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The Illusionists – Witness the Impossible, the world’s best-selling touring magic show, will play the Straz Center’s Morsani Hall, May 26-31, as part of the Bank of America Best of Broadway Tampa Bay series.

The Illusionists – Witness the Impossible is produced by Simon Painter, Tim Lawson, MagicSpace Entertainment, Road Show Entertainment LLC and The Production Office. Conceived by Simon Painter, the show’s creative team also includes Executive Producer Tim Lawson, Director Neil Dorward and Creative Director Jim Millan.

Having shattered box office records around the world, The Illusionists – Witness the Impossible is now coming to captivate Tampa. This mind-blowing spectacular showcases the jaw-dropping talents of seven of the most incredible illusionists on earth. Full of hilarious magic tricks, death-defying stunts and acts of breathtaking wonder, The Illusionists has dazzled audiences of all ages. Creative Producer Simon Painter said, “We can’t wait to bring this electrifying show to Tampa for a truly entertaining experience for the whole family. The Illusionists is the most non-stop and powerful mix of outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on the live stage.”

The seven stars, each a master in their own field, are:

The Manipulator, Yu Ho-Jin. Considered a rising superstar in the world of magic, Ho-Jin was recently named the 2014 “Magician of the Year,” by Academy of Magical Arts and was the first Asian to win the Grand Prix at the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques, also known as the “Olympics of Magic.”

The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry. Described as Marilyn Manson meets David Copperfield, Sperry combines the art of magic with the macabre and is one of the top 10 most-Googled people, thanks to a legendary America’s Got Talent appearance.

Illusionists_copy1The Trickster, Jeff Hobson. Hobson is the epitome of glamour and showmanship. Don’t be fooled by his innocent appearance, he has audiences laughing long after the curtain goes down.

The Escapologist, Andrew Basso. Italy’s star escape artist, Basso considers Houdini his hero and is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular illusionists. He is the only person in the world to perform Houdini’s famous Water Torture Cell with absolutely no covers.

The Inventor, Kevin James. Known for innovative illusions, James is an inventor, comedian and collector of the strange and unusual. He is one of the most prolific inventors of magic in the world and has created some of the most celebrated illusions of the last century.

The Warrior, Aaron Crow. A strong and silent type specializing in weapon magic, Crow has mastered some of the most dangerous acts without saying a single word. Belgium’s international magic sensation and a first place finisher at the World Championships of Magic, he uses swords, paintball guns and powerful crossbows to keep fans on the edge of their seat.

The Futurist, Adam Trent. Trent shatters stereotypes and brings a new generation of magic to fans fusing technology, illusions, dancing and comedy with classic techniques.

I got a chance to speak to one of the seven magicians in this production, namely Jeff Hobson, who is known as “The Trickster.” The company was playing to packed houses in his hometown of Detroit when he spoke to me for this exclusive Hotspots interview.

Tell us about your role in the show.

I always thought, even as a child, that some people take magic a little bit too seriously. Cutting people in half…does anyone really believe that? Suspending the audience’s belief that something is actually happening is all well and good but that only lasts for a few seconds. My role is to bring people back to reality and say, “Hey, let’s have fun with this.” I perform comedy and magic so I say whatever you don’t laugh at, that’s the magic.

What’s unique about this show that sets it apart from anything else we’ve ever seen?

If you go to see David Copperballs or someone like that, you get one magician doing his stuff, Illusionists_copy2and that’s fine, but with us, so many different approaches collide. Since the seven of us are from all over the world, you get to see everyone’s take on the art.

What would you say to audiences to make sure they come see the show at the Straz Center?

You’ll never see a show like this ever again. This isn’t going to continue for very long on tour. This is the magic show for people who didn’t realize they liked magic. Plus, I have custom costumes with over 10,000 rhinestones on them. You have to see that! I’m Liberace incarnate!

The Illusionists – Witness the Impossible will play Morsani Hall, May 26-31. Performances are Tuesday – Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Regularly priced tickets are $56-$82, and may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at www.strazcenter.org. Handling fees will apply. 

For more information about the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts and its upcoming events, visit www.strazcenter.org. For more information on The Illusionists – Witness the Impossible, visit www.theillusionistslive.com.

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.