Kevin James and The Illusionists. Photo by Joan Marcus
SCHENECTADY — Magician Kevin James goes by the moniker “The Inventor” for good reason.
Before any good act sees time on the stage, James said it starts as an idea flushed out on pen and paper. The performance of a magician involves just as much science as it does entertainment.
“Magicians have a lot of tools in their arsenal,” said James. The physics behind the slight of hand action help define the logistics of the act, but “lots of psychology elements” help create the wow factor that turns an experiment into magic. “Scientists are the easiest people to fool, because they already think they know everything. You can just gently suggest something and they’re going to jump to the conclusion, but you’re taking a back door. Kids are the hardest to fool, in fact, because their minds aren’t closed with these assumptions. They think out of the box. They don’t really have a box.”
James is known for his innovative illusions. The award-winning magician has not only wowed audiences, but has also earned the respect of his peers within the magician fraternity with his inventions. He has created unique effects used in shows of famous magicians including Doug Henning and Mark Wilson. His “Floating Rose” trick is performed by David Copperfield.
Next weekend, James joins a cast of fellow magicians for the touring magic show The Illusionists — Live from Broadway at Proctors on Friday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 27, at 2 and 8 p.m.
“We can’t wait to bring this electrifying show to Schenectady for a truly entertaining experience for the whole family,” said Simon Painter, the show’s creative producer. “The Illusionists is the most non-stop and powerful mix of outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on the live stage.”
James joins four other stars stars, each with distinctly different talents that warrant nicknames, some of which nefarious enough they wouldn’t be welcomed in other professions.
There’s “The Trickster,” Jeff Hobson, who is the epitome of glamour and showmanship. Don’t be fooled by his innocent appearance; Jeff has audiences laughing long after the curtain goes down. “The Deductionist,” Colin Cloud, is one of the greatest thought-readers of all time. He is a psychic savant known as a real-life Sherlock Holmes. An Ha Lim is known as “The Manipulator.” He was the first place winner at Korea’s 2006 Busan International Magic Competition. There is a near five-minute online video on YouTube that shows Lim drawing several decks worth of cards from nowhere. And, “The Daredevil,” Jonathan Goodwin, is widely considered one of the most creative, skilled and frankly crazy stunt performers in the world. He is an accomplished knife thrower, archer, escape artist, marksman, martial artist, free diver, and free climber. Unlike the other performers in the show, Jonathan is not a magician or illusionist. However, he will leave the audience breathless with his death-defying stunts.
“It’s the five top magicians in the world doing their best material,” said James. “They all have different styles, vibes and flavors, and we’re all at the top of our game, right now.”
Tickets range in price from $20 to $75 and are available through Proctors, either by box office, by phone at (518) 346-6204 or online at tickets.proctors.org.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.