PractiCe, practice, practice may get you to Carnegie Hall, but escaping a set of giant metal jaws while dangling from his ankles and wearing a straightjacket got Darcy Oake to Broadway.
OK, it was off-Broadway, but suffice it to say the Winnipeg illusionist has been conjuring a lot of high-profile gigs since giving three performances of his first full-scale solo show at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre back in June.
At the beginning of August he was hired to take the spectacle to New York City for a six-week, 36-show run at Times Scare, a year-round horror-themed attraction located in Times Square.
"It's been a whirlwind. After the shows in Winnipeg everything just picked up and it's been going non-stop ever since," Oake, 25, says over the phone from Las Vegas.
Since Sept. 28, the award-winning magician has been doing six shows a night, six nights a week, at Circus Circus, a hotel and casino on the Las Vegas strip.
Oake is part of the spine-tingling action at Fright Dome, a five-acre haunted theme park that draws more than 60,000 visitors annually with its creepy storylines, "fog-filled attractions," multicoloured lasers and eerie sound effects and "roaming scare actors."
Considered one of the world's largest haunted attractions, Fright Dome has scared up such celebrities as David Copperfield and Michael Jackson. This year's celebrity guest is film director and godfather of zombie culture George A. Romero.
"It's been insane," says Oake, who is performing two different 15-minute shows pretty much back to back all night. "It's finish one, tear it down, set up the next, do it all over again. It's pretty tiring, but I'm by no means complaining."
Oake, who is the son of CBC sportscaster Scott Oake, comes home Nov. 1 and will rest up until around Christmas, when he heads out to sea to fulfil a contract to blow the minds of cruise-ship passengers.