Do you believe in magic?
Are you a card trick aficionado, or are levitating ladies and vanishing motorcycles more your thing?
Whatever gets your heart racing and leaves you scratching your head in wonder, there’s a good chance you’ll see it at the Masters of Illusion show at the Saenger Theatre on Oct. 11.
The show brings together several great magicians for one night, said award-winning magician Greg Gleason.
“There’s something for everybody, from comedy magic to the big grand illusions and everything in between. You’ll see some manipulation. Sometimes you’ll see mind reading … and it’s great for all ages,” said Gleason.
Comedy magician Farrell Dillon, Michael Turco, French illusionist Titou and Jonathan Pendragon, who has performed for the Queen of England, will join Gleason, who spends nine months a year on the road as it is, and who is happy to be touring with fellow magicians for a change.
“We’re in a different city every day. There’s so much work, but at least there are some friends there that we can have fun with and bounce ideas off of and get a chance to catch up. We don’t get to see each other very often because we’re out doing our own thing most of the time.”
One may wonder if this team of magicians, each of whom usually flies solo, ever step on each other’s toes.
“Not really because it’s so diverse, the group we’re working with … the producer, Gay Blackstone, comes from the Blackstone family of famous magicians. When she pairs us up, she really knows everybody’s strengths and takes what she wants us to do out of our repertoire.”
While Gleason describes himself as a “general practitioner of magic” in his solo shows, his role in this tour is as the heavy-hitter, pulling off illusions too grand to believe.
“There are different branches of magic, and I love every one. But for the Masters of Illusion tour I’m hired as the big illusionist, so I might be making a helicopter appear onstage.”
The idea for the live tour came from the ongoing TV series, “Masters of Illusion,” which Gleason has appeared on.
“This is my fourth tour with them … on the show, I’ve done four episodes. Actually, only three of them have aired. So the fourth one airs this Friday, and I’ll be doing my helicopter illusion this Friday. If they tune into that, they’ll get a preview of what they’ll see in our show.”
Gleason encourages fans of the TV show to see him and his other stars live onstage, since he feels that it is still the best way to experience magic.
“When people watch magic on TV they’re always like, ‘I wonder if that’s just trick photography, or CGI, or editing.’ When they see it live, it’s completely different.”
If you’re still not sold, consider this: Only live audience members have a chance to get pulled onstage and to become the star of the show for a few minutes.
“I did 9,000 shows at the MGM, and I had to use people from the audience for every single show. I got so good at knowing who to pull up onstage to make sure that the illusion will go off perfectly … and you have to pick the right person because there’s one part of my show where I bring someone onstage and they’re actually the star for three minutes.”
The variety of acts in the Masters of Illusion show exemplifies one of the biggest reasons why Gleason has stuck with magic all these years: There is always more to see and learn.
“There’s so much to it. There are so many fields of magic. Plus, I’m very creative so I’m constantly creating new illusions and magic, and I also do lectures to teach other magicians. It’s a great outlet for creativity. And, I’ve been to 84 countries and I’ve been paid to go to every one of them. I can’t ask for a better life.”