Company: Knott’s Berry Farm
Company: Calico Saloon and Birdcage Theater
Pianist: Conrad Askland
Show Dates: Weekly 1994-1997
Number of Shows Performed: 650+
I had a blast playing old west and stride piano styles in the Calico Saloon at Knott’s Berry Farm. That was my main day gig for quite a while and we would usually do 5 shows a day. I also worked in the summer as a street pianist rolling my piano around the park and also did some fill-ins at the Birdcage Theater.
The Birdcage Theater was one of the longest running melodrama theaters in the United States at the time. I was one of the last piano players to play at the Birdcage Theater because it eventually closed to make way for new attractions. Many performers got their start at the Bird Cage theater including comedian Steve Martin, who I was told would play his banjo for guests during intermissions between shows.
Playing at Knott’s was a good education in traditional melodrama music, live improvisational theater piano playing and also good foot stomping stride piano.