Vaudeville hosts open mic, karaoke this summer
If You go...
What: Karaoke and open mic nights
When: 7-10 p.m. on Thursdays
Where: Glenwood Vaudeville Revue
How Much: Free admission (food and full bar available for purchase)
Most open mic or karaoke opportunities in the valley take place at bars or restaurants, where a performer is able to fade into the background amid lively conversation and hustle and bustle.
And for the more timid, less experienced performer, that situation is probably preferred. But the idea of stepping onto a stage where everyone is focused on you does have a certain appeal.
Now, that opportunity is yours for the taking every Thursday night at the Vaudeville.
The theater is taking the summer to try out weekly open mic and karaoke nights, said owner John Goss, in an effort to make it a destination on days when its popular vaudeville show is not running.
“We wanted to see what would happen,” Goss said. “In the summer time, we don’t draw as many crowds with the big stand-up comedy nights. We’re trying to find another way to use this theater.”
The Vaudeville has a brand new guitar and electric grand keyboard for anyone to use in their act, and it also has a new karaoke system if someone just wants to have a good time singing on stage. Anyone hoping to perform can just find Jammin’ Jim the Juggler, who will be mingling in the audience and running the evening, and he’ll put them on a list.
The open mic nights started on July 23 and have already grown over that short period of time, Goss said. The first night was really small, and kinks were still being worked out with the karaoke system. But the second week grew to host about 50 or 60 people. Some of them performed, some just came to support friends, and others came out to see some talented strangers in their community take the Vaudeville stage.
Audience members are still able to order dinner, appetizers and drinks for the open mic nights, giving the evening more of a casual atmosphere while still putting focus on performers.
And, so far, the performers have been incredibly diverse.
“We had a 9-year-old get up there, and he had more guts than anybody I’ve ever seen on that stage — it was awesome,” Goss said. “He’s just too young to be nervous. He got up there, and he just starts telling these jokes, screwing them up, it was so funny. His parents were correcting him, and he’d say, ‘Oh, yeah!’ and he’d fix them, and everybody loved it because he had so much charisma and lack of fear.
“And then we’ve had 50-year-olds up there with the guitar that want to play a song or something or sing a couple of songs on karaoke,” Goss continued. “So it’s really been a wide variety.”
Other acts have included stand-up comedy, poetry readings and dancing, Goss said, and he’s happy to let anyone show off their talent who wants to. It’s a lot of fun to watch someone conquer stage fright for the first time, he said.
“What I like about it is that I see people come in, and they’re nervous, they’re scared, they really want to do something, but they’re not sure if they have the guts for it,” he said. “But then they go up there, and they give it a shot. This guy from Ireland wanted to do some stand-up, and he was just terrified. He was like, ‘No, I’m not ready yet, I’m not ready yet,’ and finally he got up there and did his thing and did a good job, got some laughs, and he was learning. ‘Next time, I’m going to do it this way.’ And you see people’s passion and excitement to get up on the Vaudeville stage, in the lights, and actually do their thing.”
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