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As venues remain shut, Seattle magician showcases performers in virtual variety shows

With cruise ships and theaters closed, musicians, magicians and other creators are bringing their acts to a free online show, with the help of a Seattle city grant.

SEATTLE — The pandemic will affect the normal holiday celebrations this year. The annual performances and stage shows are on hold, leaving countless performers without an audience.

But the show must go on, and this November and December several entertainers are joining together for a virtual variety show for everyone to enjoy online.

Evan Reynolds is known as “Evan the Great Magician,” although he settles for “Evan the All Right.”

Reynolds is leading the charge to fill the void left by performance venue closures.

Up until last February, Reynolds and numerous other performers were sharing a stage at Seattle’s University Heights Center — a historic community center in the U District that is a nonprofit home to a variety of arts and education organizations.

In March, everything changed when the pandemic hit. With venue closures, countless performers found themselves in limbo.

But the virtual world has provided an opportunity for online performances. Reynolds said he also wanted to use up the funding from a grant he received from the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

“We had money left and the performers need the income, so we wanted to find a way to use that money.” 

Reynolds reached out to his network of entertainers and a virtual variety show was born, just in time for the holidays.

Musicians, magicians, comics, jugglers and acrobats are all a part of the virtual variety shows that Evan The Great has organized with a small team of volunteers.

One of the performers is aerialist Jody Poth. Before the pandemic, she was on her first professional contract with Cirque Du Soleil at Sea in Dubai. After two weeks of performances the COVID-19 outbreak stranded the cruise ship for most of a month.  

Ironically, having a virtual event made it possible for Poth to participate in the show, because of the physical requirements for an aerial routine.

“Normally we would need rigging in the ceiling but because this is virtual she can perform in her environment and we can mix it in,” Reynolds said. 

The free, family-friendly variety show is an extension of Reynolds' passion for accessibility of the arts.

“We have added a fun live Ask Me Anything afterwards," Reynolds said. "When do you get to ask a Cirque Du Soleil performer about their performance?”

You can watch live for free on YouTube this Sunday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. The second show is set for Dec. 13 and will feature different performers. More information can be found at www.evan.org.