THE FAMILY SHOW – AN ENDANGERED SPECIES? / by Bo Gerard

Is there room in this crazy, fast-paced world for a good old family show?

I grew up watching family entertainment.  To me that means entertainment that is equally entertaining for both adults and children.  Entertainment that doesn’t pander to either end of the age spectrum, but finds a middle ground (and also includes moments just for the adults and moments just for the kids).  I have since observed that many magical performers have begun to specialize, or they may have one show for kids and another for adults.  That makes sense since aside from festivals, Bar Mitzvahs and some birthday parties, it’s getting harder to find audiences that are made up of both adults and children.  However, when you are presented with a true “Family” audience, playing just to one age group might not cut it.

Although it’s a real challenge to develop an act that plays well to both demographics, it can be a very rewarding endeavor.  Because I was so influenced by the TV of the 60's, I have spent my life in the business trying to find material that is truly entertaining to all ages.  Yes, I do alter my patter and presentation when the situation calls for it, but more often than not I am doing the same show I do at Blue and Gold Banquets that I do at Corporate Awards Banquets; and it KILLS at both!  Why?  Because there is common ground in both groups that a performer can tap into.  If you find a way to engage the audiences’ inner child, the part of them that is open, curious, wanting to laugh, and looking for a shared experience, then you are golden!

There are many wonderful performers that are on this quest with me.  I feel personally blessed to be able to facilitate an audience’s transformation from a collection of individual, separate people, into a dynamic and unified group; one that is working with me to make a great show.  An audience that feels comfortable reacting to the show, both verbally and physically.  Their participation not only affects the other members of the audience, but greatly affects me as well; as I STEER THE MAGICAL SHIP INTO WACKY WATERS.

So, let’s hear it for the good old “Family” show, and let’s keep it alive for generations to come.