Magic doesn’t get much better organized than this!
I recently had the pleasure of performing at the legendary ‘Monday Night Magic’ in New York. What a pleasure it was to be incorporated into one of magic’s most successful events. I have been trying to include this event into my schedule for many years and finally the stars aligned perfectly.
An added bonus to my visit was that I got to stay with Peter Samelson, this was a two man magic convention all on it’s own. Peter is a really accomplished and thoughtful magician who is quite unique in the attention to detail and subtleties he brings to his art. I suspect we could have chatted magic for many more nights without any significant break in the conversation.
Peter picked me up on Sunday morning at Port Liberty cruise terminal in New Jersey, which was well beyond any call of duty. To pick up a disembarking passenger at this port requires, patience, dedication, several cell phones and a great deal of luck. Fortunately we seemed to be blessed with all the above.
I visited the ‘Magical Nights’ at the Legendary ‘Feinstein’s at Loews Regency’’ that first evening and got my first taste of the careful planning and minute attention to details that have made such a success of this event well as ‘Monday Night Magic.’ No wonder their success has been as extended and thorough as it has.
‘Feinstein’s’ boasted an audience as sophisticated as any I have ever seen. Neil Sedaka was in the audience with his grandchildren enjoying the perfect family entertainment. The pre-show close up by David Condon and Peter Samelson was superb, it was wonderful to see the process of table-to-table close up turned into an art form. In fact I couldn’t resist working a table or two myself and was delighted to find I hadn’t lost my touch at this delicate and delightful style of magic.
The stage show opened with the astounding sword swallowing of Todd Robbins. To be absolutely honest I didn’t quite believe it was all totally genuine or I might have been a lot less happy watching, being of a slightly squeamish nature! His dry humor added greatly to a unique performance. The headliner that night was Asi Wind who performed some highly original and totally baffling magic and mentalism, the show was very tightly constructed and the crowd loved it; so did I. The entire event was a home run!
The following day Peter took me to visit Charles Reynolds and his lovely wife Regina. We men happily talked magic while poor Regina was toiling away at the tax returns in a back room. It didn’t seem fair, but I suspect it is a scenario being enacted in many a magician’s home!
We then drove to the Bleecker Street Theatre for ‘Monday Night Magic’ and my part in the proceedings began. The theatre was just perfect for a magic show with not a bad seat in the house. The technical staff was not only helpful and friendly but also really great at their craft. It was a smooth, professional production that really showed of the performers at their best.
I certainly wasn’t surprised at the quality of the show, in fact by now I really expected it. The amount of phone calls and communication that goes on between the producers to ensure quality control and smooth sailing was astounding.
The show began at 8:00pm and was hosted by Todd who again showed his skill as both a performer and an M.C. He began by introducing David Oliver from Boston, whose comedy and magic struck a giant chord with the audience and he received a well-deserved ovation for his performance.
The fine comedy juggling of Michael Dubois closed out the first half of the show on a really high note. He is a performer who is going places—remember his name. During the evening Michael Chaut performed some top-notch close up, which had his audience amused, confused and amazed. Michael seems to have the highly desirable ability to combine the mind of a business and the sensibility of a fine performer, a very nice combination indeed. Michael was ably assisted in the close-up section of the show by the performances of David Condon and Prakash. The second half of the show consisted of yours truly, performing my stand-up comedy and sleight of hand magic show. I had a blast and the audience seemed to enjoy the proceedings as much as I did, which is saying a lot.
If this sounds like a rave review—it is! The brainchild of Michael Chaut and co-producers; Peter Samelson, Todd Robbins, Jamy Ian Swiss and Frank Brents, is something very special. Maybe it is because they are all such skilled performers themselves that they seem to instinctively understand the right moves. They collectively succeed in presenting magic as a true art form, sophisticated but friendly, and have created something very special.
If you are visiting New York and fail to visit these shows, you are missing the best that magic has to offer, both onstage and behind the scenes. Bravo to all concerned, I was proud and honored to be part of the proceedings.