Neil Patrick Harris to Bring New Magic to LA Stage

Inside Magic Image of 1900's Magic Kit Sold by F. W. Martin Co.Neil Patrick Harris apparently has a side job to supplement his Magic Castle work as President of the Academy of Magical Arts and a  top-rate magician. 

According to our sources, he is does some acting in local Los Angeles venues and some of the television stations that have network studios in the area. 

In fact, his acting is apparently so good that he won an "Emmy" Award — that's like television's version of the Magic Castle's Magician of the Year prize.  So, that's pretty impressive.  Perhaps Mr. Harris is recalling the words of Jean Robert-Houdin who opined "a magician is merely an actor playing the part of a magician." 

Nonetheless, it is always nice to have a hobby and we are happy Mr. Harris found a way to spend his time when not running the Magic Castle or performing for adoring fans. 

Our uncle Paw-Paw Lawton often quipped things in full sentences about magic when he was sober. (Actually, he was our "uncle-in-law" and even then the "in-law" part was tenuous.  His marriage to our great aunt Mary Hardy was annulled because of a previous and still valid marriage to the spirit of an androgynous silver miner who pre-deceased her own birth — but, that's another story).  He often said "A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician."  His quips were rarely original or even necessary but we imagine the great French conjuror must have found angelic delight in our relative's confirmation of his philosophy. 

But our point was this: Mr. Harris will be directing a magic show called “Nothing to Hide” starring sleight-of-hand artists Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimaraes in the beautiful Geffen Playhouse.

The Geffen Playhouse (named for Los Angeles favorite son David Playhouse) issued a press release warning attendees that “Nothing to Hide” will be different than a traditional magic show. 

We read this a couple of ways.  If they mean one of our typical magic shows we are relieved.  We would have to imagine it will be much different than one of our shows.  In fact, as we have testified under oath, we would never pay to see us perform and even if we did, we would demand our money back because we would either be working through the entire show or sitting in the seat waiting for the show to start.  Either way, it would not be our idea of fun.  Our idea of fun involves the delicious but rarely seen melange of slapstick and pre-revolutionary Russian literature interpreted by blindfolded marionette performers at Sea World.  Unexpected splashing makes us giggle without regret.

On the other paw, Mr. Harris' new show sounds like our idea of fun sans bumping puppets, spit-takes and pratfalls.  (We acknowledge the passing of the lead singer for the 1980's counter-culture acoustic disco house band, Bumping Puppets, Mary Knuckles).  


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Is Neil Patrick Harris Really One of Us?

Inside Magic Image of Neil Patrick Harris“Neil Patrick Harris, magician? And, president of the Academy of Magical Arts?” So begins the great profile piece on the actor in today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer .

That is the kind of question that piques our interest.

We follow magic closely and had noticed the former child star and now prominent force on stage, screen and television was appearing more frequently in magic related stories. The pattern we discerned over the last few years: when there was a magic related event in or around Los Angeles or Hollywood, Neil Patrick Harris was there.

It was starting to get eerie.

Our uncle was photographed at many suspicious building fires in and around the greater Mystic Hollow, Michigan area but that was because of his affection for “the glorious lover that is flame.” We were sure Neil Patrick Harris was not afflicted by the same sense of misguided and painful love as Roland “Flame” Hardy.

Perhaps he was working on a project that called for a magician’s touch. We dismissed this theory. Edward Norton (“The Illusionist”), Michael Cain (“The Prestige”), Anthony Hopkins (“Magic”) all starred in magic-oriented films but we never saw any of them attending functions usually reserved for the insiders.

His was one of the three individuals photographed for a 2009 article on The Magic Castle’s It’s Magic performance. (The other two were Lance Burton and Hannah Montana co-star Romi Dames). We don’t think the lovely Romi Dames is a magician so perhaps Neil Patrick Harris was appearing in his capacity as a star.

Neil Patrick Harris was also named in an article on the rededication of Houdini’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But again, he was not the focus of the story.

The mention comes about half-way through the Entertainment Today piece. “The bad boys of magic Penn and Teller were on hand for the ceremony, along with Neil Patrick Harris, Tippi Hedren, JoAnne Worley and Irene Larsen.”

Take a look at the article in the December 6, 2008 edition of Entertainment Today article here.

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Holingworth’s EXPERT Gets Boffo Reviews

Inside Magic Image of Guy Holingworth from Expert at the Card Table In its review of The Expert at the Card Table, LA Theater Review identifies Magician and British Barrister Guy Holingworth as both “suave and debonair.”

We certainly do not disagree but wondered if the statement should be considered “news.”  After all, it is well known that all intellectual property attorneys are by tradition always either suave or debonair; and a select few of us are both.

We read further into the expertly written essay and understood.  The theater critic was using what us professional writers call, “an introduction” or, as we say around the professional writers’ clubhouse, “an intro.”

But we are quick to protest — probably because we were conceived during some beatnik protest in the late 1950s — that Guy Holingworth needs no introduction. Magicians and magic fans know him well from his writing and performing neat effects with ordinary cards.

Then we read further into the review and realized the introduction was primarily for those unfamiliar with Guy Holingworth.  We calmed down, popped a Chocks and continued sounding out the words as quietly as possible lest we wake those around us in the Mystic Hollow Public Library.

Neil Patrick Harris directed Mr. Holingworth’s show based on 1902 classic The Expert at the Card Table. The critic then explains the rich history and intrigue surrounding the creation of S.W. Erdnase’s gift to future generations of knuckle-busting masochists and their ever-patient friends and family.

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