Making magic for kids is one of the greatest challenges for a performer, and that’s just as true when the performers are the same age as their audience. Adam Rodness and Stu Stone of 5’7 Films is the duo behind The Thrillusionists, a video series with three young magicians on CBC Kids. The pair spoke to Kidscreen about the process of creating the program.
“The kids space seemed like a natural place to explore because children love magic and there wasn’t much for this [demographic] other than shows about learning magic,” said Stone.
The Thrillusionists isn’t Stone’s first rodeo: he was also a producer for the Criss Angel series BeLIEve on Spike TV. He brought in Jesse Feinberg from that gig to be a consultant and executive producer for kids’ show.
“On BeLIEve, I was thrown into the deep end as far as magic goes. It was a surreal experience, not only in terms of the actual magic that Criss performs, but also in how the show was shot,” Stone said. “Filming a magic show is not like shooting a traditional reality show or scripted TV show where you go in, get the shot and move on. You have to deal with a lot of variables because you have to get the trick right, you have to fool someone in person and then also try to fool the audience at home. By the time the show wrapped, I felt like I gained a new skill set and wondered what else I could do.”
Read the full interview, including how they found the three cast members and prepped rehearsals, here on Kidscreen.
The International Brotherhood of Magicians has honored Criss Angel with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Members of the organization bestowed the rare award on Angel following a performance of his Mindfreak Live! stage show in Las Vegas. He is the youngest recipient of the IBM Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I’m grateful to be recognized by my peers with this highest honor and vow to continue to take the art we all love even further, especial in my next live project I’m currently creating,” Angel said after receiving the news.
“For all that you do to encourage and promote the art of magic around the world, we the International Brotherhood of Magicians honor you,” the group said of the news by Facebook post.
Angel has been performing Mindfreak Live! at the Luxor for a decade. The show will end its run with a final show on October 28, 2018.
Criss Angel’s ten-year-long stint at the Luxor in Las Vegas appears to be coming to a close. As reported via press release by Broadway World Las Vegas, Criss Angel’s final performance of his show Mindfreak Live! will take place on October 28, 2018, after which Angel’s contract with Luxor will expire.
The news was first broken by Brock Radke of Las Vegas Weekly via Twitter:
Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil will close out the Mindfreak Live show on October 28, ending a 10-year run at @LuxorLV.
— Brock Radke (@brockradke) December 22, 2017
It was later confirmed via press release, which included quotes from Criss Angel from his time working on the show:
“It has been an extraordinary experience working with Cirque du Soleil and Luxor these past nine years. They have been amazing partners and will always be part of my family,” said Criss Angel. “I am so proud of what we have created together and I am extremely excited about the new illusions we will be adding in our final year of MINDFREAK® LIVE!”
Mindfreak Live! originally launched as BeLIEve, which originally appeared to some rather scathing reviews. The show dropped many of its larger Cirque du Soleil elements, and eventually repurposed itself in current, vastly improved form back in 2016, with some even calling his showstopping levitation stunt “worth the price of admission.”
There’s no word on whether Criss Angel is going to return to the Vegas Strip in another venue, or if this will mark his last appearance there. He’s currently beginning a new tour in January called Criss Angel Raw, which promises “magic unplugged”. You can still get tickets for his Vegas show at Cirque du Soleil’s official website.
Whatever your opinion of Criss Angel’s magic or his persona, there’s no denying how impressive it is to keep a show running for a decade straight, especially in Vegas.
Criss Angel isn’t just an internationally known performer, he’s also father to a son with leukemia. He recently gave an interview to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals about the experience of having a child with cancer and meeting other families who are also living with cancer. The magician has done charity work focused on childhood cancer during his career. His interview also touched on magic and being awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Forbes has once again assembled a list of the top-paid magicians in the industry, and once again, David Copperfield rests very comfortably atop it, bringing in $61.5 million pre-tax in the fiscal year that ended in June 2017. Some of that came from the 621 shows he performed in Las Vegas, and some came from his resorts at Musha Cay in the Bahamas, where the rates start at $39,000 a day for up to 12 persons with a 4-night minimum.
Please indulge a quick and personal aside. I grew up watching David Copperfield’s specials on television, and this trick made such an impact on me, to this day, it’s still what I think of whenever his name comes up. He combined illusion and theater in a way I didn’t know was possible, and it formed the foundation of my lifelong love of magic.
Trailing behind Copperfield are the bad boys of magic, Penn & Teller, who took in earnings of $30.5 million. Their residency at the Rio in Las Vegas nets them about $100,000 a night. In a distant third is Criss Angel with $14.5 million – not a bad payday for ten shows a week at the Luxor.
The fourth spot is a wee bit of a cheat, as it goes to The Illusionists, a touring production with a rotating cast of performers. It’s the most successful magic show in Broadway history, and earned $11.5 million for the year. Rounding out the top five is Dynamo, who pulled a nice $9 million thanks to arena shows in Australia and a brand partnership with FC Barcelona.