Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Broadway's New Dimension - The Illusionists!

In 1974 a charming young entertainer named Doug Henning defied critics and traditionalists alike when he opened The Magic Show on Broadway with music by Stephen Schwartz and unrivaled feats of illusion and escape performed by Henning himself.

We were fortunate enough to experience Henning's performance and were not in the least bit surprised when his show proved to be an overwhelming success running on the Great White Way for four and a half years and earning a Tony Award for Henning himself.

Well, it's only taken 40 years but escapism, illusion and even card tricks are back on Broadway once again. But this time it's all wrapped in a bright, shimmering, fast-paced, hi-def, hi-tech package called The Illusionists and instead of one trickster at the center of the action we now have seven.

And this time, no one is calling it a magic show.

Because in 2014 we understand that this is all really an illusion and and we accept it for what it is. But, guess what? We still find it hard to figure our how all this is done, right before our eyes. We see it, we study it and we're still stumped. And thankfully, absolutely no on in The Illusionists is telling us how it's done or even giving us a hint. And that's just fine with us and the rest of the audience.

The Illusionists has gathered together the world's greatest masters of the art with one purpose only -- that we might bear witness to the impossible. And that's exactly what happens on stage at the magnificent Marquis Theater and even in the audience, especially when random audience members are called up to participate in the action.

The seven stars of the show, each a master in his own field, are:

· The Manipulator, Yu Ho-Jin. Considered a rising superstar in the world of magic; Yu Ho-Jin was recently named the 2014 “Magician of the Year,” by Academy of Magical Arts and was the first Asian to win the Grand Prix at the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques, also known as the “Olympics of Magic.”

· The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry. Described as Marilyn Manson meets David Copperfield, Dan combines the art of magic with the macabre and is one of the top-10 most Googled people, thanks to a legendary “America’s Got Talent” appearance.

· The Trickster, Jeff Hobson is the epitome of glamour and showmanship. Don’t be fooled by his innocent appearance; Jeff has audiences laughing long after the curtain goes down.

· The Escapologist, Andrew Basso. Italy’s star escape artist, Andrew considers Houdini his hero and is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular illusionists. He is the only person in the world to perform Houdini’s famous Water Torture Cell with absolutely no covers.

· The Inventor, Kevin James, known for innovative illusions, is an inventor, comedian and collector of the strange and unusual. Kevin is one of the most prolific inventors of magic in the world and has created some of the most celebrated illusions of the last century.

· The Warrior, Aaron Crow, a strong and silent type specializing in weapon magic, has mastered some of the most dangerous acts without saying a single word. Belgium’s international magic sensation, a first place finisher at the World Championships of Magic, he uses swords, paintball guns and powerful crossbows to keep fans on the edge of their seat.

· The Futurist, Adam Trent, shatters stereotypes and brings a new generation of magic to fans fusing technology illusions, dancing and comedy with classic techniques.

The Futurist uses a huge digital screen and a clear plastic attache case to step in and out of an imaginary world in a way that will have you scratching your head in wonderment. The Warrior does things with a bow and arrow that will cause you to worry about the fate of his audience participants. When he isn't plasying with fire, The Inventor has a penchant for bifurcating the human anatomy. The Esacpologist (from Italy!) will have you counting the seconds as he dangles in a vertical tower of water. The Anti-Conjurer seems creepy and bizarre but he's like an eccentric neighbor who enjoys playing with birds, both real and imaginary. The Manipulator will use his long, elegant fingers to defy sight and leave you wondering how something so seemingly simple as a card trick can be so incredible. And  The Inventor will keep you laughing and guessing as he moves the whole show along gleefully.

All together, it's a unique Broadway experience with wondrous sets, ingenious lighting, surprising  costumes and choreography, a cast of 18 and a killer band. And, one more thing: This is a show for the whole family. There's nothing here that will embarrass or offend but plenty to dazzle, defy and delight.

Yes, Broadway has come a long way since The Magic Show. And there's ample evidence of that in The Illusionists which is nothing less than a global phenomenon, proving that what we once used to call "magic" can be hip, hi-tech and happening all at the same time. It is a miracle of wizardry.

The Illusionists – Witness The ImpossibleTM plays a strictly limited six-week engagement through January 4, 2015 as part of a 30-city U.S. tour.

Tickets for The Illusionists – Witness The ImpossibleTM are on sale at

CURRENT TOUR DATES (more to come)
Broadway’s Marriott Marquis Theatre, November 26, 2014-January 4, 2015
Washington, DC – The Kennedy Center, January 6 – 11, 2015
Dayton, OH – Schuster Center, January 13 – 14, 2015
Providence, RI – Providence Performing Arts Center, January 16 – 18, 2015
Indianapolis, IN – Old National Centre, January 20 – 25, 2015
Charlotte, NC – Knight Theater, January 27 – February 1, 2015
Schenectady, NY – Proctors Theatre, February 17 – 22, 2015
Philadelphia, PA – Academy of Music, February 24 – March 1, 2015
Rochester, NY – RBTL’s Auditorium Theatre, March 3 – 5, 2015
Buffalo, NY – Shea’s Performing Arts Center, March 6 – 8, 2015
Chicago, IL – Cadillac Palace Theatre, March 10 – 22, 2015
St. Paul, MN – Ordway Center for the Performing Arts – March 24 – 29, 2015 Dallas, TX – Music Hall at Fair Park, April 7 – 19, 2015
Detroit, MI – Fisher Theatre, April 28 – May 10, 2015
Tampa, FL – Straz Center, May 26 – May 31, 2015
Houston, TX – Jones Hall, June 2 – 6, 2015
San Jose, CA – San Jose Center, June 9 – 14, 2015
Seattle, WA – The 5th Avenue Theatre, June 16 – 21, 2015
Salt Lake City, UT – Capitol Theatre, June 23 – 28, 2015

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