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Topic: Questions on the musical "The MAgic Man" with Copperfield
Message: Posted by: Ben G (Nov 8, 2006 03:57PM)
I am trying to find some info on the musical "The Magic Man" starring David Copperfield.
Does anyone knows the name of the producers and writer of the show ?

In case someone has seen it, a review would also be nice.

Any info would be appreciated.


Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Nov 8, 2006 05:06PM)
Hi Ben,

If I were researching this subject, here's where I'd look:


Message: Posted by: Skip Way (Nov 9, 2006 09:15AM)
David Copperfield in [i]The Music Man[/i]? That's news to me. I just saw a stage version starring Tom Wopat of [i]Dukes of Hazzard[/i] fame and the show was outstanding. While Robert Preston will always be THE Music Man, it might be interesting to see a Copperfield version. Odd...while I have no trouble picturing Copperfield as a dancer and musician...I have a very difficult time seeing him in the roles of actor and vocalist. Mindsets...whatchagonnado? Anyone have any further info on this?

Skip :)
Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Nov 9, 2006 09:57AM)
Hi Skip,

It seems you misread the name of the show.

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 9, 2006 10:11AM)

apparently was a success.
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Nov 9, 2006 05:56PM)
I never heard of the musical The Magic Man.

Was it something trying to cash in on the popularity of Henning in The Magic Show?
Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Nov 9, 2006 06:35PM)
On 2006-11-09 18:56, CJRichard wrote:
Was it something trying to cash in on the popularity of Henning in The Magic Show?

Since both shows came out in the same year (1974), that's probably unlikely.

Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Nov 9, 2006 09:34PM)

"The Magic [b]Show[/b]" opened on Broadway on May 28, 1974 and was almost instantly a smash hit.

Copperfield was enrolled in college but left in the first few weeks (September?) because he was cast in the Chicago-based musical "The Magic [b]Man[/b]." The Chicago newspaper review you linked to was dated December 8, 1974.

Is it far fetched to think that somebody in Chicago could mount a show, with a coincidentally similar name, several months after a Broadway hit, to cash in on the popularity of the latter?
Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Nov 9, 2006 10:16PM)
Hi CJ,

To write, design, cast, and mount a new musical in that span of time seems a bit of a stretch to me. But if you want to know the real story, you can always check with mystery writer Barbara D'Amato.

Turns out she wrote the show with her husband, Anthony D'Amato (I wasn't holding out on you, Ben -- I just found out about it myself); the same team wrote another magic-themed musical, The Magic of Young Houdini, which had a successful run in Chicago two years later (I saw it twice!). Her contact info is at http://www.barbaradamato.com

Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Nov 10, 2006 08:07AM)
I didn't check with D'Amato herself, but in an interview or somewhere she says that Copperfield worked out most of the illusions for the show. If he was called in September, and the show was reviewed in December it would seem a lot of the show must have been put together within a very short time.

How soon after Stars Wars was a hit did the first space-themed ripoff appear on television screens? Same question with Pirates of the Carribean.

I've worked on musicals in amateur theater and once had a girlfriend involved in semi-pro summer stock. Pros working full time can put on a show quickly. Seems the show might have been about Houdini, so most of the plot was probably pretty well outlined.

Years ago, I wrote a few plays for children, which were produced locally. They weren't musicals, but they weren't too shabby. (One of them, "The Great Small King" was about young Arthur and a bumbling, magic-performing wizard named Merlin.) I could probably give you a decent script for a Houdini play in a few weeks and I wouldn't be working on it full time.

"The Magic Man" starring a college freshman might have been something of a hit in Chicago, but I'd never even [i]heard[/i] of the show until yesterday.

It could, certainly, be a coincidence that two musicals featuring young magicians just happened to appear six or seven months apart and the earlier of the two was a huge hit in New York before the second one had even been cast.
Message: Posted by: Tom Dobrowolski (Nov 10, 2006 08:26AM)
Regardless of whether it was the chicken or the egg...the show itself was great.

