Once a month at the Tin Pan Theater in Downtown Bend, something special happens. A small group of folks puts on a live show that’s a fun blend of media festival, variety show, and talk show. It’s called (deep breath), Tin Pan Theater Presents the Night Light Show with Shanan Kelley & Magnificent Guests… or just The Night Light Show. They play to a standing-room-only crowd of supporters, packing the theater so it’s bursting at the seams.
I’ve been to several of the shows since the first of the year, and have enjoyed every one. Shanan Kelley, the host, has great stage presence and makes everyone feel like her personal guest. She is joined by Chelsea Woodmansee (known for Last Comic Standing Bend), a house band called The Gold Rust (comprised of Casey the Boy & Kaycee the Girl), and many others who work to make the night interesting and fun.
While the show is entertaining – I could go on and on about how hard I laugh – it’s also a great showcase for local personalities, businesses, events, and causes. Every show is a unique snapshot of some aspect of Bend, in line with a monthly theme. As much as Portlandia is a satirical take on Portland stereotypes and idiosyncracies, The Night Light Show does a great job of offering a Bendite’s unique perspectives on both local and broader topics. (Remember when tickets to Dave Matthews Band sold out in a flash? The NLS feels your pain.) While small, the Tin Pan Theater is a great venue and it’s a nice place to spend an evening, kicking back (or standing!) with a bucket of freshly-made popcorn and a local craft beer.
The show has grown tremendously since it started less than a year ago. There are now two shows (one at 6:30 and one at 8:30) and they’ve added a middle party for the groups attending both shows to mingle and enjoy music & offerings from local businesses in Tin Pan Alley. They’re tinkering with live streaming since tickets have sold out for every live show.
When I asked Shanan why they do the show, she wrote:
At this point the show is still very much in it’s experimental phase. We do it for the laughs, we do it to see if we can make it truly profitable, we do it to see if we can provide marketing assistance that works and is affordable (gasp) for local businesses and organizations. We do it because we know it builds community. We can talk about ANYTHING no matter how difficult if we are laughing. Laughter is the thing we all have in common and it is the most powerful medicine available.
…Sounds like a good experiment to me. If it sounds good to you, get a taste of what The Night Light Show is all about on their YouTube Channel where many of the videos featured at previous shows can be found. The next live show is on September 30th, and tickets go on sale at 10am today (September 23rd) at http://www.tinpantheater.com/. They go fast, so nab yours as early as possible. Hope to see you there!