The Magic Show: Forty Years Later
By John Harrison and Alan Howard
May 1974 saw the opening of a Broadway show that changed the face of magic. Our multipart tribute includes:
The Show — A synopsis of the plot and events in the show.
Concept to Curtain — The story of the show and its creators, and how they ended up on Broadway.
Stephen Schwartz on The Magic Show — An interview with the famed composer and lyricist.
On and Off the Road — The touring companies, the international editions, Broadway after Henning, and the movie.
Legacy — The pivotal role that The Magic Show played in magic history.
A Conversation on Character, Part II
Rob Zabrecky moderated a panel discussion at the Magic Castle on various aspects of creating and performing magic in character, interviewing Ed Alonzo, Tina Lenert, John Lovick, and Woody Pittman — all of whom did not necessarily have similar opinions on the subjects. This edited transcript of the evening continues from Part I last month.
By Jaq Greenspon
He enjoys a successful career, having sold out large performing arts centers with his full-evening show; he starred on magic television specials and won awards at magic conventions. While you might not yet know Reynold Alexander, most people in his part of the world don’t think of him as a Puerto Rican magician — he is the Puerto Rican magician.
Plus Updates on...
• The 4th International Magic Festival in Madrid, Spain
• The 33rd New England Magic Convention
• Remembrances of Richard De Vere, Montecore, Rod Starr, Mark Stock, Kenny Brown, and Mickey Rooney
Bonus Content for the May Issue...
• Doug Henning, In His Words — a 25-minute excerpt from his very last interview, conducted by David Charvet
• Doug Henning’s seven-minute opening number from the film version of The Magic Show
• Chad Long explaining Pen-Thru-Looking-Glass, a penetrating vanish
• Gregory Wilson explaining Ring Fright, catching a ring on his finger
• Convention Podcasts: Florida State Magic Convention, IBM/SAM Combined Convention, MagiCelebration, Abbott Magic Get-Together, and Magic & Meaning Conference
Sixteen products are reviewed this month by Peter Duffie, Gabe Fajuri, Jared Brandon Kopf, Francis Menotti:
The 100th Monkey by Chris Philpott
Psycho Quiz Prediction by Anthony Owen
The Egg Bag with Luis de Matos
Magic Potato Chip Can by Imagine-If
52 Shades of Red by Shin Lim
The Switch by Shin Lim
Frame by Alexis de la Fuente
The Magic of Celebrating Illusion by Robert Neale
M-Case by Mickael Chatelain
The Stessel Button by John Stessel
Simplex Monte by Rob Bromley
Quality Magic by Okito
Vanishing Pen by SansMinds
Vapr by Will Tsai and SansMinds Magic
Radioactive by Drusko and Titanas
Modern ESP by SansMinds
The Monk’s Way: What is Magic to You?
What is magic to you? Is it a profession, hobby, or distraction? Whatever it is, it’s one thing to all: a performing art. Whether you perform for a paying audience, your mirror, the gang at work, or your dog, one thing is sure: without that feedback (arf!) it is just an abstraction. The performance is where substantial learning happens. But ask yourself what kind and quality of answers the mirror or dog can provide. There are questions that can only be answered in interactive real-world activity with other human beings. And let’s look at how the answers to some of these questions can be put into practice, since all theory should result in action.
Flashback: Inside Out
When I officiated “Inside Out,” three or four items were explained each month, which adds up to about 36 to 48 items yearly. During my tenure, over 300 tricks were explained. Over 300 “seeds” were sown. Looking back over these seeds, it’s uplifting to note how many remain timely and commercially applicable. This “Flashback” features creations by Chad Long, Gregory Wilson, and the late Johnny Paul, reminding us that many of the tricks in a magazine’s “morgue” are very much alive. These three items are still viable, waiting for readers to reanimate them and make them their own.
Loving Mentalism: Tarot Twofer
One of the perks of mentalism is taking credit for miracles that we haven’t actually performed — and probably wouldn’t be able to. Audiences are very good at misremembering magic effects in such a way that the trick they think they saw is far more impressive than the one we actually performed. This month’s “Loving Mentalism” offering is specifically engineered to exploit this fact. You’ll get the credit and applause for somehow knowing the identity of a thought-of tarot card selected under “test conditions” (no stack, no force or control). In reality, you neither knew nor cared what it was!
Bent on Deception: An Accident Waiting to Happen? No Problem!
My secret passion is the Container Store. If you don’t have one near you, you should seriously consider moving. For those of you who don’t know what it is, the name literally says it all. It’s nothing but aisles and aisles of containers of all shapes and sizes to help keep things organized. The Container Store hasn’t really helped me get my life organized. Just a quick look at my office, basement, and garage will confirm that. But over the years, I’ve found lots of great props to help my magic, cases that are just the right size to protect specific props, and ways to make travel a little easier. Mostly, though, I’ve become fascinated with containers, especially tiny ones. And that fascination has helped fuel another obsession: my car emergency kit.
Classic Correspondence: Cecil Lyle to John Mulholland
Cecil Lyle has been called the last of the great touring illusionists, having wrung the last bit of life out of Britain’s music halls, working up until his death in 1955. Though he never brought his show to America, he and his wife, Lucille, visited the States twice. On both occasions, they spent time with John Mulholland, who served as editor of The Sphinx. John had inquired in a previous letter if Lyle might like to submit an article for the fiftieth anniversary issue that was still a year away. Lyle was flattered by his friend’s request and typed this response onto two sheets of his attractive letterhead.
For What It’s Worth: Stage Sex
Every performer has his/her/whatever sexual vibe. We like to think our sex vibe is just something that emanates from our natural being. Manipulation acts usually like to think that they emanate a subtle, simmering sensuality. Illusionists might go more for the power play. Close-up guys usually go for hip. Comedy magicians — usually go for breakfast at Denny’s.
Walkabout Soup: The People’s Magic Competition
Magic competitions are odd things. I’ve entered a lot of them, won a few, and in the past few years I’ve started to get asked to judge them. There are a lot of good reasons for magic competitions to exist, many of which I’ve hugely benefited from myself. They give an incentive to develop and polish new material, provide performance experience and stage time, and let up-and-comers showcase their work. They can also result in award-winning acts that are a little — strange.