Rick Wilcox has been a long-time friend and one whom I have been wanting to feature on this podcast for some time. I have known Rick for many years as a fellow "Four F'r" (from Fechter's Finger Flicking Frolic annual close-up convention) who helps Jimmy C with the A/V for the close-up shows. We have talked about being an illusionist versus a close-up guy, but Rick does both. I knew he and his wife, Susan, had a long-running illusion show playing in their own 500 seat theater in Wisconsin.
The Rick Wilcox Magic Show is now into its 19th season at the Wisconsin Dells and plays to packed houses throughout the tourist season running from Memorial Day through Labor Day but also playing during Spring Break and seasonal holidays. They compete with indoor/outdoor water parks, duck rides, zip-lining, go-carting, candy shops and other family attractions similar to Branson, Missouri but much smaller with fewer show options but with more family oriented rather than those Branson attractions that are geared towards the senior set. With all of the competition for the tourist dollar in a popular family destination, it is great to know that they recently won an award for "The Best Family Travel Destination for the State of Wisconsin".
Rick and Susan Wilcox talk about the daily chores of an illusionist who prepares each day for and evening show in their own theater, plus the problems with traveling with big illusions when on the road. They also talk about routining and scripting a stage show and how each illusion fits into the overall show as they constantly change the show each year and throughout the year. They discuss some of the challenges of finding, remodeling and maintaining a theater and marketing their show, some "horror stories" when things went wrong, and more.
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