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You won't believe your eyes at these magic shows
At TDF, we're always touting the magic of theatre. But what about the magic of magic? If you truly want your mind blown the next time you buy tickets, consider one of these five live spectacles, which offer tricks, illusions, feats of mentalism and other enchanted acts. You don't even need a crystal ball to determine the one that's right for you -- we've demystified them on your behalf.
FOR PHILOSOPHERS: In & of Itself
Daryl Roth Theatre, 101 East 15th Street at Union Square East
Runs through August 19
There are lots of marquee names involved in Derek DelGaudio's long-running show: Frank Oz (of Muppets fame) as director, Neil Patrick Harris as producer and Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh as composer. But it's DelGaudio's talent that makes spectators gasp as he uses tricks and tales to delve into the concept of identity. Although there are a half-dozen masterful illusions, the performance art-style experience is more mind-bending than eye-popping. Unlike many of his peers, DelGaudio rarely performs on TV so you can't just look up his routines on YouTube. It's better in person, anyway, since the entire audience ends up participating in his act! Ages 16 and up.
FOR SENTIMENTALISTS: Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders
Westside Theatre Upstairs, 407 West 43rd Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues
Runs through September 30. At press time, discount tickets were available for Vitaly.
One of the few magicians to stump Penn & Teller on their Fool Us TV show, Vitaly Beckman makes his New York debut with this eponymous show. Russia-born, Israel-bred and Canada-based, Beckman conjures jaw-dropping illusions such as transforming still pictures into movies and making a bare tree spawn fresh foliage. But what's more amazing is how he integrates these feats into the telling of his life story. As a child Beckman was interested in art, and his own childhood drawings and photos spark many of the show's magical moments. Earnest and adorkable instead of flashy or slick, he tugs on your heartstrings while tickling your brain. Ages 10 and up.
FOR DOUBTERS: The Magician
NoMad Hotel, 1170 Broadway at 28th Street
Although there are specialty cocktails to imbibe, Dan White's sleight-of-hand skills are so astonishing you'll be rubbing your eyes even if you stay stone-cold sober. Performing three nights a week at the swanky NoMad Hotel, White comes to New York following collaborations with David Copperfield in Vegas and Kanye West on his YEEZUS tour. He specializes in close-up magic and mentalism, so the chic and cozy venue means you'll get a good look at his act, though you still won't know how he does it. He's been freaking out Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show for years. Now it's your turn. Ages 18 and up.
FOR FAMILIES: The Quantum Eye
Theater 80 St Marks, 80 St Marks between First and Second Avenues
Open run. At press time, discount tickets were available for The Quantum Eye.Every Saturday you can find Sam Eaton reading minds in the East Village. He's been doing that for a dozen years now, making The Quantum Eye the longest-running solo show in Off-Broadway history. A veteran magician and mentalist, Eaton eschews spectacle in favor of personal connections, inviting multiple theatregoers on stage throughout his 90-minute act. Think old-school vaudeville, which should delight young viewers, especially if they get picked. Ages 7 and up.
FOR COOL CRED: Six Impossible Things
Wildrence, 59 Canal Street at Allen Street
Through December 15
Talk about exclusive: Only 20 people at a time can experience Joshua Jay's intimate show, and you're only allowed to see it once! Set in a custom-designed space on the Lower East Side, Six Impossible Things takes audiences through a half-dozen rooms where Jay conjures six stunning and top-secret tricks. Sporting a hipster beard and insane résumé (he performed at Barack Obama's first Inaugural Ball and created illusions for Game of Thrones), Jay is making his NYC debut with this show. Unfortunately, getting in is almost as impossible as his act. So buy tickets now before they (ahem) disappear. Ages 14 and up.
Regina Robbins is a writer, director, native New Yorker and Jeopardy! champion. She has worked with several NYC-based theatre companies and is currently a Core Company Member with Everyday Inferno Theatre.
Top image: Joshua Jay in Six Impossible Things. Photo by Matthew Gilmore.
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