MASTERS OF ILLUSION

Now You See It, Now You Don't!

2012-09-21T00:00:00Z 2012-09-22T00:44:04Z Now You See It, Now You Don't!Tom Lounges Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
September 21, 2012 12:00 am  • 

MAGIC! Whether it's a tale about old Merlin of Camelot or the saga of young Harry Potter, magic has always fascinated and entertained. The art of making people disbelieve their own eyes is as old as the ages and fresh as the next blockbuster Hollywood movie.

It’s an art being brought live to the stage Saturday at Merrillville’s Star Plaza Theatre by five true “Masters of Illusion,” promising an enriching evening of levitating, fire, straightjackets, dismemberment, and beautiful women, sprinkled generously with comedy, music and plenty of old-fashioned show biz razzle dazzle.

It’s a production so large it takes 25 people and two solidly packed 18-wheel semi-trucks of props and sets to bring this spectacle of magic to life each night. “This is a really big show,” said Farrell Dillion, a Los Angeles performer who mixes comedy and juggling with his sleight-of-hand style of magic.

Each of the five entertainers – Farrell Dillion, Darren Romeo, James Brandon, Michael Giles and Angela Nicole – are among the top stars of magic today. Each bring a unique and different skill set to the stage during their respective 20-minute performances, so the show is very balanced and varied with no repeats.

“Each person on this tour has been hand selected because they each bring something different to the world of magic that we are inviting people into

at our shows,” added Farrell. “My job is to amaze the audience but also

to make them laugh. I do a kind of magic called ‘manipulation’ and I promise you won’t want to take your eyes off stage for a second.”

One illusion quickly dispelled while doing interviews for this article, was the popular belief magicians are anti-social beings who never mingle for fear of someone discovering their trademark “secrets.”

“It’s not uncommon for large groups of us to get together at magic conventions to hang out, socialize and entertain each other with magic,”

explained James Brandon. “But in the general public, it’s true we always tended to work alone and carve out our own niche and our own show. Until the idea for this live tour (now in its second season) was born at the ‘World Magic Awards,’ which is sort of the Academy Awards of Magic. Someone came up with the idea of getting all the award-winning magicians together to do a show for the general public. It worked on the “Masters Of Illusion” television show and it works really well on tour (which runs through August 2013 and travels to eight countries outside of the U.S.).”

The “Masters of Illusion” TV series produced by Associated Television International (ATI), began in 1994 and over the years aired on NBC, PAX and FOX. A newly re-developed and re-invented 22-hour “Masters of Illusion”

series is currently in the works.

“There’s really nothing like seeing a live magic show,” continued Brandon, who credits his older sister for starting his career with a magic kit on his ninth birthday. His father being a professional folk singer and his mother a June Taylor Dancer on “The Jackie Gleason Show,” Brandon said entertaining is in his blood and since early childhood has loved the roar of a live audience, which this master of large illusions hears when he climbs out of his own body, and makes girls appear out of nowhere.

Like Brandon, Dillion began his career in his pre-teens. “Magic was the only thing I found I was good at as a kid,” he said. “I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I’m not a sports star, but I CAN do magic tricks. Magic was something that made me unique. I was lucky to find something that I loved and that I could do well when I was so young. Magic has its own culture and history. I just found it fascinating and I still do.”

“Like a lot of kids, I was always looking for attention,” said Brandon. “Doing magic got me that attention in a very positive way. The more practiced I was and the more work I put into it, the more people paid attention to me. Getting that immediate positive reinforcement kept the train rolling and brought me to this amazing career that has taken me all over the world (including a Command Performance for the Royal Family of Monaco in Monte

Carlo) and now brings me to the Star Plaza.”

The real magic of “magic” is the mystery of how even in this enlightened era of mind-numbing technology and the modern miracles of science; watching a magician saw a living person in half, levitate objects, pull animals out of hats, and escape from small boxes while chained and handcuffed, can still take the public’s collective breath away and make heads shake in wonderment and disbelief.

The very “best of the best” from the world of magic will delight by doing just those kinds of astounding feats when the curtain opens Saturday in

Merrillville for “Masters Of Illusion Live!”

Email Tom Lounges at: beatboss@aol.com

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