Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-12-08



ATTRACTIONS British magician casts spell with 'Magic Immersive'
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 633 times since Fri Dec 24, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Through Sunday, Jan. 2, Chicago is hosting "Magic Immersive," which will entrance people of all ages.

Featuring two floors and 360 degrees of magic performances, illusions and interactive displays, the Illusionarium at Magic Immersive offers guests everything from up-close parlor magic to escape performances to large-scale illusions. British magician Jamie Allan—the performer behind "iMagician," which had a blockbuster run at the Harris Theater in 2018—is the creator and producer of "Magic Immersive." (In addition, there's a museum-type exhibit that pays homage to magicians ranging from David Copperfield to Doug Henning.)

Windy City Times: This runs through Jan. 2, right?

Jamie Allan: Right. It may run longer, but we are planning on going on a U.S. tour. It is a convention-center show. It's based on a socially distant show I did during COVID; we created a different style of magic by moving people around in different rooms. We're now creating the show I wanted in the first place, which is one that takes place around you in all directions. [Note: This interview was conducted before the omicron variant of COVID caused a spike in cases.]

WCT: There is a Harry Houdini water escape in this show. I've always wondered how and WHY he would do such a thing.

JA: In this show, we have four professional escapologists who are also swimmers. All of them have a breath hold in excess of four minutes, give or take. We do the water-chamber escape in full view [of the audience]. What I like about it is that it's real magic; we don't make any secret of it. We show you how it's done. They have to pick the locks, and these are real handcuffs—I don't care what anyone says.

Obviously, we have a safety team but they have to undo everything until they get out. There are five sets of cuffs and locks holding the tank. It's incredible.

But I don't want to take the credit for all this. We had the idea and the rough design, but then two people came into this. One was Greg Pruitt, who was a world champion of magic but is also an incredible construction person; he actually built the tank and designed how it would work. Also, the concept came from collaborating with Jonathan Goodwin, who was the leading daredevil in the world. In a lot of ways, his work surpassed Houdini's. I'm honestly happy to say the water escape done here is the best version of a water escape that's ever been done.

And the drama of it… Every element that goes around it is something else. It's more than someone sitting in a fish tank undoing locks.

WCT: How did you come to choose this team?

JA: Well, this team is the result of efforts from me and my creative partner, Tommy Bond. Tommy and I create the shows together and we bring in a number of people. Our head of magic is Harry De Cruz, who worked on a lot of TV shows in England. We have an incredible consultant, Richard Ouzounian, who helps with a lot of the theatrical staging.

And we have people we've worked with before. Cameron Gibson is our lead magician; when I'm not here, he's responsible for the whole show and he performs in it, as well. And we hire magicians from all over the world, including Chicago.

WCT: So people can expect parlor magic, stage magic…

JA: There are major illusions. There's digital magic and the magic of technology, including items with iPads. We make people disappear into television screens and come back out. And we do twists on old classics. For example, we take Houdini's "Metamorphosis" illusion—where two people exchange places in a wooden trunk—and do a new version invented by my friend John Taylor.

We'd like to think this is the way Houdini would do this today. We respect that Houdini was probably the greatest ever, but we want to move on.

WCT: And you feel David Copperfield was the biggest influence on you?

JA: He was a huge influence on me. I got to work with him a little—which was a dream come true. [Recently], I was in Las Vegas for a couple days and I got to spend hours with David in his warehouse, where he was the world's largest collection of magic. He's so passionate about it; I almost cried three times. It was just unbelievable.

My favorite trick of his was when he made a train carriage disappear, although he's also known for his tricks with the Statue of Liberty and a Lear jet.

WCT: Where do you see the future of magic?

JA: So the magicians in the old days would turn up in top hats, and a lot of magicians would do things like borrow money from the audience. Well, it's getting harder and harder to find people [who] have cash. People now carry smartphones, so I now do tricks with those. We also do large-scale illusions with things like lasers, and even have people fly on lasers.

WCT: And what is the essence of magic?

JA: For me, magic is not about fooling people, because that's what most people [think]. If you ask most people what magicians do, they would say "tricks." But, for me, it's about escapism—making you feel like a child again. My favorite saying is "I don't keep secrets from you. I keep secrets for you." You don't want to know how it's done because that spoils it; you always want to keep it.

When everybody comes in, their first instinct is to pay attention because they have to figure it out. But then, after a while…

Also, we start all of our shows with a fast pace of several tricks. At first, people wonder, "Where did he or she come from?" After being hit several times, though, they stop caring and they just start to let it happen.

