one-show event).


When do you arrive?

We generally arrive between 3pm-4pm on Show Day.


What are the best show times?

By default, as outlined on our confirming agreement, we schedule our touring performances at 4:00 and 7:00 pm.

Occasionally we are able to hold an earlier matinee performance, usually on a Saturday or Sunday, at 2:00 pm.  Because of our travel schedule, any changes to the show times appearing on our confirmation agreement must be cleared with us in advance.  (Night Magic dinner theatre shows will usually begin around 6:00 pm and wind up sometime after 10:00 pm).


Are you available to do a “Preview Show”?

Yes, local (Chicago Area) sponsors are able to schedule a preview show in advance of their event date.


Do you have any banners or signboards available for advertising?

We'll be providing you with (2) self-standing signboards on show day that say the same thing.


This signage is available to your group as soon as we arrive.  It is recommended to get the signage up as early as possible to help stimulate your at-the-door ticket sales as may be required.  You will be contacted about this when we arrive.


How much time should we allow between shows?

We require at least one hour between shows.  With most of our double-show performances scheduled at 4:00 and 7:00pm, this works out perfectly.


What age is your show suitable for?

Our show appeals to and is suitable for ALL ages.  The largest attendance will typically be mom and dad with their children aged 6 – 12.


What price should we charge for tickets?

You are free to set ticket prices as you wish, although we recommend the average ticket price be no lower than $5.


Do you use volunteers from the audience?

Yes we get volunteers up (kids + adults throughout). 


When Should We Run Our Draws? (Raffle, Door prizes)

The best time is towards the end of the intermission.  It’s best to structure your draws and raffles to take no more than 5 to 10 minutes.  If you have a large number of prizes to be given away, it may be best to set up a prize table with a list of winners that can claim their prizes at the end of the show.


How long is the show?

Approximately 90 minutes.


How long is the intermission?

Approximately 20 minutes.

Are we able to seat late arrivals?

Yes, just use your discretion as to disturbance of the audience while the show is in progress. 






How large a facility do we require to do well with this program?

A 300-seat venue can be very profitable.  Sponsors have earned over $5,000 net profit holding (2) shows on a weekday (4 & 7pm) in a school gym that seated no more than 350. 


When do you need access to our show facility?

We start our load-in exactly 3 hours prior to the first show.  We like to be able to enter and look over the facility about 15 – 20 min prior to load-in.


Can we set up chairs while you are setting up the stage?
Yes, if you begin about a half-hour or so after we've brought in our gear that should be fine.  In most gymnasium settings, we require about 12 – 16 feet of clear floor space directly in front of the stage or performing area to facilitate setting up our props.  Chairs can be added to this area later, once our set up is completed.

Do you require a stage with front curtains?


We can work on a stage without curtains (we bring our own backdrops & wings, do not need a front curtain although it is nice to have).  We can also perform on a bare gymnasium floor (for best audience viewing results, there should be bleacher-style seating in this situation).  A portable stage is fine, as long as it is a minimum of 24-ft wide by 16-ft deep (40-ft wide x 20-ft deep is preferred).  It should be positioned about 4 to 6 feet out from the back wall.  The stage should be secure with a level uncarpeted surface that has no uneven sections.   Make sure there's at least 10-ft of floor-to-ceiling height on the performing surface.


What are your electrical requirements?

We need 120V, 20A of power accessible through two circuits.


Where is the best seating located for watching the show?

This depends upon the venue, but up front row center is almost always the “best”.  As long as all seats have a clear view of the general stage area, one seat is as good as another.


How should our seats be arranged?

Please arrange your seating with a center aisle.  Seating should begin no closer than 8-feet from stage front.


Do you require stairs to the stage?

If we are performing on a raised stage, make sure there is a safe, solid set of stairs leading off center stage so that performers and audience participants can get on and offstage without difficulty.  In the case of a portable stage, a second set of stairs should be positioned in the backstage area as well.  






How many volunteers should we provide?

