The Open Stage, a weekly event in Richardson, celebrated its 100th show on Monday, Feb. 4, 2013. Attendees were treated to a variety of acts, including musicians (one in drag), a belly dancer, a spoken word performer, and a singing burlesque dancer.
For the long-time attendees, there was also a lot of reminiscing. Host Russ Sharek referenced events throughout the Open Stage’s two-year history, and thanked both the people who had been there since the beginning (with special thanks to his co-producer Kelly Nygren) and those who are more recent additions to the crew.
The recognition was extended to the audience as well. The Open Stage has always focused on welcoming newcomers, as each first time attendee is introduced to the crowd with a cry of “First timer!” Many of the people who have performed at the Open Stage came first to see the show, and were gradually encouraged to share their talents.
This constant progression of first timer to regular to performer has led to gradual changes in the mix of performance types seen at the Open Stage. The show was originally created by the Circus Freaks, a local performance group focused on circus skills like juggling, hula hooping, and flag dancing. The early shows featured a lot of these types of performances. As new blood arrived, the focus shifted somewhat. Burlesque, completely absent for the first few months, is now a mainstay. The circus beginnings can still be seen, however, in the “Performer’s Playground,” a free-form portion of the event which occurs after the stage show.
Following close on the heels of the 100th show, the second anniversary event is coming up on Mar. 4. Acts are already being scheduled for that date, as well as the weekly show. Those interested in performing can find more information at the Circus Freaks site.
The Open Stage takes place every Monday at the House of Poets, 580 W Arapaho Rd #199, Richardson, TX. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 8.