Young Magicians Showcase
by Andi Gladwin
One of the magicians that influence my magic the most is Lance Burton - his style, originality and skill are far beyond most magicians of today. When I was offered the chance to spend a week with Lance in Las Vegas to be part of his next television special I jumped at the chance!
14 other young magicians were invited to perform on the special, all being from around the United States, I was the only British magician and in fact the only non-American. Throughout the week I heard the show described as many things, the best way I heard to explain it is sort of a World's Greatest Magic Show for young magicians. This was the first time a show like this has been produced and all acts were worthy of appearing on such a show.
The Legend Begins
The week started after the twenty-two hour journey where I was picked up by four Lance Burton employees and taken to the Monte Carlo Hotel in a stretched Limousine. Being treated like a star continued throughout the week which my family and I enjoyed very much!
The cast all meet the next day at the Lance Burton Theatre where we were greeted by Lance as we entered the glamour of the amazing 1200 seat theatre. The talent in that one room was phenomenal with some of the most world renowned magicians, including Jim Steinmeyer, Johnny Thompson, Gary Darwin, Mac King, Fielding West and of course Lance Burton. The incredible talent did not only come from the professional magicians but also from fifteen of the world's best young magicians; all were under seventeen years old.
I found myself rehearsing my act in front of magicians that I had only dreamed of meeting; it was very nerve racking to perform for them to say the least! After performing the act we all sat down and 'brainstormed' what approach we should take in making improvements. Fielding West helped with my patter; due to the fact that I performed a comedy act he helped a lot with my approach and presentation. He told me that the most important part of comedy magic is where to pause in your speech, which I found most helpful. Fielding and myself got on very well and spent many hours talking during the week, he is one of the funniest magicians I have ever met - he has a joke for every occasion. Look out for Fielding with his own television special in America soon.
The other magicians helped to come up with some good subtleties and ideas for the routine, I will not explain any here but I suggest you watch the special when it airs to see what some of the best magical thinkers can come up with when working as a team! During the week I was assisted by two of Lance's dancers, Connie and Joel. Both girls play a large part in the act and also did a lot in parts that you won't see; they played a large part in helping me learn my script and learning the routine as a whole.
Three days after we all met the show was filmed without an audience, if you have ever done any television show work before you will understand this. Basically I performed three times, each time the cameras being on different angles. Later in the day the act was taped in front of a live audience, when edited it will seem that the audience was there all the time… and that’s the magic of TV!
One part of me would like to tell you who and what will be on the show, another wants to keep it a secret so that it is a surprise. Let me tell you this one thing, this show has something for everyone – whether you like close-up, comedy, illusion, manipulation, ventriloquism, parlor or any other style of magic you will enjoy the show! There are very young magicians (the youngest being just six years old); there are also 'older' teenage magicians and a mixture of boys and girls. One thing that I would like to say is that all acts are very good and strangely all are original acts and not just the plain old acts that we see a lot of today but original, good quality acts.
So, apart from filming what else did I do? Well, magic of course! I met a number of magicians, all being interested in similar magic to me. The most notable was someone who I consider to be one of the most impressive card magicians I have ever seen - his magic totally blew me away. The strange thing was that he is only 14 years old. Ashford Knitel is a magician with great talent with a crazy knowledge of magic; he knows so much that any magic guru would be jealous! Look out for this guy, especially when he will be competing at the next FISM in the Card Category – I predict good things!
On The Road
If you haven't realised already the section headings are all of Lance Burton's previous television specials. His next show is titled Lance Burton: Master Magician On the Road. I was lucky enough to be part of the audience of a little of the special and am pleased to say that it is going to be great. Lance performs an original illusion that I would consider to be among the best I have ever seen. Just when you think something will happen you are wrong, it is better than you imagine! I will not spoil the surprise but trust me when I say you have to watch this special as it is going to be great!
To sum up the trip I would have to say that it was the best week of my life, Lance Burton has given me, and fourteen others the break in show business that could help our careers a lot. He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and also one of the most talented magicians ever to live. I promise to give you details of the air times of the show as soon as I know myself! Until next time… keep an eye out for Lance Burton's Young Magicians Showcase in your television guides!
© Andi Gladwin, July 2000