Magical Nights Inc., the producers of New York City’s long running Monday Night Magic, have now cast their spell upon other nights and other locales in Gotham with the opening of two new offerings. “Magic: Close Up in Concert” is currently playing Wednesday evenings at the posh Rainbow Room located high atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Jamy Ian Swiss stars through the end of November with his sophisticated sleight of hand. “Side Show Saturday Night” at the Soho Playhouse (15 Van Dam St.) features the inimitable Todd Robbins, a virtual one-man ten in one show.
Magical Nights have gone from strength to strength. The move uptown of “Monday Night Magic” from their old home at the Sullivan Street Playhouse to the McGinn/Cazale Theater at 2162 Broadway (at 76th St.) early this year has met with great success. Producer Michael Chaut and his partners have elected to expand their offerings with two additional shows, each featuring the peculiar skills of two stalwarts of the MNM series. Both of the two new shows highlight the special qualities of two very different but highly seasoned and skilled performers in environments well suited to their particular presentation styles.
The Soho Playhouse venue for Side Show Saturday Night provides a small, downtown theater environment reminiscent of an earlier era of live entertainment. Here, Todd Robbins holds forth, aided by a rotating roster of, “Freak of the Week” guest stars, every Saturday evening at 10:30. Robbins, a disciple of the late, great Melvin Burkhardt, the original “Human Blockhead,” brings his own charm and engaging personality to his menu of astonishing stunts that include eating glass, sword swallowing, fire eating, walking on broken glass, and the aforementioned “Blockhead” demonstration. A side show magic classic, the “Blade Box” is being readied for inclusion in the show. There is good reason that Robbins is considered one of the world’s premier exponents of the vanishing vernacular of the sideshow and dime museum. Patrons of his, “platform” are not only amazed, they are royally entertained by a winning showman.
At the Rainbow Room, high atop Rockefeller Center where spectacular views of the nighttime cityscape beckon from every window, all eyes and intellects are focused on the astonishing displays and erudite elocution of Jamy Ian Swiss. So that his audience can really get “up close” for his demonstrations of close-up mind bogglers, Swiss presents two shows each Wednesday evening at 7 and 9 o’clock to limited seating. The term card tricks, which are a feature of his performance, does not do justice to the miracles Swiss achieves. His entertaining discourse adds to the admiration that his astonished audience evince for his masterful display of sorcery like skill.
With these winning additions, can Tricky Tuesdays and Thaumaturgical Thursdays be far off? Check in at the Monday Night Magic website to find out what’s waiting in the wings.
—Richard Steven Cohn
Richard Steven Cohn has written for Genii, Magicol, M.U.M., The Yankee Collector, MAGIC, as well as magic themed articles for Brooklyn Bridge Magazine and Stagebill. He is a magical consultant for television and theater and performs both as a single and with his wife Alexandra.