This Saturday, January 12, 2013, will mark the one year anniversary of celebrity magician/illusionist Wayne Alan owning The Historic North Theatre Performing Arts Center. On the 12th, at 8:00 PM Wayne Alan's performance of his show, Magic of the Masters, the World's Most Famous Illusions will mark the occasion. Tickets are available on line at www.TheNorthTheatre.com or by calling the box office at 434-793-SHOW (7469). It has been an extremely busy year that included renovating the complex, including replacing the fallen façade, and reopening last August 25th which was the 65th anniversary of the opening of the theatre in 1947.
In the short four months of the theatre being open, the theatre has presented Magic of the Masters, the World's Most Famous Illusions on the second Saturday of each month as the resident show. In addition they also produced a Halloween Magic Show and The Magic of Christmas Show, plus in October they had Houdini's Haunted House in the theatre basement. In addition to magic shows, the theatre also presented a number of top touring professional shows. They have included Tony Sand's Frank Sinatra Tribute Show, from Atlantic City, Country Stars Gone to Soon from Branson, Missouri, a local group The Church Sisters, A Christmas Carol from Richmond and we nearly packed the house for The Return-the top Beatles tribute band. The theatre also hosted The Miss Black Teenage Pageant.
Mr. Alan lives in Annapolis, MD and when he is in town he lives in one of the theatre's apartments. He said, "Basically we have shows on every other weekend so I am one week in Annapolis and one week in Danville. I am getting used to the 5 hour drive and I have become very comfortable in Danville and have really enjoyed getting to know the people and the area. I am trying to perfect a new trick, trying to be in two places at once."
When asked about the future, Wayne said, "My number one goal is to promote and market the theatre more and to bring in tour groups from out of the area for matinee performances. I want to make The Historic North Theatre and Danville a tourist destination for day and weekend trips. I want to promote Danville as "The Arts and High Tech Capital of Southern Virginia".
Number two is to develop more community involvement with the theatre. For instance, for our February 12 performance of Magic of the Masters-The World's Most Famous Illusions-it will be a special "church night". We will offer group discounts to area churches and provide two free tickets for the pastor/priest plus four free tickets for a needy family in the church. We hope to have similar special group nights for veterans, first responders, the medical field, Rotary and other service clubs. We hope to also expand our program of working with local charities to help them as we did when we collected can goods for the Salvation Army at our Beatles tribute show."
Other goals include bringing in more professional touring shows, including musicals, plays and possibly a monthly Comedy Night as well as a monthly children's program as we did with A Christmas Carol. A number of festivals are planned including the 1st Annual Houdini Festival on March 22-23 and the 1st Annual Camilla Williams Opera Festival on May 24-25.
In the near future it is planned to have a restaurateur to lease and operate the restaurant/bar. Since the three apartments in the complex have been converted into a six bedroom Celebrity B&B, rooms will be available to the general public. People can choose from the Frank Sinatra Room, The Marilyn Monroe Room, The Nat King Cole Room, The Jimmy Stewart Room, The tonight Show Room and the Today Show Room. They are all filled with artifacts and memorabilia relating to the room. Previously they have only been available to visiting performers so they can stay on the premises.
Down the road the theatre wants to purchase a movie screen and digital projector to be able to show classic and foreign films.
Mr. Alan said, "My long term goal is to help revitalize the North Main Street area around the theatre into a thriving arts district of galleries, shops, boutiques and beautiful homes. I would also like this area to be included in the River District as was originally planned. I truly want to make Danville "The Arts and High Tech Capital of Southern Virginia". I want the theatre and myself to help the whole Danville area in its exciting revitalization."