ASST. HEAD COPY EDITOR
Comedy, art, and magic are all on their way to Whittier, as Vitaly Beckman will soon take the stage at the Ruth B. Shannon Center of Performing Arts. Beckman is a well-known illusionist who has already amazed thousands of people, bringing art to life while also cracking jokes for his audiences.
Theatre Manager and Production Coordinator Shane Cadman invited Beckman to perform on campus. After seeing his live show two times, Cadman had the opportunity of getting to know the illusionist. Cadman had wanted to bring an illusionist to the Shannon Center for quite some time, and before putting the idea on the backburner, Cadman thought, ‘you know, I’m going to try it one more time.’
Magicians and comedians have performed at the Shannon Center before, including comedy magicians Eric Buss, Chipper Lowell, and Ben Seidman. Getting audiences to keep coming back for these types of shows, though, is the hard part. Cadman doesn’t know why he’s had a “hard time getting audiences out for them, [and] it’s really frustrating,” he said. “We used to do plays for little kids, like on Saturday afternoons,” said Cadman, “but the audience started dying off. Not literally, [but] people get so busy, right? They had soccer games; they had church; they had all these things going on.” Busy families having other events to attend is understandable, but Cadman is in high hopes that Vitaly’s performance will attract a larger audience.
Cadman’s main goal is to get a larger audience for the performers he brings to the Shannon Center. To achieve this goal, Cadman reached out to Program Board to help promote the event on campus. Attending this magical event has the potential of bringing the entire Whittier community together — students, faculty, and staff at the College, as well as members of the City not associated with the College.
However, Cadman does understand that students especially can get busy and are often unable to pay for Shannon Center performances. “Students want free, and I get that,” Cadman said. At the same time, though, Cadman also believes that the arts are worth paying for, which is why he sets a student price for most of the events he organizes at the Shannon Center. “Most of the time, it’s $5 . . . My philosophy is that if you, [as a student], can get that venti Starbucks, [you can come to a show]. But, if a student came up to me and said, ‘I honestly have no money, but I would love to see this,’ I’d make a way for them to see it,” Cadman said.
Cadman believes anyone who can attend at 7:30 p.m., Thursday on April 11 will be amazed by Beckman’s performance. “He does this thing where he takes volunteers, and he gets their driver’s licenses, and then he switches the pictures,” said Cadman. “You walk out [of a Vitaly performance], and your head is just hurting because you’re like, ‘This does not make sense to me at all.’ That’s just the quality of his work, and it’s really beautiful.”
Vitaly has even more tricks like this one up his sleeve, so make sure to join the other students and members of the Whittier community on Thursday to see for yourself. Tickets are free for the first 200 students who sign up on OrgSync and pick up their ticket at the Office of Student Engagement. If you miss the free ticket opportunity, regular admission is only $10 at the box office with your student I.D.! Make sure to also look out for other Shannon Center performances coming up in the near future. Next Saturday night, April 19, there will be a showing of the silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc. The film, according to Cadman, has a new score that is performed live, with “strings, vocals, and electronics.”
All other performances and events at the Shannon Center are listed online at the Shannon Center’s website, shannoncenter.org.