It was about 3:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday in early October. The weather was nice and sunny, as I walked out of the subway station and made my way down 54th, across Broadway, to Feinsteins 54 Below. I entered the building, rode the elevator up to join the cast and their team of creatives, and stepped back off the elevator to a peaceful, yet energetic calm. Jay was gluing on nails and reciting lines, while Amanda was prepping to get wigged, and Alison was painting her nails while finishing up some work on her computer, already in costume. The makeup team was prepping their next wave of makeup materials, “The book” was being mended, and DW was preparing for Jay to step into his fabulous costume and begin his transformation.
For the past 5 years, my very wonderful and talented friend has been producing his own show in New York City based on his favorite movie “Hocus Pocus”. It’s called Jay Armstrong Johnson’s : I Put A Spell On You, and each year the show has grown (in both talent, and audience attendance). Starting out at Feinsteins 54 Below, demand outgrew the space and the show moved to Le Poisson Rouge for the next two years. With plans of moving on to the next space, COVID struck, forcing the show to go virtual. But like any great artist, Jay and his team of creatives took this challenge and ran with it, creating an amazing “music video style” virtual theatrical experience, in which the Sanderson Sisters take you on their journey to find the children, calling upon their villain friends for help.
I have had the pleasure of being involved each year, and each year in a different way. From showing support as an audience member, helping run errands, preparing props, helping backstage, and even performing, this year I also had the pleasure of being behind the scenes as the cast and crew created, and re-created, some amazing music videos for this online version of the show.
Below you will see my time on set. DW getting our stars into costume, Kyle and his makeup team painting faces and providing touch-ups, and our three stars prepping and moving through the motions of filming they pieces as the Sanderson Sisters. Gavin Creel popped in with his calm and playful energy, for his role of Master, supported by the fabulous skeleton band, and director (cat) and videographer (Roberto) can be spotted having some skeleton fun between takes.
Having the opportunity to be behind the scenes capturing moments of those preparing, and performing, was such a gift. Moments like this spent with friends both old, and new, are truly moments to be cherished, and I am so grateful to Jay for letting me be a part of capturing the magic of this family he has created!
Now, if you have found yourself at the end of this post thinking “OMG, this looks amazing and I can’t believe I missed it!” – Have no fear! Jay Armstrong Johnson’s : I Put A Spell On You is sure to make it’s return this Halloween of 2022. You can follow Jay, Amanda, Allison or myself on instagram, and watch Playbill.com this fall for info on tickets as they become available!
BTS: Jay Armstrong Johnson’s I Put A Spell On You | New York, NY