In Edgar’s office, the team evaluates David Byrd’s poster. It’s stunning. ‘All that’s needed to complete it,’ David confides, ‘is a title. What do we call it?’ After three predictable ideas, I share a thought. ‘Why don’t we just call it what it is, ’The Magic Show.’ Following a round of approvals, David Byrd assures us we’ll see the final rendering within an hour. He’s out the door.
On the first day of rehearsal, Stephen, Bob, and I establish a ‘courtesy condition.’ Opinions about performances will not be expressed in the presence of the cast. The privacy of a nearby office will ensure that the cast isn’t subjected to random criticisms.
Halfway through rehearsals, Edgar Lansbury informs us another backer’s audition is needed to secure financing for the show. Would the cast be willing to participate? Thankfully, they were. On a sunny April afternoon, forty-five investors sat in on a full run-through of ‘The Magic Show.’ The following day, Lansbury informs everyone that the opening scheduled for May 28, 1974 will happen as planned. ‘The Magic Show’ was fully financed
We are a ‘Go!’
By the time previews got underway, we rocked a number of Broadway traditions. Crew members and ushers signed confidentiality agreements protecting Doug ’illusions. Running time of the show is reduced to 81 minutes. The musical being performed in the Cort Theatre was produced for less than $300K.
After 10 previews, the show opens on May 28, 1974. Within six weeks, the show is selling out. Standing room only. It recoups its original investment in less than 15 weeks and goes on to enjoy a 5-year run with over 1900 performances.