It’s a tough love approach for the world of magic, from one of its biggest stars, who also happens to be one of its biggest fans.
Speaking about his new creation, “The Supernaturalists,” magician Criss Angel said he wanted to showcase a fresh take on the traditional magic show.
“I think for me, it’s taking magic and giving it a good kick in the ass, because magic has always been perceived as this kind of hokey, cheesy novelty.”
Putting a modern spin on an age-old art has been Angel’s style since he burst on to the scene with his “Mindfreak” TV special in 2002 and then his TV series for the A&E Network starting in 2005. The show was a hit and made Angel a household name internationally. He now performs daily at the Luxor in Las Vegas, where his show “Criss Angel Believe”—a coproduction with Cirque du Soleil—has been in residence since its 2008 premiere. On top of that, he has a second TV show on the Spike network, and a “Mindfreak Live” touring show that he does when “Believe” is on breaks. Angel, it seems, doesn’t like to rest.
“I work about an average of 16 or 17 hours a day, six days a week,” he said, “and I take a half day off once a week. I work constantly.”
Angel said he works so much in order to maintain the achievements that took him so long to realize.
“It took me 18 years to become an overnight success,” he joked.
His newest project, “The Supernaturalists,” is an endeavor he’s been working on for ten years, featuring nine magicians from around the world, handpicked by Angel.
“I kind of scoured the globe for the best of the best,” he said, “and I got people from Paris, France, a champion card manipulator, Stefan, who’s just brilliant. I went to Colombia and got Johnny Dominguez, who’s just unbelievable with these dogs and what he can do with them. From South Africa, the greatest mentalist of all time, Banachek.”
The show also features Spaniard Adrian Vega, The Great Maestro from Mexico, Fifi from the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Americans Landon Swank, Krystyn and Spencer Horsman. Horsman, an escape artist, has been seen in two viral videos recently, narrowly escaping death while performing “Submerge,” an illusion Angel created for him in which he’s shackled inside a water-filled glass cube, suspended high above the ground. Angel said that risk is part of his brand of cutting edge magic.
“A lot of these demonstrations,” he said, “because they really push the envelope so greatly, and they’re revolutionary, they have an inherent great sense of danger, and they really do have danger. So with Spencer, twice he got caught. And I was there thankfully and saw the tell tale signs and pulled him out.”
Angel won’t usually be at The Supernaturalists shows in the flesh, but as creator, he has had a hand in all aspects of the show. He hosts the two-hour performance through video screens, and will Skype in live to each show. He also promises to make surprise live appearances when his schedule allows, but he said the nine magicians he picked don’t need his help to perform their amazing illusions.
“I was able to find these people who were really open minded,” he said, “and have the talents and the chops to be able to pull it off, and they are doing just an incredible job.”
If you go, Angel promises a good time.
“You’ll see,” he said, “who I think are the nine most mind blowing magicians in the world, and you’ll see an incredible show that will delight, thrill, and excite the entire family.”
Criss Angel presents The Supernaturalists at Warner Theatre Tuesday, October 20 and Wednesday, October 21, 8 p.m. Tickets and info at www.warnertheatredc.com. To learn more about Criss Angel and The Supernaturalists visit www.crissangel.com/the-supernaturalists.
Warner Theatre: 513 13th St. NW, DC; 202-783-4000; www.warnertheatredc.com