‘The Illusionists’ to reappear like magic on Broadway
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.”
In this image released by DKC Public Relations, Adam Trent, whose stage name is The Futurist, performs in “The Illusionists,” in New York.