Now you see it, now you don’t.
While you may be wondering exactly what the “it” refers to in the case of “The Naked Magicians,” Chris James, Andrew Goldenhersh, and Jason Baney, who will appear at the intimate Tommy Wind Theater at 3765 Las Vegas Boulevard from October 17-31, one thing you can definitely be assured of – there is absolutely nothing up their sleeves when it comes to their illusions because their magic isn’t “dressed,” either.
The bare facts are that while the three magicians will be clothed – at least for most of the evening -- the point of their performance is that the magic they will be presenting is “naked,” meaning that it is organic -- stripped of smoke and mirrors and big props. Rather, it is sleight-of-hand illusion with the objects being used sitting out in plain view for folks to see as they enter the theater. But lest you be momentarily disappointed, the “thread” of the show is the guys making playful bets with a cocktail waitress, played by improve performer and comedienne Emily Lauren Sanders, to get her to remove her clothing in a unique game of strip poker while they perform unbelievable and impossible close-up magic. In the end, the tables turn (she wins) and the guys lose their clothes in a fun, surprise way, giving the title “The Naked Magicians” a whole new meaning.
“We do extraordinary magic with ordinary objects,” says Andrew Goldenhersh. “We use everything from cards and coins to fruit and other small objects. I have a deep affinity for coins, for example, but the three of us all have different specialties We do some ensemble pieces and some solo sets and our closer is the first-ever three-man cups and balls routine with martini shakers, bottles of alcohol, and vanishing balls.”
As a little bit of background on the trio, Britain’s Chris James is the only magician in history to have entertained The Queen of England and the United Nations in the same year. He’s performed since the age of five, has a degree in Psychology, and is an award-winning magician and author. Lance Burton called him a “genius.” James specializes in sleight-of-hand with cards and also in mentalism.
Las Vegas resident Jason Baney is a creative manipulation artist and card-thrower. He starred in Sin City’s longest running daytime show “Viva Las Vegas,” co-starred in “The World’s Greatest Show” for three years and has performed for fans of all ages throughout Europe and Asia.
As for Goldenhersh, he ranks among today’s elite masters of magic, drawing acclaims nationally and internationally. He has received accolades from the prestigious Academy of Magical Arts and is the only magician to have been nominated for both “Close-Up Magician of the Year” and “Parlour Magician of the Year” 12 years in a row. Having won the award in 2009 and 2010. Goldenhersh, who is based in L.A. has entertained celebrities including: Johnny Depp, Ringo Starr, Pink, Rod Stewart, and more. Andrew is also the creator of a piece in David Cooperfield’s current show in Las Vegas.
“The Naked Magicians” was created and first produced by illusionist/writer/choreographer Charles Bach in 2006 at the Hudson Backstage/Comedy Central theatre in Los Angeles. Charles has combined the fun elements of Magic meets “The Rat Pack” meets “Blue Man Group” meets “James Bond” meets “Burlesque” meets Strip Poker and “The Full Monty” for an entertaining, funny, sexy show.
“I’ve known Charles for many years,” explains Goldenhersh. “In 2004, I was living in Korea Town in L.A. when he called me and explained his concept. Two years later, we mounted it in L.A. Charles chose the talent. I knew Chris from the Magic Castle – he is from the U.K. and lives in Windsor near Windsor Castle. Jason and I both grew up in St. Louis and met at an old time magic shop. We got to know each other then. Years later, he moved to Las Vegas and I moved to L.A. The concept for the show was born around the fact that we all have different specialties but we are all attracted to a more organic style of magic.”
Interestingly, magic was just a hobby for Goldenhersh growing up. Although he got his first magic kit at the age of seven and performed at his five-year-old sister’s birthday party, his main focus was on music -- the classical piano, to be exact. He also studied theater and debate in high school and classical guitar in college. (In fact, in one segment of the show, he will be accompanying Baney on classical guitar as Baney does a card manipulation.) Midway through college, an old friend got him into juggling, which brought him back into the magic shops again. There he met close-up magicians doing unique things he couldn’t learn elsewhere.
Goldenhersh was actually headed to law school when he decided instead to become a professional magician. With his father being a judge in the Illinois Court of Appeals, his grandfather being a Chief Justice in the Supreme Court, and his sister being a lawyer, it seemed like the natural path for him to follow. But he gave that up to make magic his fulltime career. The beauty of an illusion that he saw on a Doug Henning TV special in which Henning was sitting on the stage with an eight-year-old boy, a half dollar, and a pocket mirror, making the coins multiply, still sticks in his mind today.
During his years of studying classical guitar, Goldenhersh developed great finger dexterity and finger independence, which helped him greatly in his new vocation. It gave him the ability to teach himself very refined and complex manipulations as well as the discipline to spend tedious hours creating his unique style of magic. Audiences will witness him doing strange things with coins as well as an old East Indian Hindu Fakir stunt involving needles.
“I’m a strong believer that the magic we do should come from who we are,” he maintains. “I will be presenting some unique original pieces. I also like to take classics and give them my own twist. I’ve always strived for my magic to be personality-driven. It’s intimate close-up magic that is more about the person before you and not about big boxes. It becomes much more interactive. The beauty of ‘The Naked Magicians’ is that audiences not only get to see extraordinary magic but they get to know three unique characters. Plus, there’s comedy woven in – it’s not all serious.”
And that’s the naked truth!