It’s Magic! Coming to Sacramento

When wIt's Magice visit the Magic Castle, we notice the great posters advertising It’s Magic! through the years.  They line the Parlor of Prestidigitation boasting amazing performers.

Imagine our excitement — unless you have other things you wish to imagine — to read that It’s Magic! is alive and has announced its dates for the Harris Center for the Arts in the Sacramento area.

We read this press release and pass it along for all of our loyal reader(s).

It’s Magic! is in its 59th year; each season presenting the world’s top magic and variety performers in a production designed for the entire family. Stars from all corners of the globe including Las Vegas, Europe, Asia and Hollywood’s Magic Castle dazzle audiences with their amazing acts. The Los Angeles Times calls It’s Magic! “…a must for magic buffs of all ages!”

It’s Magic! has two performances on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 2 pm and 6 pm. Tickets are priced at $21-$34; Premium $45. Tickets are available online at www.harriscenter.net or from the Harris Center Ticket Office at 916-608-6888 from 10 am to 6 pm, Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, CA, facing East Bidwell Street.

This live stage show is unique in that it features many of the top professional magicians worldwide, with each act carefully selected to represent the variety of the art of magic. Many of these performers are internationally recognized award-winners, direct from exotic showrooms around the world as well as Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle. Parents who came to see It’s Magic! as youngsters are now bringing their children and grand­children to see this amazing line-up of famous magicians.

The tradition of an all-star magic show started in 1956 when two young entrepreneurs, Milt Larsen and Oliver Berliner, produced a show called Hocus Pocus ’56 at the magnificent (now demolished) Carthay Circle Theater in West Los Angeles. The following year, the show was renamed It’s Magic! and moved to the 1300 seat Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles’ swank Hancock Park area.

At first, the shows played for a very limited time only. However, as the number of fans grew, the number of performances was expanded. The success of It’s Magic! proved there was a genuine interest in the ancient art form of magic. This, in turn, gave Larsen the idea of forming a full-time private club for magicians and magic enthusiasts. Thus was born the Magic Castle, which opened its doors in 1963. Many credit this show as the spark that rekindled the resurgence of the art of magic in America.

In 1965 Milt produced It’s Magic! as a solo venture with his brother Bill as Associate Producer. It’s Magic! then moved to the Variety Arts Theater in downtown Los Angeles in 1977 and played annually until the mid­eighties. Since its inception, Southern California audiences were treated to such legendary magicians as Harry Blackstone (senior and junior), John Calvert, Senor Wences, Richiardi, Chang, Mark Wilson, Frakson, Tenkai and Dai Vernon. The show also provided the springboard for newcomers like Lance Burton, Mark Kalin, Shimada, The Pendragons and Harry Anderson, all of whom have since become stars.

This year’s lineup features magicians Danny Cole, who was named the Rising Star of Magic by World Magic Awards (1999), Mystina, a British magician who incorporates dancing and gymnatics in her breathtaking illusions, and Tom Ogden, a family friendly magician who has performed for celebrities and politicians from Johnny Depp to President Ronald Reagan. Also featured are Alex Ramon, the first magician to grace The Greatest Show on Earth Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Zing Zang Zoom, juggling extraordinaire Dan Raspyni, and more – each carefully selected to show the many nuances and artfulness of magic.

 

Alex Ramon is No David Copperfield – And That’s a Good Thing

Alex RamonAlex Ramon is no David Copperfield.

And that is a good thing.

We love David Copperfield but loathe magicians – young and old – who do their version of Mr. Copperfield’s act.

Some just borrow his music, patter or effects and put some of their own spin into the mix.  Others steal the music, patter and effects and add nothing.

We have seen Origami and Twister performed across the country – often to the identical music used by Mr. Copperfield.  No matter how good the imitators are, they are still not the real thing.  Sometimes they are interesting to watch and other times they are annoying or sad.

We saw Alex Ramon and his lovely assistant Megan Doyle take the Palace of Mystery stage at The Magic Castle Monday night and were surprised and delighted.  We assumed the worst, though.

Here is a young illusionist with a good reputation within the magic community.  We knew of him but had never seen him.  We hoped he would not be a David Copperfield Knock-Off guy.  Or, if he was going to knock off Mr. Copperfield, he would do so in a unique way.

Our fears were unfounded.  Mr. Ramon and Ms. Doyle are their own people and they have put out a show that is thoroughly their own.

They are a wonderful team and work so well together.  Ms. Doyle is not merely a prop but appears to be a full partner in the act.  Mr. Ramon’s energy and enthusiasm is evident from the opening levitation, through his card manipulation routine, audience participation bit and big finale.  The audience – a good mix of lay and magic folks – loved it.

For the magicians in the audience, Mr. Ramon offered a set of illusions that were certainly not the common Copperfield Knock-Off fare.  His opening levitation was tight and powerful and featured several mini-crescendos along the way to the big pay-off.  His sawing a woman in half was done without boxes (thin or otherwise) under seemingly impossible conditions.  Ms. Doyle was curled within a small metal cage assembled around her tiny frame before a sinister blade was brought down through her.  Amazing stuff.

Mr. Ramon stepped way out of the realm of typical with his presentation of a vanishing light bulb.  The routine was perfectly scripted and wonderfully done.  Magicians and magic history students should see Mr. Ramon perform if only for this one effect.  Great principle performed perfectly.

There are times when David Copperfield imitators will end their routine with the question, “Would you like to see one more?” and we think – but do not say out loud because that would be rude and weird and we assume the question is rhetorical – “no, thank you.”

Mr. Ramon asked the question before his sub-trunk finale and we wanted to respond verbally, “heck yes, thank you, please!”  But we didn’t because that would still be weird – although not rude.

We had not seen Mr. Ramon perform before but will return to The Magic Castle at least two more times this week to enjoy the show again.  It was that good.

Inside Magic Review: Five out of Five – Our Highest!