Win tickets to See Illusionist Adam Trent at DPAC February 15th

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I love magic and  illusions so I am really excited about seeing Adam Trent dazzle the audience with his mind bending show at the DPAC next Thursday, February 15th. Adam is the breakout star of the world’s best selling magic show The Illusionists, and is now on tour with his own 90-minute show that brings his signature brand of futuristic magic and illusion that many are calling “the next generation of magic”.

If you are a fascinated by illusions and magic just like me, or just want to do something a little different for a special date during Valentine’s week you can enter to win a family four-pack of tickets to Adam’s show on the 15th at DPAC by leaving a comment below about why you love magic. I will randomly select one lucky winner to be announced this Sunday.

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I recently spoke to Adam by phone and learned about his journey as a professional magician and what audiences can expect from attending one of his amazing performances.

“You’ll see intimate close-up magic. You’ll see spectacular grand illusion. You’ll see futuristic, high-tech magic. There is music, comedy and lots of audience participation. There are a lot of cool futuristic elements of the show,” says Trent.

For an idea of what to expect Check out the cool clip below from a recent appearance Adam made on the Ellen show to get a taste of the type of magic he brings to the stage. This clip totally blew my mind!

Adam’s journey into magic began at a very young age. “I started when I was about 8 years old, and I saw a magic show with my family,” he said.

“I remember my whole family laughing and having fun. It was something we could all enjoy together. Magic was the thing that got us all laughing and having fun. It was that response and how it made me feel that got me first interested and I immediately went out and got my first magic book and started practicing tricks.”

By the time Adam was 11 years old he was already booking gigs doing magic tricks at birthday parties. He actually put himself through college doing magic. After graduating from college he found his purpose as a magician, but it was a challenging road.

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“After college I worked as a street performer out in Los Angeles and on the Santa Monica Pier for over a year. I am self taught and those days performing for crowds on the street were some of the best training I ever had. I think those years play a large role in why I enjoy audience participation in my show so much.”

After those years of working the cruise ship circuit he landed a role with “The Illusionist”  making it all the way to Broadway. Now with his own show Adam focusse his energy into a fantastic 90 minute show with his high energy and friendly personality and a unique blend of high-tech illusions, dance moves and good old-fashioned showmanship that is reshaping magic for the next generation.

The show has classic elements too but is also very high-tech, with video projections, music and props. “This show has something for everybody. Whether it’s their first magic show or their hundredth magic show,” says Trent. “It’s a magic show for people who did not know they were fans of magic.”

I can’t wait to see it! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a family four-pack of tickets to Adam’s show on the 15th at DPAC. Leave a comment below to enter!

The Magic of Adam Trent is Feb. 15 at Durham Performing Arts Center. For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/adam-trent.

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Coming Soon to Durham: Boxcar Bar and Arcade

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Baxcar Bar and Arcade in Raleigh

If you have been to Raleigh’s warehouse district then you have probably checked out Boxcar Bar and Arcade next to The Pit and across the street from Videri Chocolate Factory. It is a great spot to grab a beer or cocktail and play classic video games from the 1980’s and early 90’s and is also home to an impressive selection pinball machines.

Earlier today it was announced that Boxcar is planning to open a second Triangle location in Durham. This latest location will be at 619 Foster St., which is right across the street from the old Durham Athletic Park and right around the corner from other popular meeting places like Fullsteam Brewery, Motorco Music Hall and Cocoa Cinnamon.

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This will be the first of their locations to offer food. The 10,000 square foot space will also be home to over 80 arcade games and will have a full bar with an extensive craft beer menu. The new Durham location is expected to open in late Spring of 2018. Follow Boxcar on FacebookTwitter or Instagram to stay up to date on their progress.

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The Krispy Kreme Challenge Returns this Saturday

The Krispy Kreme Challenge returns this Saturday, February 3rd at 8am in downtown Raleigh. It is one of my favorite local races to watch and cheer on the runners.

The race starts with a 2.5 mile run from the NC State Bell Tower on Hillsborough Street to the Krispy Kreme store at the intersection of Peace & Person Street in downtown Raleigh. Once there runners eat a dozen original glazed Krispy Kreme donuts and then run 2.5 miles back to the Bell Tower – all in under one hour.

For more informatiom about the race visit: http://krispykremechallenge.com

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A Standout Cast Takes “Les Misérables” to New Heights at DPAC

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Allison Guinn as ‘Madame Thénardier’ in the new national tour of Les Misérables 
(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

On Tuesday I was transported to early 19th century revolutionary France as I took in the touring production of Les Misérables for my very first time at The Durham Performing Arts Center.  This is a reworked production of the incredibly popular show and let me just say it is magnificent.

For those who have seen it before you will notice there is no longer a turntable stage like  and there are new backdrops and sets inspired by the artwork of Voctor Hugo, lending a dark atmosphere to the show that allows for key elements of the performance to be singled out with dramatic lighting. There is also some great use of projection screens for wonderful visual effects that really add to experience.