If you are applying for the $450 fee reduction by supplying us with volunteer help for set-up and tear-down, we require a minimum of 4 able-bodied helpers.  If you have more available, great … remember, “many hands make light work”!


What will the volunteers be doing?

Unloading our equipment trailer, (heavy lifting) pushing crates, carrying boxes, hanging drapes, erecting trussing, running cable, hanging lights, putting up speakers, assembling props, helping set-up concession.


Who is best-suited for your volunteer crew?

People who can handle and enjoy physical work, and work well in team-oriented activities.


What should they bring?

Work gloves and a great attitude.


How long does it take to set up?

A full 2-1/2 to 3 hours, plus we need time to handle difficulties, make repairs, “cool down” and get ready for the show which is why we need to allow a 3-hour setup time.


How long does it take to tear down?

Since part of our tear-down happens during the intermission and performance itself, we can generally be packed up and out of the show facility within 1-1/2 hours, sometimes less.  Occasionally it may take longer if there’s an awkward or inconvenient factor to the show facility, such as having to use a freight elevator, etc.


When do you need your set-up volunteers?

Volunteers are needed 3 hours prior to ShowTime.  If starting your show at 7pm, they must be there by 4pm sharp. 


When do you need your tear-down volunteers?

Immediately upon completion of the show, approximately 2 hrs after start time.  (Eg; show starts at 7pm, tear-down begins at 9pm).


What volunteer’s duties do you need in the final 2 hours before the show starts?
If we're not completed with setup by then, we may require a couple helpers, but for the most part they're free to do whatever you may need (set up ticket table, organize door prizes, etc).





What Refreshments Do You Sell?

We sell unbuttered popcorn ($1.50) and soft drink ($1 can).  There will be some mess; it's not completely avoidable especially with kids.  Mostly it's a sweep-and-mop effort at worst.  We sell no chocolate or gum. 


What Souvenirs Do You Sell?

Silver Edition Magic Kit $49.95 (props & instructions for over 100 magic tricks)

Gold Edition Magic Kit $69.95 (props & instructions for over 250 magic tricks)


Can our group purchase souvenirs at a discount?

Yes, 6 or more of any item earns sponsors a 25% discount


Are we allowed to sell refreshments or souvenirs ourselves?

If applying for the full $500 fee reduction, you are giving up the right to sell any food or souvenirs.  If there are any vending machines located in the same venue as the show, these are to be rendered “Out of Service” during our engagement. 


We will, however, allow coffee/tea to be sold.  You are also free to sell raffle tickets, 50/50 draw, and Houdini Mystery Trunk keys.  Any other product sales must be agreed to by the Show Producer.


What is the fee reduction we receive if we let you have concession rights at the show?

If we (the show Producer) are allowed exclusive full concession rights (food+souvenirs) your group receives a $500 fee reduction.  (This discount is reduced to $250 if food cannot be consumed in the show seating area).  For allowing us only souvenir selling rights, your group receives a $100 fee reduction.


What is our responsibility regarding the concession?

Setting up the concession is part of our show setup & teardown operation and requires assistance on the part of your volunteers.  Beyond “security”, the show cast runs the actual operation and sales of the concession.  (In the event of a large audience causing the concession to be extremely busy, a volunteer or two provided by your group to help handle the volume would be very much appreciated).


We also require your volunteer help for setup, cleanup, and pre-making of cotton candy.

Is it our responsibility or yours to clean up the concession area after the show?


Clean-up is done by the facility custodian or your group as per arrangements you have with the facility.  We also require and appreciate some assistance with the clean-up and tear-down of our actual concession when we've been contracted to provide same in accordance with our fee reduction schedule.


When is the concession open?

For approximately a half-hour prior to show start, during the 20-min intermission, and again for about 10-15 min at the end of the show.


Do you need a special area to set up your concession?

In the case of a gymnasium we prefer to set our concession area up to the right or left of the stage. 


What if we cannot set up your concession near the stage?

If there’s a spot in the lobby (approx 10-ft x 10-ft) near where you have your ticket-collecting table that would work.  Possibly also separate rooms like a cafeteria, but the closer to the show the better. 


