The Palladium Theater may be down, but it’s not out, and by the middle of September many of the 5th Avenue venue’s favorite performers will be back on that stage, in full entertainment mode.
Of course, there won’t be a live audience – you and I won’t be there – but Paul Wilborn’s got that all figured out.
Wilborn, the Palladium’s longtime executive director, is producing a series of virtual concerts, to be recorded (on the mainstage) and streamed.
Palladium Presents will use four cameras (three stationary, one mobile) and a state-of-the-art, stereo sound system, mixed for optimal audio enjoyment.
The second show in the series, featuring an all-star jazz band with James Suggs on trumpet, Jeremy Carter on sax and the triple-threat trio La Lucha, was taped in the otherwise-empty Palladium Friday afternoon.
“Since we weren’t back with live shows, we were exploring the video thing anyway,” Wilborn says. “This just seemed like a good idea to keep our brand out there during the pandemic. For me, the most important part has been to get my artists back working, and getting paid. Everybody’s getting paid for doing these appearances. That’s been a real motivating factor.”
Tentatively set for future tapings are blues guitarist Selwyn Birchwood, a Beacon Dance show with Helen Hanson French and other performers, and a chamber music ensemble.
In other words, explains Wilborn, “a lot of the things we do in the nightclub. But I haven’t figured out how to do standup comedy with no audience. I don’t want to do a laugh track.”
The first installment, already in the can, put the spotlight on the quartet called The Seventh Avenue Picnic – including Wilborn himself on piano and vocals, guitarist Robin Sibucao on guitar and vocals, and their wives (Eugenie Bondurant and Sher Sibucao, respectively) on vocals.
Palladium Presents will be streamed via a small paywall. A full schedule will be announced shortly.
“I don’t know that we’ll make a ton of money on this thing, but it really helps us keep our name out there,” says Wilborn. “And I love what we’re getting, in terms of the video and audio quality.”