These updates combined with the incredibly talented cast and the next to perfect pit orchestra performing Claude-Michel Schonberg’s moving score have launched this revamped production to new heights and I think audiences are really in for a treat.

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The company of Les Misérables performs “Master of the House” with J Anthony Crane as ‘Thénardier and Allison Guinn as ‘Madame Thénardier’
(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

The musical tells the story of love, redemption, and the human spirit.  The show starts with Jean Valjean (Nick Cartell) being released from prison after 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. Once he is out he is treated as an outcast but a benevolent bishop takes pity on him and gives him a second chance to become and honest man. Eventually Jean Valjean becomes a successful factory owner under an assumed name, all the while he is pursued relentlessly by a police inspector named Javert (Josh Davis) for breaking his parole all those years ago.

We are introduced to Fantine (Melissa Mitchell), a young woman whose illegitimate daughter, Cosette, has been put into the care of a cruel and greedy couple, the Thenardiers (Allison Guinn and J Anthony Crane), who are second rate crooks that run a questionable inn. Feeling remorse for Fantine having been fired from her job at his factory and now on her death bead, Valjean promises to rescue her daughter and take care of her.

Once Cosette (Jillian Butler) grows up, Marius (Joshua Grosso) falls in love with her oblivious to the fact that Éponine (Talia Simone Robinson) is quietly in love with him and pines for his affection. Meanwhile a student revolution is underway in the streets of France, led by Enjolras (Matt Shingledecker), who leads the company on the barricades trying to rally people to their crusade with the “The People’s Song”.

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Nick Cartell as ‘Jean Valjean’ in the new national tour of  Les Misérables 
(Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Nick Cartell gave a heartfelt performance as the ex-convict Jean Valjean and played a wonderful foil to Josh Davis’s Inspector Javert and his passion for the rule of law.  Melissa Mitchell is wonderful as the broken spirited Fantine. Her rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” will move you and leave you wanting her character to stick around a little longer if only to share one more beautiful song. For me, one of the standout performances of the night was Talia Simone Robinson’s incredibly heartfelt performance as Éponine as she battles with unrequited love and a life that could have been. Her rendition of “On My Own” was one of the highlights of the night and nearly stole the show.

This Les Misérables production is based off some of the best source material in theater, but the stellar cast really took this show to new heights. While individual performances are sure to standout, I dare you not to get goosebumps when the chorus breaks out in “The People’s Song”

Don’t miss your chance to join the revolution before it leaves Durham this Sunday.

Les Misérables” has performances at DPAC through Sunday, February 4th. For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/les-miserables

 

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“Les Misérables” Brings Tragedy and Humanity to the DPAC Stage

 

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Matt Shingledecker as ‘Enjolras’ in the new national tour of Les Misérables

Next Tuesday Les Misérables opens at the Durham Performing Arts Center with shows running through Sunday, February 4th. Along with the Oscar-winning movie version, this Tony Award-winning musical (now in its 32nd year) has been seen by more than 130 million people in 44 countries and in 22 languages throughout the world, but this will be my first time seeing the production on stage.

The show is on its national tour direct from an acclaimed two-and-a-half-year return to Broadway back in 2014. Adding to my excitement to seeing the show, I hear the production has wonderful new staging and a host of reimagined scenery that is inspired by the paintings of Victor Hugo – and it has audiences raving.

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Featuring the thrilling score and beloved songs “I Dreamed A Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “One Day More,” and many more.

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“I Dreamed A Dream” – Melissa Mitchell as ‘Fantine’ in the new national tour of Les Misérables

In preparation of seeing the show, last week I spoke to Melissa Mitchell, who plays Fantine in the production talked about what it is like to play a tragic character in such a timeless story.

What is it like to play a tragic character like Fantine?
“Well, I was the understudy for Fantine and Cosette in the 2014 revival on Broadway so it has been great to make the jump to playing Fantine night after night on the tour. The source material is so rich. She is a woman of great grace and strength who lives selflessly for the good of her daughter. To prepare each nigh I like to think that each night I am embarking on Fantine’s “journey” and it has been thrilling, challenging and at the same time heartbreaking. Over time I feel like I am building a different relationship with the character and it grows each time I go on her journey”

Why do you think this show has remained so popular with audiences?
It is a powerful story of humanity. It is timeless. It shows the dignity of being human no matter what the circumstances. In this show the characters are faced with suffering and persevere in the face of difficulty. Exemplifying the beauty of the powerful fight of the human spirit.  It is inspiring, poignant, unifying and uplifting. It is something everyone can relate to in their own personal way.

How has being a part of this production helped you grow as an actor and a person?
My sense of purpose is strongly influenced by my desire to grow more fully into the person I was created to be. The circumstances of my life may evolve over time, but through all the circumstance I dream of becoming a more selflessly loving person, and growing in my relationship with God, my family and friends. Playing the character of Fantine requires a lot of trust and surrender. Right now I am pouring myself into this role and the production as they both help me on this journey.

Les Misérables” has performances at DPAC Tuesday January 30th through Sunday, February 4th. For tickets visit https://www.dpacnc.com/events/detail/les-miserables

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