Grand Magic institutes a new Christmas show
Published: Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Can Custer become a place with a winter, holiday attraction? The Grand Magic Theater wants to give it a try. This coming Friday at 7 p.m., Grand Magic will offer a grand scale holiday show similar in scope to what it does in the summer, but entirely around the Christmas theme.
Duane and Mary Laflin have been in the Custer community for three years. Their first year was spent building a new show in what is now called the Grand Magic Theater, formerly known as the Showbarn. This past Sept 1, they completed their second full season of their Grand Magic show and are now working on the new show for the summer of 2014. The summer version of their show has been drawing good attendance and getting great reviews, they said.
The Laflins feel like they have been in Custer long enough to take a risk with a December show. They have done their homework and believe the community is interested. More than that, if the show goes well and they can get the word out, they think a Christmas magic show could become an attraction in Custer that would draw people from the great Black Hills region and perhaps from across the state. They would like to see more happening in Custer during the winter months. The two know it will be slow going and will need to build, but are willing to try to do something. If this first show goes well, they plan to schedule Grand Magic Christmas shows for every weekend in December 2014.
The Laflins have worked hard to make this a holiday spectacular. In spite of the fact that they have no idea what to expect by way of attendence, Duane says they have gone all out to create a wondeful show. New illusions have been designed, new costumes have been sewn and a new Christmas music soundtrack has been created.
The interior of the Grand Magic theater has been specially decorated for the holiday season and the Laflins have built a new addition to the stage just for the Christmas show.
The 90-minute performance with a brief intermission is open to everyone. The show will open with the magical appearance of four ladies from a giant candy house and move into a magical toyland sequence. Raggedy Ann and Jolly the Christmas Elf will be on hand as well as a new puppy named Brutus.
The second half of the show will include Mary doing an illusion involving a box and 16 swords. The Laflins are famous for this illusion among other magicians because not even other magicians know how it is done. Even the levitation effect will be done in holiday style.
Music for the intermission will be provided by Rick Hamil, a Custer resident who, during the week, teaches music in the Martin public school system. He will play holiday swing music on the trumpet. Ron Burtz from Wall will sing Christmas songs as the audience is being seated.
Along with the fun and traditions of the holiday, the show will offer inspiration and hope about the true meaning of Christmas. A portion of the proceeds will benefit a children's camp program known as Hallawasa, which takes place a few miles south of town during the summer months.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and those under 3 are free. Tickets may be purchased at the door or by phone. For questions or reservations, call 406-291-2004.
Duane’s vision for what can happen in the Grand Magic Theater is big. He said he wants to be wise not to “bite off more than he can chew,” but his hope and goal is to see the theater continue with a high-powered magic show in the summer, a grand holiday spectacular during December, and, in time, offer a country Westerm music production on weekends in the early fall.
“Some in Custer raise their eyebrows when they find out what all I hope to accomplish,” he said.âï¿½ï¿½“I can tell they are doubtful such ventures can find success. However, I have plenty of experience in my kind of business and do believe Custer is a place where shows can be successful.
“The crucial thing is to lay good foundations and take time to do things right. When shows fail in a place like this it is usually not because the show is bad or because the community can't support it; it is because proper homework has not been done,” he added. “Jumping into things too soon is an easy way to fail. Building in a way that is slow and steady, with a committment to quality, is the way to last.”
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