I remember going to see it with my family when I was 15 years old. I still have the porogram and autographed picture I got for David that day. Off the top of my head I can remember him performinmg the dancing cane, some card manipulations and a broom suspension. Very inspiring to a 15 year old "magician". It was a lot of fun !!
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Nov 10, 2006 08:27AM)
Doug Henning was doing his show (The Magic Show) in Canada since the holiday season of 1973 where it was called "Spellbound" a bit before it was moved to Broadway. He came to NY and announced his arrival by performing the sub trunk in central park on the news. :)

Anyway... the reviews for DC's show say it was a hit and ran for quite a while.
Message: Posted by: magic icebreakers (Nov 10, 2006 05:24PM)
I would have love to see Henning's. I wonder if there is any kind of archived footage?
Message: Posted by: Randwill (Nov 10, 2006 06:24PM)
"The Magic Show" is available on DVD. It is a re-creation of the Broadway show filmed at a live performance in Henning's native Canada.
Message: Posted by: SpellbinderEntertainment (Nov 12, 2006 04:08AM)
Actually, "The Magic Show" on DVD is not a recreation of the Broadway Show.

It is a later, far less impressive version, with some of the best songs cut, and the script totally re-written and huge plot changes made.

The female lead in the video could not really sing so they cut her music drastically, and they wrote a dreadful "better" song for the constantly-appearing assistant.

I too saw "The Magic Man" in the original Chicago run (actually saw it a few times) and in part it was written in reaction to the Canadian pre-Broadway version of "The Magic Show".

The bottom line is that both shows had pretty silly books and plots, but both shows catapulted their young leads on to magic stardom.

Feel free to write me off Café is you'd like more of my memories of either show.

Message: Posted by: Randwill (Nov 12, 2006 10:14AM)
I bow to your more complete knowledge on this. I saw "The Magic Show" on Broadway in the 70's and only just recently watched the DVD so I couldn't compare the two experiences very precisely.

In any case the DVD is as close a you'll get to seeing what "The Magic Show" was like.
Message: Posted by: Son of a Beat (Nov 23, 2012 02:39PM)
Short review by Larry Valentine, including basic synopsis and description of magic effects.

thanks to google!
Message: Posted by: gitty (Nov 28, 2012 05:13PM)
Son of a Beat,
thanks for the link!
Message: Posted by: MagicManCast (Aug 28, 2020 04:52PM)
Hi Ben!
I just saw this post and so registered just to post this response.

I was in the cast of The Magic Man in 1975. It was a musical written by Barbara and Anthony D'Amato. It was David Copperfield's first professional show. He was 18 years old and he played the character "Omar, the Magnificent." David created and performed all the special magical illusions. I, myself, under the name Ginger Bongle, played "Mrs. Gilbert." This might be hard to believe, but David sang and danced in 5 musical numbers. He was a joy to work with. The play takes place in Downtown Chicago in late summer of 1913. There were 3 acts with brief intermissions between each act. I do have the names and characters of the full cast. The musical director was Hans Wurman, the choreographer was Ronna Kaye. Directed by John K. Tammi. David was already well-known, but this show launched his career. I hope this gives you some information that you didn't already have. God bless you, I hope this has helped you in some way.
Message: Posted by: donsmagic (May 1, 2021 09:30PM)
John Tammi was my drama teacher at Hope College. He gave me posters of the show.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (May 2, 2021 10:51PM)
David’s performance in the local Chicago musical, “The Magic Man” led to his being cast in the TV show, “Magic At The Roxy” (Which s being shot in Chicago) with a group of some of the top magicians in the industry (Richard Ross, Shimada, Carl Ballantine, James Randi, etc.). He came to Hollywood a few years later armed with that footage from the TV show and started connecting with as many producers as he could, eventually landing a meeting with Joe Cates who was producing a special to introduce the stars of ABC’s new fall line up. Joe asked David what he would do and David started pitching ideas to highlight the stars and ended up with his first national special which was originally going to be called “Magic With The Stars” and at the last minute was changed to “The Magic of David Copperfield”. The rest is history.