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Big Daddy Cool
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Book Review: Theatrical Magic by John Pyka
From Wayne Kawamoto,
Your Guide to Magic and Illusion.

John Pyka not only knows magic, he knows theater. And his book, “Theatrical Magic” will make you think about the magic that you perform and inspire you to add meaning to it. I got a lot out of reading this book.
Where's the Meaning?
According to Pyka, unfortunately, too many magicians have shows that are nothing but a string of special effects, that has no meaning or relevance. This is one of the reasons why lay people often regard magic as a meaningless diversion (usually for children). And many magicians have only reinforced this notion.
Pyka defines “Theatrical Magic” as magic that is character and story driven and accomplishes several goals: 1) tells a story, 2) establishes or showcases a character, 3) solves a problem, 4) makes a statement, or 5) instructs and educates. His goal is to teach magicians to take magic that is often presented as a puzzle and turn it into theater and meaningful entertainment.

Throughout, Pyka discusses his character, Big Daddy Cool, and how he was developed, how he works in a show and how the effects support his character. Pyka also talks about his musical, “Swingin’ At The Roxy,” which featured songs, dance and magic and toured, nearly making it off-Broadway.

Not Routine
The book describes some excellent routines. Some, like the 21st Century Silks, were actually performed in his shows and allow Pyka to show how the trick was used with song and dance to develop a character and his relationship with two other characters.
Other routines are strictly in the design phase but show Pyka’s thought processes and how he would present an illusion or effect. I particularly liked his take on the “Origami” illusion. In Pyka’s hands, the stunning illusion becomes a story where the shrinking of the box and the swords serve as integral plot devices. These routines are only thoughts and ideas, but it’s a pleasure to get into Pyka’s mind.

Pyka also offers exercises on how to think about character and your presentation of magic. Most of the routines apply to stage shows and illusions, but there are some close-up discussions.

In “Theatrical Magic,” John Pyka offers considerable food for thought that can help improve your magic. This book, along with Ken Weber’s “Maximum Entertainment” (which Pyka recommends), should be required reading for all magicians.
-Wayne N. Kawamoto

MSRP: (US) $45

Dealers can purchase from Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc.
We'll catch ya on the Back of the Cereal Box!
John Pyka
Big Daddy Cool
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Here's another from

There is a distinct line between your average magic show and one of high quality theatrical production - and that is analytical thinking. John Pyka’s Theatrical Magic is here to help if you are itching to seriously take your performing to an entirely new level.

Focusing mainly on presentation and building character, this 175+ page book will help you refine your magic, really get to know who your character is, and bring it all together in a show that is theatrically logical.

John takes you step by step through the process of analyzing who you are and then how to develop or contort your current material to fit your show. It really is amazing to think of all the magicians who don’t do this. Seriously, pick up this book, do the included exercises, fix up your show, and become a hit; stop wasting time!

If you are a magic dealer and are interested in carrying this product, you can contact Murphy’s Magic Supplies at 916 853 9292 or visit them on the web at
We'll catch ya on the Back of the Cereal Box!
John Pyka
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You should have attached these to my review of the book, some get upset if not all together.
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The link to that review thread is here:

And if anyone wants a free sample of the book, it's here:
Leaping Lizards!!! Who knew it was possible.
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