It's about wonder and making you feel like a kid again.

The two-floor Magic Immersive experience—which includes everything from audience levitation to a video featuring the world-famous Penn & Teller to the Houdini water escape—is running through Sunday, Jan. 2, at 360 N. State St. See .

This article shared 633 times since Fri Dec 24, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Victory Gardens presents reading of 'exercise your demons,' a play on trauma of a gay male body 2022-01-26
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Victory Gardens Theater presents the Ignite Chicago reading of exercise your demons: a play on the trauma of a gay male body written by Gage Tarlton and directed by Ryan Dobrin, with movement ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Moors 2022-01-26
- Title: The Moors. Playwright: Jen Silverman At: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. Tickets: $30-$40; Runs through: Feb. 27 "I've been employed in many houses," declares newly hired Emily, following her arrival at ...

Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions presenting 'The Drag Seed' 2022-01-24
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (January 24, 2022) — Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to continue its 20th anniversary season with a revival of its popular comedy The Drag Seed, an unauthorized parody of the 1956 psychological horror-thriller ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Pansy Kings performance artist, education advocate Murray McKay 2022-01-20
- Pansy Kings performance artist, education advocate, curator, designer and LGBTQ activist Edward Murray McKay died Jan. 4 of cancer. He was 53. McKay was born Oct. 2, 1968, in Brussels, Belgium. The family moved to Toronto ...

Gay News

THEATER Red Orchid's 'The Moors' running through Feb. 27 2022-01-15
- A Red Orchid Theatre is running Jen Silverman's The Moors, directed by Artistic Director and Ensemble Member Kirsten Fitzgerald, through Feb. 27 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. The plot is as follows: ...

Gay News

THEATER About Face announces cast of queer-themed 'Laced' 2022-01-14
- About Face Theatre begins its 27th season with the world premiere of Samantha Mueller's drama Laced, running March 17-April 16 at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. Set in the aftermath of the vandalism of ...

Gay News

Black Ensemble Theatre announces 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings 2022-01-14
-- From a press release - Chicago, IL—Black Ensemble Theater's Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor announces its 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings. The 2022 Season includes four World Premiere musicals showcasing the power ...

Gay News

THEATER DuSable, puppet company to run Toni Morrison's 'The Bluest Eye' 2022-01-13
- The DuSable Museum of African American History is partnering with the 4th Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival to present a production of The Bluest Eye, based on Toni Morrison's 1970 groundbreaking coming-of-age novel. The production will ...

Gay News

THEATER 'This Is Only a Test' Feb. 11-March 12 2022-01-12
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, is welcoming back live audiences this winter with the world premiere of Eric Reyes Loo's drama This Is Only a Test, directed by Toma Tavares Langston. The production will ...

Gay News

THEATER Queer-themed 'Queen of the Night' to run Jan. 29-March 13 2022-01-11
- Victory Gardens Theater is slated to open its 2021-22 Mainstage Season with Queen of the Night, written by travis tate and directed by Victory Gardens Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin. Queen of the Night features Terry Guest ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Mary Rose' running through Feb. 12 2022-01-10
- Black Button Eyes (BBE) Productions is concluding its 2021-22 season with the world-premiere musical Mary Rose, featuring book and lyrics by Producing Artistic Director Ed Rutherford, music and lyrics by Jeff Bouthiette, direction by Ed Rutherford ...

Gay News

THEATER 'Queens of Infinite Space' canceled because of COVID 2022-01-07
- With the increase in COVID-19 cases in Chicago and beyond, Proboscis Theatre has decided to cancel the performances of The Queens of Infinite Space set to run at Epiphany Center for Arts, 201 S. Ashland Ave., ...

Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf delays '1919' premiere due to COVID 2022-01-07
- Due to the COVID-19 surge driven by the Omicron variant, and out of an abundance of caution for public health, Steppenwolf Theatre Company has postponed its Steppenwolf for Young Adults world-premiere adaptation of Eve L. Ewing's ...

Gay News

Mercury Theater Chicago announces casting and artists for 'Women of Soul' 2022-01-06
--From a press release - Chicago —Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter, Managing Director Shane Murray-Corcoran, and Executive Producers Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizonannounce the cast and creative team for the next Mainstage production of the ...

Gay News

THEATER Trans performer Sis is doin' fine in 'Oklahoma!' 2022-01-05
- This isn't your typical grandma's Oklahoma! The very first musical written by Rodgers and Hammerstein opened on Broadway in 1943 and continues to captivate audiences today. The dialogue remains the same, but updated casting choices have ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.