If there’s a trick to being the future of magic, Adam Trent has figured it out. Unlike most magicians, however, he’s willing to spill the secret. No matter how cutting-edge your illusions, they’re worthless unless they can inspire that most ancient of emotions — wonder.
Adam Trent brings his unique blend of high-tech illusions, dance moves and good old-fashioned showmanship to the Saenger Theatre Thursday. His affable persona and high-energy dance routines create a show that forgoes the murky mystery of magicians past in favor of something brighter and lighter.
“Certainly, my show has technology and comedy, but if I were to sum it up in one word it would be ‘fun,'" Trent said. "Every time I’m out in the audience to get a volunteer, I’m dancing through the audience, and everyone’s clapping along and having fun.”
The dancing in Trent’s act was inspired by a crisis moment early in his career, when he was informed that he would somehow need to stretch a 10-minute middle school gig into an hourlong show.
“I took these different things — dancing and music and whatnot — and put them all together just to fill time. What I found was that the kids were screaming and going nuts as much for the music and dancing as they were for the magic … . So even as I gained more magic material, I kept those elements in.”
Trent’s high-energy and friendly performance style lends a more human touch to the high-tech elements of his show, which often defy understanding.
“For those acts, I don’t think the audience understands the technology exactly, but they understand the effect. I’ll jump up in the air and float, then drop down and burst into particles … . I guess the best way to explain it is that it’s movie special effects done live.”
No special effect is more impressive or unique than Trent’s hologram illusions, which are especially difficult to execute as part of a touring show.
“As far as I know, we’re one of the only — if not the only — touring show that does this because of how complicated it is to set up. The technology involved in projecting these holograms is so specific,” he said.
Trent’s act earned him a place with "The Illusionists," a blockbuster Broadway show featuring a dream team of magicians with wildly different styles and personas.
“They looked at my show and said, ‘You’ve got these cool technology bits. Why don’t we focus on those?’ That was where the title of Futurist was born. I was certainly doing that stuff beforehand, but within 'The Illusionists,' it made sense to be specifically branded for that.”
As The Futurist, Trent helped bring magic back to Broadway, and the overwhelming success of "The Illusionists" had him appearing on "The Today Show," "Ellen" and more.
“ 'The Illusionists' did for magic what 'Cirque du Soleil' did for the circus, where they took these amazing acts that had been out there and repackaged them and presented them in a way that feels unique, family-friendly and high-end … . It was like lightning in a bottle.”
Trent may wow with holograms and state-of-the-art illusions, but his greatest trick is how his shows connect with audiences on a personal level.
“It’s bright and fun, a celebration of life … . A lot of people leave the show crying at the end. It’s a happy cry. They leave the show feeling differently from how they expected to feel leaving a magic show. Bring the whole family along and laugh together.”
The Illusionists present Adam Trent
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Saenger Theatre