Monday, December 08, 2014

Broadway Magic

Whoever decided to include a Broadway stop on The Illusionists--Witness The Impossible tour is pretty smart. It's in town through January 4 and though it's not exactly a holiday show, it is sure to attract an international audience, especially with its location at the Marriott Marquis Theatre. And there is even snow.
The Illusionists is a group of seven charismatic magicians with very different talents and styles. They are Yu Ho-Jin (The Manipulator), Dan Sperry (The Anti-Conjuror), Jeff Hobson (The Trickster), Andrew Basso (The Escapologist), Kevin James (The Inventor), Aaron Crow (The Warrior), and Adam Trent (The Futurist). 

After a bit of warming up from Trent, there is an overblown opening number with dance, smoke, costume changes, and a moving train. The problem is that audiences can see that kind of illusion in almost any Broadway musical. More impressive are the smaller, quieter moments, like 2014 Magician of the Year Ho-Jin's ability to make cards appear out of nowhere and change colors. It's the type of trick that makes you wonder, "How did he do that?" and isn't that what magic is all about?
Other highlights are Basso's escape from a tank of water while handcuffed and Sperry's manic technique while performing with birds and terrifying an audience member.

Yes, there is a lot of audience participation, especially in Hobson's and Trent's acts. Sometimes they ask for a volunteer and sometimes they choose, so no one is safe. But if you've always wanted to be in a Broadway show, this might be your chance.