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Blade ready to open new theater tonight

by Lindsey Wells | December 8, 2017 at 4:00 a.m.

After 14 months of renovations and six weeks of rehearsal, master illusionist Maxwell Blade has finally returned home to his roots at the historic Malco Theatre with what he considers "the best show I have ever produced."

The opening night gala is set for 8 p.m. today.

Celebrating his 22nd season in Hot Springs this year, Blade has once again gained possession of the Malco Theatre, where he first began performing in August 1996.

Tonight's opening gala is sold out, Blade said, but tickets are still available for Saturday's show. Guests at tonight's gala will enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres catered by Cafe 1217 and desserts from Suellen Tillman. Shows will continue on the weekends throughout the holidays and on the nights of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Shows will be presented nightly beginning in March.

"We certainly want to invite everyone down to see what we've done and enjoy the new theater," Blade said.

Twelve individuals make up the cast of the show, including four stage girls, two backstage personnel, a sound and light tech, and a spotlight tech.

"Jennifer (Vaughn) is part of the show, as well as Cathy, my ex-wife. She's helping with the new production. We're the ones that first came to Hot Springs all those years ago and put it together the first time, so she will be in the show from time to time. She's certainly been kind enough to help me get it running again," Blade said.

"It's 12 cast members total and that's about the minimum as far as numbers of people that it requires to pull off what we're presenting at the new show."

After Blade and his family moved to Hot Springs in 1995, he put the $12,000 he had to his name toward renovating the theater the first time. This time, the renovations total around $750,000.

"We're excited. I'm so pleased it's finished," he said. "I'm relieved that the process has come to an end as far as the restoration and production of the new show. It's a very interesting production, by far the best show I have ever produced."

With the new theater comes a completely new show. The entire show is based around time, giving it a running theme throughout.

"It's in a really good place and I think that it's ready to present. We're looking forward to hosting people from all over the country as well as locally," Blade said. "Come out and see what we've done and enjoy the theater. I'm glad it's over, I'm pleased we're done, and I'm looking forward to what we can bring to Hot Springs. We're happy and glad to be here."

In addition to Blade's shows, he said he looks forward to opening the theater up for other community events, including a screening of "Loving Vincent," a biographical animated drama film about the life of painter Vincent Van Gogh, on Dec. 28. The screening of the film will be presented by Visit Hot Springs.

"I'm elated that we're able to bring this to Hot Springs. It's going to be a fun film to play and watch. It's been played in New York and Paris; it's done quite well worldwide. We're lucky, there are only two spots in Arkansas that are actually having it, and we're one of them," Blade said.

Local on 12/08/2017

Print Headline: Blade ready to open new theater tonight


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