Sometimes a little magic can create “Miracles” resulting in some big wins in one’s life.
That’s the way it happened for acclaimed magician Drake Deven, who received the first-ever coveted Merlin awards for Magician of the Decade and Corporate Magician of the Decade at the 54th Annual International Magic Society’s (IMS) Banquet held at The Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas this past May. As well as being bestowed with two awards, a feat unmatched to date, he was the only entertainer asked to perform for the esteemed international audience of his heavyweight peers and other dignitaries in what was the first time the IMS ever hosted a live stage presentation.
During his 30-minute performance, Deven, who was born in Boston but has been a Las Vegas resident for over 20 years, produced a beautiful woman from a floating wooden box, defied gravity with a glass of water, made a solid glass pitcher explode with only his mind, and made a female volunteer from the audience float in midair. Currently working on a new version of his wildly popular stage show “Miracles” for the Las Vegas market, Deven, who has earned the nickname “The Lord of Illusion,” continues to transform the magic landscape with his unique creativity. Bottom line: he never puts himself in a box.
“From the early childhood beginnings of my love of magic, I always wanted to do something different,” Deven reveals. “I wanted to take an idea from scratch and build it up so that it would be solely mine. I liken it to a piece of clay because you can mold from it something that doesn’t exist. A lot of magicians start with a standard illusion used worldwide and redress it. That’s not what I wanted to do.”
“I felt a vast amount of emotion when I received the two Merlins,” he continues. “I felt overjoyed, honored, and humbled. Although I have gotten awards before, nothing compares to this. The Merlin is the most prestigious award in magic – it’s to a magician what an Oscar is to an actor. It has been given to David Copperfield, Doug Henning, Harry Blackstone, Penn and Teller, Siegfried & Roy, and Criss Angel, among others. And this is the first year they ever awarded a Decade honor along with the Year awards.”
The self-taught Deven calls himself an all-around practitioner who specializes in stage magic. He says his signature is his unique take on grand illusion but he does everything – closeup, stage, and mind-reading. His road has been to take in as much about the artform and what surrounds it as much as possible. He’s also gone outside of that circle and studied dance, acting, and public speaking so that he could be a total entertainer.
“To excel in your particular genre, you have to have to know everything about it,” Deven expresses. “I like to keep on track and keep my blinders forward, so to speak. I do go to other magicians’ shows but I don’t go to dissect what they are doing. I go for the love of magic. I have also created illusions for other attractions and shows and theater. I can get an idea in a minute or one can take 10 years to realize. Sometimes an idea just comes out of nowhere and hits me like a ton of bricks. But, to me, nothing is ever hard. I always feel like it’s day one and I’m like a new baby excited to do something new or to reimagine something.”
Deven’s foray into magic began back in Boston when his dad took him to a magic shop and bought the young enthusiast, whose passion had been ignited by watching the movie “Houdini” starring Tony Curtis, a magic kit off the shelf. While, from that, Deven basically taught himself the art. he had a few mentors here and there along the way. As his journey progressed, he discovered TV magicians and watched them, learning from them. He also joined a local club of magicians that put him in the magic environment, He began doing local gigs at schools and nursing homes for no pay. At his first one, an agent spotted him and subsequently got him his first paid gig and a spot on local television.
By the time Deven was a teenager, he was already performing professionally on stage and on television. He was one of the youngest members of the very prestigious organization called the Society of American Magicians and was one of the youngest performers to hit the Las Vegas stage as well as one of the youngest performers to be featured in New York’s famed Studio 54 during its heyday.
Before his 20th birthday, Deven had already achieved monumental accolades in the magic world. He also had great financial success within the show business arena and had worked with such legendary stars as Tom Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., and Vic Damone, all while touring the country and performing in such entertainment hotspots as New York, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas.
Deven continued his early career by starring in a year-long production show aboard a cruise ship, then followed that with non-stop years of performing his magic and grand stage illusions in notable theatrical venues, casino showrooms, at high-profile corporate events, and on national and international TV appearances. Eventually, Drake produced and starred in his own hit show, “Miracles,” which has appeared for years in different casino venues.
Just what will the talented Deven be pulling out of the hat next? He is expected to make two major announcements momentarily. And, oh, you can bet that there will be no rabbits involved. Just more “Miracles.”