‘The Il­lu­sion­ists’ to reap­pear like magic on Broad­way

The China Post - - ARTS - BY MARK KENNEDY

The magic su­per group “The Il­lu­sion­ists” will — poof! — reap­pear on Broad­way this fall.

Pro­ducer Si­mon Pain­ter said the new edi­tion of the tour­ing show will in­clude three new ma­gi­cians and ups “the ante in terms of dan­ger.” It will play the Neil Si­mon Theatre, New York City from Nov. 19-Jan. 3.

The lineup will in­clude four re­turn­ing per­form­ers: “The Ma­nip­u­la­tor” Yu Ho-Jin, named the 2014 Ma­gi­cian of the Year; campy ma­gi­cian Jeff Hob­son known as “The Trick­ster”; “The Anti- Con­jurer” Dan Sperry, whose macabre show of­ten fea­tures spin­ning blades; and Adam Trent, nick­named “The Fu­tur­ist,” who fo­cuses on tech­nol­o­gy­based il­lu­sions.

The three new per­form­ers are shadow pup­pet and ven­tril­o­quist pro “The Unusu­al­ist” Ray­mond Crowe, es­cape artist and knife thrower “The Dare­devil” Jonathan Good­win, and “The De­cep­tion­ist” James More, who does deathde­fy­ing il­lu­sions.

“There’s some­thing for ev­ery­body,” said Pain­ter. “I think we have an in­cred­i­bly well-bal­anced show this year. Each per­son ap­peals to a dif­fer­ent kind of au­di­ence.”

Tick­ets go on sale June 29, although Amer­i­can Ex­press card mem­bers can buy them be­gin­ning Tues­day.

Hob­son, a card and com­edy spe­cial­ist from Detroit, said he never imag­ined he’d end up do­ing tricks on Broad­way. “It was quite a slow sink­ing in of, ‘Oh my God! I think this is another bucket list thing,’” he said.

Last year, when The Il­lu­sion­ists’ “Wit­ness the Im­pos­si­ble” ver­sion came to New York, it was the first time in al­most 20 years that a magic show played Broad­way. Now, Penn & Teller have also ar­rived.

Hob­son said magic’s pro­file — long sad­dled with a stale, ho­cus­pocus im­age — has risen in the past few years thanks to the In­ter­net and TV shows like “Amer­ica’s Got Tal­ent.”

“The public’s go­ing, ‘ Gosh, this is won­der­ful. I didn’t know how great and fun magic could be.’” He said. “We’re back in vogue again. Magic’s cool.”

Pain­ter said he hopes to make the show an an­nual tra­di­tion, a sort of al­ter­na­tive hol­i­day pro­gram­ing for the whole fam­ily. “It’s a mag­i­cal time of year,” he said. “It sounds so cliche and cheesy but it’s a time of year we just want to sit back and be en­ter­tained.”

Dur­ing their last stint, The Il­lu­sion­ists took in more than US$8.1 mil­lion dur­ing their sixweek Broad­way en­gage­ment and re­couped in just over three weeks, set­ting a new weekly gross for the Mar­quis Theatre along the way.

“I think it’s just great that there’s magic back on Broad­way,” said Pain­ter, who is a Penn & Teller fan. “It’s great to know that the art form is be­ing pushed for­ward all the time.”

AP

In this im­age re­leased by DKC Public Re­la­tions, Adam Trent, whose stage name is The Fu­tur­ist, per­forms in “The Il­lu­sion­ists,” in New York.

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