Wondershow hits Austin…..

IMG_1177Well to be honest the really big deal coming up in Austin, Texas is the mammoth South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) that is preparing to take over our idyllic little city, fill up our hotels, crowd our restaurants and make the freeways busier than ever! I am one of those jaded folks whose main goal is to miss all this additional excitement as much as possible. Of course I am also the guy who lived in Las Vegas and spent most of his time trying to avoid visiting the Strip.

There is however a rather nifty little magic touch being staged in the city during the craziness this year, and I am looking forward to attending it. On March 20th and 21st there will be two performances of Wondershow. What you may ask is Wondershow? I guess the easy answer is that it’s a modern vaudevillian show with an emphasis on the magic arts. It also features music, comedy, juggling and storytelling. The show is a hip update on a traditional format and promises to be a whole bunch of fun.

Producer Patrick Terry created the first of his acclaimed Wondershow productions in 2013 in New York City. It was very IMG_0781successful and for first time the production will be transplanted from the Big Apple. I suspect it will find a receptive home here on the “Third Coast” at the Vortex Theatre. Hey, our local creed is “Keep Austin Weird” and I think this hybrid variety show will do its bit to increase some of the weirdness factor.

I am particularly excited that the show stars one of my very favorite magicians Andrew Goldenhersh. If you have never seen Andrew perform you have missed a wonderful experience. I am firmly on record as hating straitjacket escapes—with the enthusiastic exception of the gloriously left field and brilliantly executed one that Goldenhersh performs! In fact to call it a straitjacket escape is to sell it as short as describing the Magic Castle as a magic club.

IMG_1173 - Version 2If you have never seen the award winning Andrew Goldenhersh in action then he is worth the price of admission to Wondershow all on his own to catch his performance.There are, however, other goodies to entice audiences to Wondershow this weekend. Also being imported for the event will be Marcus Monroe—a rock star amongst jugglers, and Vinny DePonto, an innovative conjuror hailed by the New York Daily News as “delightful and terrifying.” Producer/creator Patrick Terry will be hosting the event.

I suspect that the next Wondershow will be back in New York and if you miss seeing it in Austin then watch out for it when it is back on its home turf. It is always exciting to see magic finding new homes in theatres and showrooms across the country. The best way to spread the word about what great entertainment magic can be is to expose more lay people to it. I applaud everyone for doing his or her bit towards this end.

In recent years Los Angeles has been the home to many creative and highly successful theatrical magic events. It is refreshing to see the scope and nature of the events being offered to show goers. Not withstanding the incredible success of full blown productions like “The Illusionists” and “Masters of Illusion,” it is heartening to note that lay audiences are no longer locked into the biggest is best philosophy that once dominated magic shows. I think we all have a lot to thank Ricky Jay (not to mention his 52 assistants) for in this regard. Thank you Ricky.

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~ by Nick Lewin on March 19, 2015.

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