2020 was supposed to be Illusionist Leon Etienne’s year. He was on tour when the COVID-19 pandemic started, and filming with Penn & Teller.
"The day after we finished filming with Penn and Teller, it happened," he said. "The rest of our tour, which was supposed to run all the way to the end of the summer, got shut down, so my show "Magic Rocks" came to a grinding halt, my career, just like everyone else around the world. Everything just kind of stopped," Etienne said.
So he adapted with a summer of socially distanced shows and virtual performances. He partnered with local companies to build his new studio, using pieces from his tour and buying new equipment.
OKAY. I can’t prove to social media that this wasn’t planned, but listen - it wasn’t, and I am dumbfounded!— Melissa Krull (@MKrullTV) February 8, 2021
Local illusionist Leon Etienne has adapted to the pandemic, hosting virtual shows that engage viewers- one of them is Wednesday night to support Broadway Utica! pic.twitter.com/FMGrtnvx1h
"Did it cost a little bit of money? Absolutely," he said. "But for me, it’s worth it so that I know everybody buying a ticket and watching my show is getting the best experience they possibly can."
People tuning in can just sit and watch, but there are ways to be interactive too.
"We use Zoom to its full capabilities, so we will unmute people. They can’t actually physically touch a card and pick one because of the medium, but you can say 'stop.' I can ask you if you want me to call numbers 'one, two, three, four,' stuff like that," said Etienne.
Etienne has a virtual show coming up Wednesday at 7 p.m. to benefit Broadway Utica. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Broadway Utica’s box office 258 Genesee St. Utica, over the phone at 315-624-9444 or online.
A Zoom link will be sent out 24 hours before the show.