With the closing of Houston's Magic Island in 2008, it's hard to find a public venue where people can go to see quality entertainment and magicians can find a place to ply their trade. Over the past few years though, some inspired people have been testing the waters to see if there is a market for magic in their areas.
Some started off with the idea of having a venue where they could perform their own material and hone it to perfection, break in some new material, and perhaps along the way get a following and find some who might hire them for more lucrative, long-lasting work. Some theaters offer opportunities for visiting magicians to perform.
Some, like Steve Cohen and his "Chamber Magic" in New York City, or Dennis Watkins and his "Magic Parlour" in Chicago, continue to feature just one performer without any replacements during his absence. These magic theaters, like Chicago's "Magic Cabaret" or "Magic Chicago" offer a more "theatrical experience" in a theater district or in a hotel room. Some offer just magic and perhaps some adult beverages while others offer an evening complete with a dining experience and perhaps some strolling magicians, too!
Though there are several impresarios of magic theaters spread across the U.S. whom I could have contacted, I selected just four random magic theater owner/operators: two from Florida and two from the San Francisco, California area. They represent different business strategies and long term goals.
Time stamps for this podcast:
00:02:28 - Erick & Kim Olson talk about "Wizardz" located in Kissimmee, Florida, a great tourist location just within 10 minutes away from Disney World. Erick likes to use his theater to break in new effects while featuring other magicians who pass through the area. Wizardz is open every Monday and seats about 50 people. They talk about competing with all the other tourist attractions in the area. Their Facebook page is http://Facebook.com/ErickWizardzOlson.
00:21:10 - David and Cheri Evangelista, owner/operator of Merlin's Theater next to their magic shop. Their theater is open one weekend every six to eight weeks where they selectively identify acts to come in and perform. That gives them time to advertise and promote the shows.
00:35:37 - Walt Anthony talks about his San Francisco Magic Parlor. The Parlor is inside the Chancellor Hotel Union Square Theatre where Walt spends four hours putting up the stage, sound and lights. They are open every weekend, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening. The decor is old style Parisian with the ambiance of Old Time San Francisco complete with theatrical story telling and magic stories of the area. 90% of the time the show features Walt Anthony; however, there have been instances when he has booked other acts outside of the area.
01:05:31 - Dan Chan, the Magic Man has been operating the "Bay Area Dinner Show" for the past three years. They are open on Mondays and have a variety of different sized rooms available for groups of 15 to 150. They size up or down to fit each size group. Their show also includes dinner and includes tableside close-up. Dan talks about his marketing campaign and how he gets people into the theater.
Download this podcast in an MP3 file by Clicking Here and then right click to save the file. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed by Clicking Here. (please note: this RSS Feed subscription system may not work with Android systems). Remember, you can download it through iTunes. See the preview page by Clicking Here.