“I see this show two times a night, every night, and I’m still amazed — every time,” said an usher as I was expressing my own amazement at the spectacle I’d just witnessed. We were talking about The Magician, a show that integrates multiple types of magic into one 90-minute performance. And the amazement of the still-awestruck people working on the show certainly wasn’t lost on me — this was my third time seeing the performance, and I still can’t wrap my mind around how Dan White, the magician in question, does it.
White started his show in 2015 at The NoMad Hotel in New York, which enjoyed a five-year run. When the pandemic hit, White quickly pivoted to a virtual show, which he still offers in addition to a limited-run performance at the Fotografiska New York. While the virtual show is incredible (I was lucky enough to catch it during those lockdown days), seeing it in person is nothing short of extraordinary.
This is the kind of New York show I live for. The invite encourages guests to dress up (which I wholeheartedly welcome), but the mix of locals and tourists definitely has different ideas of what that means. Regardless, the atmosphere of The Magician brings a glamorous, old New York feel that seems few and far between these days. Each pair of chairs has a small cocktail table between them, topped with a bowl of popcorn for nibbling. There’s a bespoke cocktail menu, but the bar can make you virtually any classic — I opted for a Manhattan, which is always my go-to for a seated performance like this. Wine and beer are also available, and you can order everything at the beginning of the show so a second beverage magically appears at intermission (my favorite king of magic). A small snack menu is also available.
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Upon entering, each attendee is given four playing cards for a trick that’s performed later in the show. I experienced this particular feat during all three performances I saw, and I was still so amazed the third time that I kept said cards as a souvenir. A few other card tricks are placed throughout the act — which are probably far more complicated than the ones you’re used to seeing — and each one elicited a gasp from this wide-eyed attendee.
While most people in the audience were equally as amused as me, there was one guy sitting behind me that was trying to explain the illusions to his companion, inferring that White’s magic could be broken down by the common eye. My husband and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes every so often because this guy probably couldn’t pull off a pre-packaged children’s magic trick, but White was unperturbed by his skepticism. Because by the end of the show, the annoying guy behind us was the participant in the show’s most impressive trick, and he finally gave into a round of applause, too stunned by White’s talent and virtuosity.
I can’t go into much detail about the illusions we experienced because that would spoil the fun for all of you, who should absolutely go see the show. But I can say that if you do go, you should definitely volunteer to help White with his various illusions and mentalism tricks when he asks for audience participation. My husband was part of a mind-blowing act involving his birthday, and I got to participate in one that amazed me the most from seeing the show previously. White carried a stack of books through the audience, one of them being Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. As people were raising their hands to volunteer, he asked if anyone had actually read the book, and I couldn’t resist this request. I can’t for the life of me figure out how he pulled off that act, and I probably never will. But that’s what makes magic magic, right?
There are a lot of good magic shows out there, but White’s charismatic approach and absolute effortlessness makes The Magician one of the best performances in NYC. A ticket also includes admission to Fotografiska, so go see the show, check out the museum’s photography exhibits and make a dinner reservation at on-site restaurant Verōnika for the perfect New York night.
There are still a number of tickets available for The Magician’s June and July shows, which can be purchased here.
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