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January 23, 2014
THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE PRESENTS
Sunday – February 23 – 3:00pm
Milt Larsen and Terry Hill present the 58th annual edition of It’s Magic! at the McCallum Theatre on Sunday, February 23, at 3:00pm.
It’s Magic! has been delighting magic enthusiasts for more than five decades. This live stage show features top pro¬fessional magicians, with each act selected to represent the variety of the art of magic. Many of these performers are award winners, direct from showrooms around the world as well as Hollywood’s Magic Castle.
The tradition of an all-star magic show started in 1956 when Milt Larsen and Oliver Berliner, produced a show called Hocus Pocus at the Carthay Circle The¬ater in West Los Angeles. The following year, the show was renamed It’s Magic! and moved to the 1,300 seat Wilshire Ebell Theater. At first, the shows played for a limited time only. As the number of fans grew, the number of performances increased. The success of It’s Magic! proved there was an interest in the art form of magic. This gave Milt the idea of forming a full-time private club for magicians and magic enthusiasts. Thus was born the Magic Castle, which opened in 1963.
In 1965 Milt produced It’s Magic! with his brother Bill. It’s Magic! then moved to the Variety Arts Theater in downtown Los Angeles in 1977 and played annually until the mid¬-eighties. Since its inception, audiences were treated to such legendary magicians as Harry Blackstone (senior and junior), John Calvert, Senor Wences, Richiardi, Chang, Mark Wilson, Frakson, Tenkai and Dai Vernon. The show has also featured current headliners including Lance Bruton, Criss Angel, Harry Anderson, Kalin & Jinger, Shimada, Jeff McBride and Rick Thomas.
It’s Magic!, as a full-scale stage production, was discontinued when the Variety Arts Theater was sold and Milt decided to devote his energies to the Magic Castle, television shows and other ventures. After thirty years of continuous production, Milt felt it was time to hang up It’s Magic!’s top hat.
In 1994, the City of Glendale asked theatrical producer Terry Hill to bring shows into its restored Alex Theater. Terry, a longtime member of the Magic Castle, approached Milt Larsen with the idea of bringing back It’s Magic! Terry made the point that although magicians could be seen at the Magic Castle (a private club for magicians and magical enthusiasts), the public rarely had a chance to see these great performers. There was a real need for an exciting full evening family show like It’s Magic! Milt agreed and a new partnership was born and the Alex, with its Egyptian motif, proved to be the perfect setting.
With the success of It’s Magic! in the yearly fall presentation at the Alex Theater, Milt and Terry expanded into other theater venues and now produce annual It’s Magic! shows around the country in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Washington and others. These shows feature magicians who have appeared in It’s Magic! shows over the years and who are well known as performers in Las Vegas and at showrooms around the globe. Each year, new venues are added as the popularity of It’s Magic! grows and the tradition continues.
Chuck Jones’ career in magic covers nearly every phase of show business - revues, television, corporate events, and touring shows. The last 13 years he's toured with his own show throughout Australia and 17 years throughout New Zealand. He landed a children’s television show on KCOP-TV in Hollywood and began devising his own illusions. His creation, the Mis-Made Girl (a girl is divided into four parts and accidentally assembled wrong), won an award from the Society of American Magicians. Chuck has supplied magical effects for television series and commercials and has headlined in “Masters of Magic” at Caesar’s Tahoe. His awards include the Performing Fellowship Award from the Magic Castle and the Showmanship Award from the Society of American Magicians.
Michael Finney received the Academy of Arts Award for Comedy Magician of the Yearin Hollywood, an award where the entertainers are nominated and voted upon by peers of the craft. Michael also received the Academy Magical Arts Parlor Magician of the Year Award. He was the house magician at Legend City Amusement Park in Phoenix for three years then moved to Los Angeles to work comedy clubs. In 1986 he brought his comedy back to Phoenix with the opening of Finney Bones Comedy Club. Michael was a finalist on “Star Search” (1986); has performed at comedy clubs; made numerous appearances in television series and specials; and was invited to perform at the 2001 inauguration of President Bush.
John Shryock incorporates magic and illusion with drama, dance, and comedy. John has performed in over 100 cities across three continents. His impressive skills earned a command performance at President George W. Bush's Inaugural Ball and numerous appearances on the television series, "Masters of Illusion." John has performed at Caesars Magical Empire at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and has performed in all three showrooms at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. John began learning magic at the age of sixteen and his childhood hobby quickly became a professional career as he began traveling the country as a headliner in comedy clubs and performing his award winning bird act on luxury cruise liners.
Jason Andrews began magic at the age of 12 when he saw the “Lance Burton: Master Magician” show in Las Vegas. Jason has appeared on two national tours and has won 23 international awards, including "Entertainer of the Year" in Las Vegas. In 2010 Jason took the top honor from the International Brotherhood of Magicians in the international stage competition. He has been a magic consultant on Las Vegas productions of CATS and The Wiz. He has also been the house magician for the Las Vegas productions of Forever Plaid and Hello Dere. Jason shares his unique brand of magic with the world, taking the classics of magic and twisting them into modern pieces of prestidigitation.
Joel Ward’s magical talent ranges from audience participation, to interactive close-up magic and Las Vegas styled illusions. Joel began performing at children's birthday parties when he was 10. By age 15, he became a World Champion Teen Magician after placing 1st at the International Brotherhood of Magicians’ annual competition. That same year, he was chosen to appear on television with Master Magician Lance Burton in "Lance Burton – Young Magicians Showcase." Joel performs hundreds of shows a year and, in 2007, he performed over 500 shows during a year contract at the Horizon Casino in South Lake Tahoe. Joel headlined the Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus show, "Boom A Ring," which toured the East Coast and Puerto Rico.
Milt Larsen (and his late brother Bill) fulfilled a life-long dream of their father’s when they opened a club for magicians in 1963, The Magic Castle, the most famous and successful magic enterprise in the world, with a current roster of approximately 5,000 members internationally. Milt Larsen was the magic consultant for the multi-million dollar Caesars Magical Empire project at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. He has produced and written numerous stage shows and musicals (collaborating several times with the redoubtable Sherman Brothers). His more recent television credits are as Co-Executive Producer / Writer of “The Magicians Favorite Magicians” special for CBS Television, and consultant for “Now You See It -The History of Magic” for The Learning Channel.
Terry Hill stages and produces major shows and special events throughout the country, starring some of the biggest names in show business. He has worked with such legendary performers as Bob Hope, Fred Astaire, Dinah Shore, Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney and Neil Patrick Harris. Terry produced the first HDTV special for CBS, the Miss Universe and Miss California television specials and acted as special consultant to such television shows as “Bonanza,” the Jackson Five specials, and “The Jackie Gleason Show.” He also staged the NFL Super Bowl party and the CBS affiliates’ annual conventions. Terry was invited by the respective families to produce the memorial tribute shows for Bob Hope, Steve Allen and Buddy Ebsen.
The McCallum Theatre and The City of Rancho Mirage present It’s Magic on Sunday, February 23, at 3:00pm. Tickets are priced at $45, $35, $25 and $15. Tickets for residents of Rancho Mirage are $40, $30, $20 and $10. Tickets are available online at www.mccallumtheatre.com or by calling the McCallum Theatre Box Office at (760) 340-2787 or. McCallum Theatre, located at 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert CA 92260, accepts payment by cash, personal check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.