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Topic: Interested in Putting together a Stage Show
Message: Posted by: l2andall (Jan 2, 2007 12:55AM)
Hey, I wasn't sure exactly where to post this, there doesn't seem to be a "General Stage Show" thread, so I decided this would be best. If it isn't, then please move it to the correct place!

So, I'm in college, and we have a very small magic club. There are only a couple of "experienced" magicians (and by that I mean we have done a limited number of paid performances), but we thought it would be pretty cool if we could get a Stage Show together. We don't really have any funds available, except for what we would choose to buy ourselves. I have a couple effects that I know would work fine on stage such as Vanishing Bandanna, but I was wondering if you guys could give me some general tips, tricks, guidelines, anything on getting it started!

Some information that is probably needed:
The 'stage' we have in mind is not large at all. Probably around 50 people would be able to see the show.
I think we all agree that a comedy magic show would be best.
I have a nice sound system that we can use, so music tips would be great too.

I can't really think of much else, but I'll be checking the thread for any questions! Thanks in advance!
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Jan 2, 2007 01:51AM)
If you're looking to perform comedy magic, do NOT purchase tricks that advertise themselves as "comedy magic." You'll see that most everyone agrees on this over in the Comedy Magic section of these forums. Other than that, just start compiling effects that play for a large audience, see where you're at, and then work from there. For only 50 people the effects do not even have to be that large.
Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (Jan 2, 2007 02:35AM)
Use the resources you have at hand. If your College has a Theater department, you might consider taking elective courses in Theater. Even if it isn't your major, theatrical training will be valuable for staging the kind of shows you are talking about. Improvisation, stage management, things like that all come to mind. Also look at the theatrical clubs and societies on your campus.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Jan 2, 2007 07:08AM)
Here's how Jim Gerrish gets his Wiz Kids (most of whom are raw beginners and only know one trick) to put on a show.

The most experienced person in the group will be the Master of Ceremonies (MC) and introduce the other acts. That person usually has an act of his own that is presented next to last. In addition, he has MC tricks that he can perform while one act is clearing off and the next act is setting up.

Act 1 : Introduction of all the magicians (Wiz Kids in this case). It is usually done to music, and differs from season to season, but as an example of one past Introduction Act- Jim had all the Wiz Kids hold six inch cube (cardboard) Mirror Boxes, each painted a different color to match his T-Shirt (one wore red, one, orange, one yellow,... all the colors of the rainbow). In unison, they all showed their boxes empty. Then each person produced a string of banners the same color as the box. The MC brought a child up out of the audience, and the banners were draped on the child, whoi only had to stand there with his arms out. Then the person on one end of the line with the red box pulled a purple banner up from his box (but not out). The person with the purple box (on the other end of the line)looked surprised, and pulled what apparently was the other end of the banner from HIS box, and the two of them had a tub of war with the banner, which the Kid with the purple box won by pulling his banner all the way out of the box. Then the Kid next to him (with the blue box) began pulling a red banner out of his box. The Kid with the red box apparently grabed the other end and finished the tug of war by pulling the red banner from his box... and so on. At the end, they all put all the banners that has been produced together and turned them into a six foot rainbow silk. The music ended, they bowed, and then two of the kids hung the six foot silk on a backdrop. End of act.

MC performed a short trick while doing a newspaper tear with what was apparently the list of what was supposed to happen in the show. He acted as if he were nervous and the paper got ripped up as he gave some information about the group and mentioned that each Wiz Kid performed a different act, etc. When it came time for him to introduce the first act, the paper was ripped to tiny pieces, so he quickly restored them and then read off the name of the first act.

So that's how the show went- MC introduction, then each Kid got to perform his specialty act- usually a routine of three to five tricks. The Wiz Kids have a Wiz Kid Escape Artist, a mentalist, a clown, a dove magician, and so on. That way the acts look different and no one ever repeats another person's tricks. They usually put the newest member of the group as the SECOND act, so the audience has seen some good magic and a lot of funny stuff and are in a good mood. They tell the audience this is his first show, etc, and "help him out" by laughing at his jokes, leading the applause, etc.

The Third act is a strong act with big flashy stuff... just in case the beginner wasn't very good. The guy in that position has to recover the audience... just in case.

As mentioned, the MC is the most experienced, and usually (but not always) has the biggest and most flashy act which he presents next to last. This was usually an illusion act of some type, with the other Wiz Kids acting as his assistants.

The very last act was almost always a juggling exhibition (all the Wiz Kids are trained to juggle), with members of the audience being taught to juggle scarves and then brought up to join the Wiz Kids for the "Grand Finale."

This is a description of a typical show from a past season. Every season, they switch up and have a new Introduction and Grand Finale, plus individual kids will have gone on to other specialties or come up with a whole new routine for his specialty. They take each show on the road and perform it ten to twenty times during school vacations, so they get plenty of experience performing and also packing up, setting up, acting as stage hands and assistants for one another, working the lights, sound system, playing musical accompaniement, and the whole shebang.

Feel free to use as much or as little (or none at all) of the above ideas, and good luck with your show!
Message: Posted by: Mark Wilden (Jan 2, 2007 11:06PM)
Wow - The Wiz Kids sounds great! Too bad there isn't one for adults!!
Message: Posted by: l2andall (Jan 3, 2007 01:19AM)
Wow, that is an amazing concept you've explained Spellbinder! I love how it really divides up the workload, but still lets everyone work together. I'll have to run that by the club, and see what they think of it! Thanks!

Brian and DStachowiak, thanks for your tips as well! I don't have enough space in my schedule this year (freshman year = boring 'get what you can' classes), but I have definately considered getting involved with the theater department in some way. Also, thanks for the tip on Not purchasing "comedy magic"!
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 13, 2007 08:25PM)
Try the category Grand illusion. Then you can work backwards from there by following posters that write about what interest you.

Good Luck!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: MagiCanada (Jan 14, 2007 12:30PM)
Hi l2andall.

Years ago I went on a trip with the local magic club (here in Canada) to a small magic convention in Washington. It was a 2 day event which of course included a magic stage show.

I was truly amazing that one magician performed for about 20 minutes and his only "magical device" was SLUSH POWDER. It was great. It had lots of audience participation and it was FUNNY! If you use your imagination and a 5 dollar container of slush power you can put on quiet and impressive and entertaining stage act.

Spending a few dollars on slush powder is a LOT less than you could spend on other items but it really PLAYS BIG. Highly recommended.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Jan 19, 2007 05:22AM)
If one of the members have Mark Wilson's Course In Magic, try looking for some stage illusions you can put together easily.