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Confetti: Magic's Act for the Music Center Photo by Craig T. Mathew for The Music Center

Confetti: Magic's Act for the Music Center

Corporate Magic Helps L.A.'s Music Center Celebrate its 50th Anniversary

Dealing with a supremely talented artist can be a big challenge for an event production team. But how about dealing with four supremely talented ensembles for a once-in-a-lifetime gala?

This was the challenge facing Dallas-based Corporate Magic in November, when the company was brought onboard to create the 50th anniversary celebration of the Los Angeles Music Center. This two-day extravaganza welcome both longtime and new supporters to one of the cultural jewels in L.A. The event showcased the four resident companies at the Music Center: the Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Philharmonic, L.A. Opera and Los Angeles Master Chorale.

The 50th celebration comprised three events: a concert for 3,000 guests followed by a gala dinner for 1,500. The next day brought the "Next 50" party--a celebration for some 600 guests designed to win over the next generation of Music Center supporters.

A highlight of the concert was the "mash-up" motif suggested by Corporate Magic. "For example, the LA Master Chorale singing with the LA Opera, the theater group performing with the LA Phil," says Corporate Magic senior creative director Stephen Dahlem. "The only time we got any pushback was when we were questioned about how much time each performance would get. Once we allayed the fears that everyone would get equal time and billing, everyone relaxed and worked well with us."

The team pulled the events off despite a painfully short lead time. "Essentially, we had to strike the opera, bring our sets in, light it using mainly what the opera had but adding more, and do it all without disturbing the opera’s setup," Dahlem says. "Then we had to strike it again and set up the bar and food onstage for the Next 50 event, then get off and re-load the opera. All this took place within five days, two days from opera to first performance, a day and half of rehearsal, and no time for error. Every department--from video to sound to lighting to the performers--came together under very difficult circumstances to create an amazing event."

In a town full of talented events companies, why did Texas-based Corporate Magic win the bid? "Coming in as 'outsiders' gave us a different perspective and, since we had no existing relationship with any of the resident companies or their chairpersons, we were able to overcome any lingering concerns that one company would get preferential treatment," Dahlem explains. The result: a consummate performance.

Corporate Magic 1925 Cedar Springs, Dallas, TX 75201; 800/275-7026;

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