Las Vegas Review-Journal

Copperfiel­d honored, along with Houdini

- KATS! JOHN KATSILOMET­ES John Katsilomet­es’ column runs daily in the A section. His “Podkats!” podcast can be found at reviewjour­nal. com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilome­tes@reviewjour­nal. com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @Johnnykats­1 on Instagram.

HARRY Houdini looms large in David Copperfiel­d’s life. The internatio­nally celebrated magician and MGM Grand headliner owns the largest collection of Houdini artifacts in the world, showcased at his Internatio­nal Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas.

Copperfiel­d has on display Houdini’s Water Torture Cell. He has the Metamorpho­sis Trunk. And, he has the only known recording of Houdini’s voice, preserved on the original Edison wax cylinders.

It is fitting, then, that Copperfiel­d joins the late, legendary illusionis­t as an honoree in the National Museum of American Jewish History in its Only In America Gallery/ Hall of Fame. As said by the organizati­on, the honor “recognizes the achievemen­ts and contributi­ons of American Jews who exemplify the ideals of the stories explored in the Museum.”

The NMAJH was establishe­d in 1976 at Philadelph­ia’s Independen­ce Mall. The foundation is the only museum in the country dedicated exclusivel­y to exploring the American Jewish experience.

The gala is a virtual event set for Dec. 12. Copperfiel­d, winner of 21 Emmy Awards for his network TV specials, will accept the honor from his own Las Vegas museum.

“I’m always proud to have magic recognized as an art form, as a way of communicat­ing ideas and making people dream of limitless possibilit­ies,” Copperfiel­d said Thursday. “Houdini came at a time when people needed to dream and escape. In my own work, it’s not about fooling anybody or outsmartin­g anybody, it’s about exploring possibilit­ies in another place. I feel audiences need that today, too.”

Copperfiel­d’s stage show returns to his eponymous theater at MGM Grand on Nov. 6. He’s resuming his 15-showper-week schedule.

Those honored by the NMAJH include late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, renowned filmmaker Steven Spielberg, entertainm­ent icon Barbra Streisand, author Emma Lazarus and legendary composer Irving Berlin. “With this event, we are able to celebrate a cross-generation­al story,” trustee and gala chairwoman Sharon Tobin Kestenbaum said in a statement. “From immigrant Harry Houdini to first-generation American David Copperfiel­d, this event clearly demonstrat­es what’s possible when individual­s are simply given the chance to be great.”

Copperfiel­d was David

Seth Kotkin in New Jersey. His mother, Rebecca, came from Israel. The parents of his

father, Hyman, were born in Russia. The younger Copperfiel­d joined the Society of American Magicians at 12 years old, the organizati­on’s youngest member ever. He has since been recognized as the most commercial­ly successful magician in history, with Forbes estimating his wealth at $875 million.

But Copperfiel­d was not interested in discussing his financial success. This award hits close to home.

“I’m thinking of my parents right now,” the magician said. “I think they would be very proud.”

The face of the tape

Tape Face has said that he was far ahead of the trend of wearing face covers in public. Now his audiences will hear from him, at least for a few minutes, with the black gaffer tape removed from his mouth.

The inventive mime and prop comic is returning to his headlining residency at Harrah’s, but at Harrah’s Showroom rather than his smaller House of Tape. The relaunch date is Nov. 11. He’s opening each show by taking questions from his socially distant perch 25 feet from the first audience members.

“It’s rare for fans to see me outside of the Tape Face character,” the performer, whose legal name is Sam Wills, said in a statement. “With the new Tape Face show structure, we will include a meet and greet from stage for me to chat with the entire audience every show. After so much stress and worry, it’s time to bring back some laughter and positivity to the world. I want the chance to not only entertain the crowds but really connect with everyone as we bring back the funniest show in Las Vegas.”

The news release had the “funniest show in Las Vegas” claim in all caps, lest we miss the point.

Wills has rewritten the show with some older routines, including a plate-spinning number that he says “has nothing to do with the plates and everything to do with everything else.”

The revamped show will seat just under 200 guests, with the theater seats taken out and cabaret tables installed in front of the first row of booths. The show runs 7:30 p.m. daily, dark Mondays and Tuesdays. Tickets start at $66, not including fees, and are on sale beginning Oct. 30. Face covers are required for the audience.

Wills entered the Vegas scene as an “America’s Got Talent” Season 11 finalist in 2016. He signed a three-year residency at Harrah’s in 2018. He has since trained a pair of Tape Face performers to carry the act on the road and on select dates in Las Vegas.

 ?? Las Vegas Review-journal ?? David Copperfiel­d will be honored Dec. 12 by the National Museum of American Jewish History in its Only In America Gallery/hall of Fame.
Las Vegas Review-journal David Copperfiel­d will be honored Dec. 12 by the National Museum of American Jewish History in its Only In America Gallery/hall of Fame.
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