Look into the eyes of R-rated Hypnotist Frank Santos Jr.By ROB LEVEY
Special to the Union Leader February 15. 2017 1:02PM
If you go...WHO: R-Rated Hypnotist Frank Santos Jr.
WHERE: Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
INFO: palacetheatre.org; 668-5588
As a comic hypnotist, Frank Santos Jr. needs audience members to be more than faces in the crowd.
“The biggest challenge is getting volunteers,” he said of literally having to draw viewers into the show. “I need people on stage. I don’t have plants in the audience.”
With upcoming shows at the Palace Theatre in Manchester on Saturday, as well as at Rochester Opera House Friday, Feb. 24, and the Colonial Theatre in Keene at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 11, Santos hopes to leave New Hampshire mesmerized by his act.
The idea is that audience members themselves become stars of the show, many times with some unexpected dancing and singing.
But the interactive element of his shows, however, present some challenges, said Santos, who lives in Rhode Island. He never knows what to expect in any given town, which is why he tries to be especially funny in the beginning.
“I need to get people laughing and feeling comfortable,” he said.
As for the level of control he has over his audiences, Santos said his hypnotism isn’t as extreme as many people might think. He said the extent of his power of suggestion might last for an hour or up to a day.
“It’s not me controlling you,” he explained. “It is me relaxing you. You run the show and follow my suggestions.”
Performing throughout the United States for all kinds of audiences, including companies such as Google, Nike, CVS and Tyco, Santos has been featured several times on ABC.
But no two shows are alike, Santos said.
“I read the audience and base what I’m doing on their reactions,” he said. “Every show is different.”
In terms of the R-rated component of his shows, he said his adult shows differ from those he performs for family audiences by degrees of subtlety and nuance.
“I don’t swear on stage,” he said. “I can make adults feel romantic for each other or become sex experts. The subject matter is more adult than the language.”
He performs for about 150 audiences each year. Regardless of venue, he has one very simple objective in mind.
“I always like to make sure everyone is happy — the audience, the venue and everyone involved,” he said. “I really enjoy when people say it is the funniest thing they have ever seen and volunteers (say) they feel relaxed.”
Santos also enjoys hearing from people who made positive changes in their lives.
“I’ve had people say they have quit smoking or lost weight. That is really great to hear,” he said.
Santos is carrying on a family tradition, since his father, Frank Santos Sr., was the first “R-rated hypnotist” in the household. The elder Santos encouraged his son, then a college student, to become certified in the mid ‘90s. Upon receiving his certification, Santos Jr. said he unexpectedly had his first show shortly thereafter.
“My father told me, ‘By the way, you have a bachelor party lined up,’” he said. “He told me to see if I liked it. My father’s first show was a bachelor party, too.”
Santos eventually became as busy as his father, who died in 2009. He considers it an honor to refine and hone the same craft that defined his father.
“There is no end game with these shows,” he said. “It’s a process, and I want to continue to get better and perform at different and larger venues.”
In addition to Saturday’s show at The Palace Theatre in Manchester, Santos is scheduled to perform at the Rochester Opera House, 31 Wakefield St., at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, and The Colonial Theatre, 95 Main St., Keene, at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 11.
Tickets to the Rochester show are $24-$26.
To reach the box office, call 335-1992 or visit rochesteroperahouse.com.
Tickets to the Keene show are $25.50.
For additional details, call 352-2033 or visit thecolonial.org.