Backstage with The Arcada Theatre’s Ron Onesti
The return of the “Travolta Dance”
I am not saying anything new when I proclaim that, “Time flies!” But can you believe that whole “Lockdown” Corona thing began two and a half years ago? There are still remnants of that plus current scares, vaccinations and mask-wearing hovering about our world, everywhere you turn. But for the most part, I think we are back, all working hard to return to normalcy, albeit the new form it is today.
There are still some artists who are being extra cautious, cancelling meet-and-greets, wearing masks and reducing the amount of shows they are scheduling. I was surprised to get the notice today that the guys from the band AMERICA do not want ANYONE in the dressing rooms or backstage, including my hospitality staff and production crew. I absolutely love the band and we will of course, honor their wishes, but I will miss the hugs and the camaraderie I usually get with the entertainers.
Conversely, we had Lou Gramm of FOREIGNER last weekend, and he did after-show meet and greets and autograph signings. And this legendary performer has had more health challenges than most!
But overall, the shows have been great! Folks are returning in droves to re-visit their childhood musical memories. And I must say, it has been quite a moving experience to see the fans returning to our theatres. The excitement of the live music experience has been written all over their faces! Add to that the extensive theatre renovations in both St. Charles and Des Plaines that occurred during COVID, and it is almost too much for many to handle!
Folks have literally come to me open-armed with tears in their eyes, just happy to be back. The hugs have been plentiful and the general vibe has been that of a New Years Eve party at 11:45 at night! Groups swaying to the music, dancing in the aisles and singing along to the best of their ability. Even those who should NEVER give a karaoke bar the time of day sound better!
I think that is what I missed most while we were locked down. It was the way people let their hair down during our shows. They left their cares at the door and for two-plus-hours they did not have a concern in the world. After all, isn’t that the magic of music anyway?
Sometimes I will see guys I know personally who are tie-wearing lawyers, bankers and real estate pros. Some are doctors, dentists and educators. It is so cool for me to see them spelling out Y-M-C-A at a Village People show, or doing the John Travolta Saturday Night Fever-dance at a Bee Gees tribute show. The look of “Cool” on their faces as their right arm points up and to the right, then comes down to their waist on the left. I could visualize them in a white suit with their chest hairs bursting out of that big-collared shirt. It warms my heart to watch them trying to keep a beat or remember the REAL lyrics. But the look of shear happiness on their faces makes it all worth it.
So if you are reading this, and things haven’t been so wonderful lately, please take a look at our website. I am POSITIVE that there is something that will make you happy and will help you get through what you are going through. Even if you are experiencing financial challenges, please send me a note. I will help you. None of this is about the money. We all experienced what it is like to have the ability to live life almost taken away from us. This is about enjoying the time we have left together, and I want to spend as much of it with you as possible!
I do a pretty mean Travolta dance myself, by the way!