We’re now in that time of year that usually involves extended family time, and the resulting thin line between endearing and annoying.
And so it is with the Tommy Wind magic show.
Here is a young magician who not only does a show for the whole family, but with the whole family. Watching the show can remind you of the James Cagney “Yankee Doodle Dandy” movie about the George M. Cohan brood.
Wind’s dad, a former Staten Island bandleader, joins him in a drum duet. His mom, introduced as a former Broadway dancer, lends him stage props and moral support.
And Wind’s 88-year-old grandfather is not just given credit for introducing young Tommy to magic. On nights that he’s able, he’s there to actually show us that same sleight-of-hand trick with a handkerchief that inspired a 7-year-old Tommy.
After all this, are we surprised to learn that the lovely assistant (Stacy Jackson) Wind has been producing from various contraptions happens to be … his fiancee?
The family affair adds a layer of charm to an otherwise ordinary magic show. So does their underdog story so far.
The clan, known offstage as Riccardo, first launched at the Clarion early last year, then put in more than 200 shows as tenants of the freestanding Boulevard Theater.
When the operator lost the property last summer, Wind’s family cut a deal directly with the building owner. Last month they reopened what is now called the Tommy Wind Theater, with Krave as their post-show nightclub tenant.
The former Empire Ballroom adds a novel, old-Hollywood nightclub vibe and bonus atmosphere to what could be this year’s widely discounted, starter-kit magic show for budget-minded families.
As I’ve often said in such cases, the illusions may seem familiar if you’ve seen even one magic show. But it shouldn’t stop you from taking youngsters who haven’t.
Wind is wise to see his theater as a hybrid space where he can do close-up work such as card tricks as well as a limited offering of “big box” stage illusions requiring more elaborate lighting and technical cues.
At this point, his ability to put cards into orbit is more impressive than the theatrical tricks. “I learned this after 15 years of no social life,” he says after sending a deck flying under his lifted leg.
The illusions come off as scaled-down, budget versions of things you’ve seen David Copperfield do: appear on a motorcycle, or pass himself through a spinning propeller blade. Wind tried to convince the audience that the climactic “300-pound spiked Plunger of Death” was more dangerous than the drab phone booth it looked to be.
Really, his energy and enthusiasm are his main assets at this point. The 23-year-old once billed as the Strip’s youngest headliner (Claire Sinclair of “Pin Up” now has him beat by a year) already has enough experience to bail himself out with jokes when music cues misfire or an audience recruit doesn’t quite speak enough English to follow directions.
Wind also tries to work his musical and martial arts skills into the act. At this point, the piano solo or drum duets are just detours from the magic. But they point to the possibilities of what’s available to Wind once he really finds the unique voice that he seems well on his way to discovering.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.