Back for more: Deuces Wild returns to Holmes
It was two years ago, in January 2008, that the Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos show made its debut at Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre.
Tomorrow night, they're coming back for an encore.
"We had so much fun last time -- how could we not come back?" said Ted Manderfeld, who has been David Eicholz' partner in the traveling music/comedy show for eight years now.
Though the format of Thursday's show is similar to what audiences at the Holmes Theatre saw two years ago, Manderfeld promised that those who come back a second time will find something new to enjoy.
"There's lots of stuff we didn't do (last time)," he said. "We are constantly refining our show, adding and changing things...to come back, even a year later, and have 60 to 70 percent new material is very common for us."
Part of the reason for that, Manderfeld added, is because there are large parts of their show that are completely spontaneous.
"There are some things that we have prepared beforehand, but this is not the type of gig you can plan in advance, because so much stuff happens in the moment," he explained. "I've been doing this for eight years, and in eight years, we've never rehearsed... Every night's performance is a rehearsal -- and it's also a showcase for the next people that want to hire us."
The duo does roughly 130 shows a year, "depending on how much we want to work," Manderfeld added. "We've been very fortunate to find ourselves really busy, even in these tough times."
His partner feels the same way. Though he gets a little tired of spending long hours on the road, traveling from one gig to the next, the performing itself never gets old.
"It's always exciting just to walk on stage and have people smile and laugh, even if it's just for a couple of hours," Eicholz said. "It keeps us going the rest of the day, and the rest of the week."
As for the music used in the show, Manderfeld said, they like to include a little bit of everything, from old school pop standards to tunes you might hear on top 40 radio.
"Beyonce's got nothing on me," he joked, adding, "I sing better and I dance better."
Manderfeld also promises that most of the tunes will be familiar enough for the audience to sing along -- in fact, audience interaction is a big part of the show, he added.
Though smiling, clapping, and even singing along are encouraged, Eicholz said, there is one form of audience participation that is not.
"I'm tired of texters," he warned. "If you're texting during the show, we'll find you."
The duo may even ask the audience member to share their text with the room at large, and there may or may not be some form of mockery involved -- so texters, consider yourselves warned.
Eicholz didn't know Manderfeld at all when he auditioned for the show eight years ago -- but that quickly changed.
"Ted auditioned over and over, he stalked me, he moved to my town, he ate my food -- he still does -- and by the end of the audition process, he knew the show, because he'd been to every one," said Eicholz.
Though both men are married (Eicholz also has kids at home), their families rarely accompany them on the road. Fortunately, they get along well enough that spending so much time on the road together has yet to cause a problem, Manderfeld said.
"We've done over 1,000 shows together," he added. "We've only known each other through this show, but in the process (of performing together), we've become best friends."
The Deuces Wild Dueling Pianos show gets underway this Thursday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the show are $26 for adults, $13 for students, and can be purchased at the Holmes Theatre Box Office, by phone at 218-844-SHOW (7469) or online at www.dlccc.org.