Last year, I did something I never thought I would do in my entire life, I got up on a stage at The Apollo Theatre and told stories to over 90 people in the audience. Sarah Marie Dillard and Brandon Mooberry sang the opening and closing songs and DJ juanGoblin played music before the show and in between stories when I made sandwiches for three lucky audience members.
I have never been so scared in my life but it worked and it was such an adrenaline rush! Even though it was a ton of work and nervousness, I was hooked and wanted to to do it again. But this time I decided to do a brand new show not only in Peoria, but in Chicago and New York as well.
It just seemed like the right insane thing to do! So shortly after that first show, I promptly had open heart surgery and then while healing I started to write and put together the show I called, “Confessions of a Pre-Teen Hippie - Sweet and Savage Stories About Growing Up in the ‘60’s.”
After six months of writing,, rehearsing, getting artwork and posters made for the show and coordinating everything it was time to return to the Apollo Theatre and try out this new show.
Oh and we decided to film this one too, just to add to the pressure of this whole thing!
Below are some photos and thoughts about the Peoria show that happened on April 7, 2019!
Here’s the outside of The Apollo Theatre. I have to admit it’s a real cool feeling seeing your name on the marquee at this legendary theatre on Main Street in Peoria!
There’s the poster that Chelsie Tamms from Lettering Works designed in the coming attractions window and also in the front window of the theatre. They were printed by Technicraft and I’d like to give a shout-out and thanks to Colleen Kimball and everyone at Technicraft for their wonderful work! Also note the unplanned obligatory mirror shot going on...I love it when that happens! And I need to thank Mary, who runs the Apollo for all of her help with the show, thanks Mary!
My friends Amber and Joe worked the front of the house and greeted guests while taking and selling tickets. They’re such a big part of the show and don’t get the credit that they deserve so I’ll give it to them right here and now!
They’re credited on the handbill that we gave out at the show as being the Story Editors and that’s a real important part of the show.
From the very starting part of the show, these two listen to me perform different sections in the MBIP World Headquarters and then give advice as to what they liked and more importantly parts that don’t work. I also can get a feeling if something is working or not by performing in front of them. I couldn’t do this in front of a lot of people so thanks for helping me shape this show, Amber and Joe! Amber, in particular made a couple really good edits that helped the show out tremendously!
Thanks to the two of you for your friendship, support and all that you do, the show probably wouldn’t happen without both of you!
Here’s the stage of the Apollo Theatre in all it’s lit up glory! It’s such an elegant theatre and perfect for a show like this. The second shot is my point of view from the stage. The last two shots are all of my props and my all-important notes for the show. I read these over and over in hopes that I won’t fuck things up tonight!
The opening song was “She Loves You” by The Beatles and the show closed with Sarah doing a solo version of “Old Friends/Bookends” by Simon and Garfunkel. They did such a wonderful job with both songs!
“She Loves You” was a challenge because it’s such an iconic song but they put a jazzy twist on it with a hint of soul that really made it their own and that isn’t easy to do with a Beatles tune!
Sarah’s solo version of “Old Friends/Bookends” was beautiful and magically captured the vibe of the whole ‘60’s show which was steeped in the thought that memories are a treasured thing that we sometimes take for granted!
DJ juanGoblin is staged to my left because juanGoblin’s actual last name is Wright, as in Jonathan Wright! Jon’s the Editor-In-Chief of Peoria Magazine and also is a member of the band Lark’s Tongue. juanGoblin spins tunes as the audience is coming in and during the in between story breaks when I make snack trays and he provides a fabulous layer of musical vibrations through the show.
There’s Steven Marx setting up a camera chatting with Doug Hoepker and Mae Gilliland Wright. In addition to being a roadie for Jon, Mae Gilliland Wright is the Social Media Wizard for Peoria Magazine and a Contributing Writer for the publication.
Steven Marx is the official Marty Monologues videographer and you’ll be able to stream the video of this show as soon as he and his son Joel are done editing it and putting it together. Hopefully he’s working on it now and not just messing around on Twitter!
After they perform the opening song, Sarah and Brandon go sit in the audience but they have to have front row seats so they can return easily at the end. I made these subtle reserved signs for their seats.
Luckily no one tried to sit in them so Sarah didn’t have to beat the fucking shit out of anyone. That’s a lucky thing because she has a mean right hook!
The first guests of the evening have arrived! That’s De and John Ingles from Smiley Graphix (check out their brand new website right here)! They came to the dress rehearsal and have been good friends of mine for decades! Thanks to both of them for their friendship and support and extra special thanks for not getting into a car wreck and almost dying before the dress rehearsal this year! (P.S. De is a co-host of a party happening this Saturday from 8pm to 9pm at Nick-N-Willy’s Pizza to celebrate their 25th anniversary! Stop by if you can, I’ll be there with the MBIP Camera to take your photo if you do!)
After I said hi to John and De I went backstage for the most nerve-rattling part of the evening and that’s the half an hour before the show. All you can do is wander around backstage and think about the 3,757 ways you can fuck the show up. It’s really unsettling and your stomach is an uncomfortable mix of knots and butterflies.
Finally DJ juanGoblin introduces Sarah and Brandon and they killed it just like last time and then it’s the moment of truth as Sarah introduces me. Time to walk out and pretend to act like I know what I’m doing and try not to throw up all over the stage!
It’s weird when you walk out on stage and hear everyone applauding for you, it’s such a wave of energy being thrown at you and it’s a giganzo rush of adrenalin!
The nerves do vanish and kind of an automatic pilot thing takes over (this is why rehearsing the show is so important) and just like the first one, the whole show is kind of a blur to me. Sarah and Brandon took these shots of me doing the show and Steven taking some onstage photos.
Sarah and Brandon took these shots from the back of the stage as the show was ending. It’s such a relief when you finally finish and the crowd applauds the show. It’s a feeling that I can’t put into words but I’m definitely hooked on it!
I want to thank the most important element of the show: Everyone who came and is sitting in the seats in this photo! Without all of you coming and giving such great energy back to us on stage, there wouldn’t be a show and I thank you for allowing me to do this. As Jackson Browne once sang, “You’ve got the power over what we do...”
Thanks to everyone involved with this show and those of you who bought tickets and came to it. This show has become a dream come true for me and I couldn’t have done it without all of you.
Mucho thanks from the bottom of my heart and from the butterflies in my stomach!
Now it’s on to Chicago in tomorrow’s post!
In addition to filming the show with his son, Joel, Steven Marx too these still shots from the show! Fantastic photos, Steven, thanks! Now get back to work!