I truly thought that I would never see the day when I was performing again in Coney Island. There were a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is that I am working on a new show for off-Broadway. It’s called Play Dead, and my co-creator and director of the show is Teller (of Penn & Teller). We have reinvented the old spook show and put a few touches on it that have never been seen onstage. The only sideshow bit in the show is me eating glass.
But Coney Island is back in my life. I am one of the producers of NY’s longest running magic show, Monday Night Magic, and our production company also provides entertainment for a number of venues including the summertime kiddy amusement park at the Wolman Rink in Central Park, Victorian Gardens. The people that run that spot got the nod from the city to redevelop much of Coney Island. The first step was putting up a new amusement park called Luna Park on the old Astroland site.
Man can not live by thrill rides alone, so when they wanted to add in live entertainment we got the call. In addition to the family entertainment during the day on Saturday and Sundays, they wanted “classic Coney Island” style entertainment during the evenings on Friday and Saturday nights. I jumped in and started the series off with a bunch of performances during June, and then was followed up by Johnny Fox and a bunch of other great entertainers. I was very flattered to hear that Lynn Kelly, the head of the Coney Island Development Corporation, was pleased to see me back out there performing.
The shows felt good and it reminded me that I built my act onstage in front of the crowds in Coney Island.
I’ll be back out there for a few performances in August before I take off for Las Vegas for the month of September to mount the full workshop production of Play Dead. And after we open the show in NYC (tentatively scheduled for November), who know what the future will bring. It is very possible that I might push for a new permanent performance venue out in Coney Island. The area could use another live show. We’ll see.
For more information about Luna Park, go to http://www.lunaparknyc.com.