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‘Magician’s Study’ offers an intimate evening of magic … if you can find it

Updated September 2, 2022 - 11:16 am

In “The Magician’s Study,” you find tricks that are effective in any Las Vegas magic show. A little treasure box opens on its own, then a white handkerchief flies out and into an empty demijohn bottle. An audience member signs a $50 bill and hands it to the star of the show. Later, it reappears after that same audience member cracks open a walnut.

The magician places coins under playing cards on a black felt. Those coins move around the table, under different cards and seemingly on their own. The crowd gasps, calls out “No way,” and laughs in disbelief.

There is a unique magic, too, as The Magician deftly engages his audience. His sleight of hand is heightened by his sly asides. Similar to an Olympic slalom skier, the star serpentines around his guests, never knowing what they might call out.

The Magician displays a card and asks, “Is this your card, the three of clubs?” For no evident reason, a man in the middle of the audience, his arms folded skeptically, shouts, “Allegedly!”

Perhaps the man is drunk, late on this Saturday night. No question he is verbally overmatched, as The Magician jabs back, “No, this is, in fact, the three of clubs.” A group of women off to the side also starts shouting “Allegedly!” and The Magician shakes his head, “Oh, you, too?”

Through this casual conversation, different every show, The Magician’s Study is an intimate, interactive experience. This is true even in a city where those terms seem to define any recent production or attraction. Thirty-two people were seated in a weekend performance. That’s actually a large group, at capacity (well, there were eight no-shows) in a production that has grown almost entirely through word-of-mouth.

The show is performed at a single location now, but The Magician has ideas to broaden to multiple Studies, all designed to be favorable to close-up magic. He is likely to recruit and train more than one magician, including a woman, to be added to the roster.

For these purposes, the location of the show and identity of the performer won’t be disclosed. You’ll thank me later. What can be disclosed is The Magician’s Study performs in Las Vegas at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The Magician himself is a skilled magician, excellent at in-your-face, sleight-of-hand artistry. He sheds his white rabbit head early in the show, so you are observing an identifiable entertainer. If and when you shake his hand, check for your watch or bracelet. He might have made off with it, so he can show it off to the audience several minutes later.

Access to this gem of a show is by invitation only, not on sale to the general public. Go to themagiciansstudy.com and follow the directions. Those who are invited receive a code word in the FAQ section, leading to the ticket platform.

The Magician had trotted out The Magician’s Study before COVID-19, then resumed last September, barely filling single shows Fridays and Saturdays (I attended a performance with six people, one of whom happened to be Drai’s Nightclub exec Dustin Drai). Now it’s going eight times per week, 40 or so people per performance.

The star of the show came up with the idea about six years ago. He was eager to punch up the “intimate” and “interactive” experiences.

“There are other shows in town that pretend to be interactive, and the performer literally walks out and says, ‘What was your favorite toy growing up?’ and doesn’t even listen to the answer,” The Magician says. “He just starts rattling off his jokes. I watched that and thought, ‘You’re really not connecting with them.’ I want, when people leave The Study, they have connected with me by the end of the night.”

The Magician’s meet-and-great almost looks like a celebratory postgame scene for a winning team. The Magician recalls seeing two people who attended his show long after the performance, as he was leaving the venue. He ran up and said, “Thanks so much for coming. I hope you enjoyed it.”

The next night, that same couple had worked their way through the website’s labyrinth and were seated in the audience.

“The fact that I said ‘Hi!’ and took the time to talk to them made them want to come back,” The Magician says. “That meant so much to them. We have grown this so organically. That’s what makes it fun.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com.

An earlier version of this story had referred to The Magician as The Rabbit.

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