Power may be an obstacle ... we run our Popcorn machine off our show sub-panel that is plugged into your 120v outlet as outlined in our Technical Requirements.  We do have about 50-ft of electrical cord, but if that's not long enough then we need access to a regular 120v outlet near the concession area.  This outlet should be on a 20-amp breaker as the standard 15-amp will not be enough to handle the power draw of the popcorn machine. 






What is included in the Souvenir Program sales kits?

Six (6) camera-ready program pages you can use to fill-out your program as required.


Do you autograph Souvenir Programs and is there a special camera-ready page for this included?

I do autograph programs but do not have a special page for this as I usually just sign on the front or back covers or inside on the photos page.


How much should we sell our Souvenir Program Ads for?

Every market varies.  We recommend you research your local newspaper for an idea of advertising rates.  There’s also a suggested rate sheet included.






Here is the support for your CD version of the Project Kit.
The CD contains all of necessary documents to complete your show program, poster, tickets, ticket journal and contest sheets.






Which “Celebrity Pledge Contest” Illusion should we promote for our Makin’ Magic show?

The Stocks.  If you are having 2 shows, pick 2 different volunteers.  Best choices are adult male.  NOTE that the volunteers’ collar size should be no more than 18” or they may be uncomfortable when placed into the apparatus.  Height of volunteer is not a factor; however weight may be in respect of collar size.


Do they need to talk to you before the show?

Not necessary, we just pull ’em up out of the audience.   Just write down the name of your volunteer(s) on a piece of paper and give it to us before the start of the show.


At what point in the show is the volunteer required?

We perform the Stock illusion during the 2nd act, which begins about 1:20 after the show starts.


Will you be using any other audience volunteers?

Yes!  Several children between 6 and 12 years of age are invited onstage, as well as an adult female for our “Hold Your Hand” routine (it’s helpful to pre-select this volunteer as well, and have her seated near the front of the stage).






When is the Houdini Trunk available to us for this raffle?

On the day of the show, about a half-hour prior to show time and during the 20-min intermission.  This can be on display in your lobby with keys sold throughout the intermission.


Is there any cost to us?

No, other than the prize package you put together (which cost you nothing, as we recommend you get donated items). 


How big is the trunk?

Approximately 2-ft x 3-ft and about 3-ft deep.


Do you have keys available for this raffle?

Yes, we bring the Houdini Trunk to every show along with a jar containing keys. 


What’s the best way to handle the Houdini Mystery Trunk piggyback, and how exactly is it run?

Get a valuable prize package donated by various businesses.  (We’ve seen prize packages valued as much as $1,000).  This package can be locked inside our Houdini Trunk which you put on display (in the lobby, back of auditorium, near ticket sales table, etc).  ADVERTISE this during your promotional campaign.


We’ll of course have the trunk, locks and keys on show day.  (One or several keys are “winners”).  You should make a display sign to call attention to the contest (use the camera-ready flyer provided).


*If you have a prize that doesn’t fit inside the trunk, you can put a coupon or other representation of the prize inside.


There’s a couple ways you can handle the selling of keys: 

  1. You can sell specially-marked tickets with your advance sale that entitles the ticket-holder to receive a key at the show.

2.You can sell tickets at the show, from which a draw is made to determine a select number of key winners (one of which is guaranteed to open the trunk).

3.You can sell the actual keys.


We’ve found that #2 is the most efficient method, because it eliminates the need for hundreds of key-holders to line up and try their luck (time-consuming).  In the event that you opt for method #3, we recommend that you don’t let anybody try their key until you’ve stopped selling keys.  This ensures that you can sell the most number of keys, regardless of who holds the winning one.  (You don’t want to sell two keys, and have the second key sold be the one that opens the trunk!).






Serving Sarasota-Manatee Counties... Call John at (941) 227-0864 or click

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Serving Sarasota-Manatee Counties... John has retired and thanks all that have used his services over the 50+ years of performing!

As seen on "Suncoast FYI" TV Program - Click here to see the show segment!

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