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The Power of Illusion

Kevin Spencer has been fascinated by magic since he was a child and now he is an international entertainer. Photo courtesy Spencers Magic
TimesLedger Newspapers

David Copperfield, step aside. For 20-plus years, husband and wife performers and illusionists Kevin and Cindy Spencer have been famous for bringing their unique entertainment style to the magic-deprived. The duo’s mind-boggling, fast-paced, state-of-the-art illusions have had audiences from Las Vegas to Taiwan wondering: “How’d they do that?”

And now Spencers Theatre of Illusion is headed to Bayside for their first-ever Big Apple magic show at Queensborough Performing Arts Center on Sunday, May 13.

Forget those old school, magic wand-waving, pulling a rabbit out of a hat tricks.

You can expect a suspense-filled, interactive, high-tech experience that will make Houdini roll over in his grave — packed with lots of drama, a dose of comedy and even a little romance. Is it reality or illusion? You’ll decide.

The Spencers, who call their production Theatre of Illusion because it’s a combination of their love for theater and passion for the art of illusion, said in a recent interview, “There are so few entertainment options in today’s society that the entire family can enjoy together.”

The wow factor

The family-oriented Theatre of Illusion will showcase some of the greatest magic stuff in the world “combined with all the wonderful elements of a Broadway production — lighting, music, movement and storytelling — to create a magical concert for your eyes. This is theater in the truest sense of the word,” said Kevin Spencer, who gets to live every boy’s dream of becoming a magician.

Always conjuring up new tricks and ideas, he said, “It’s definitely a collaborative effort. We work with leading inventors, creators, directors, writers and choreographers in our industry.”

The creative duo believes the real challenge is turning the ‘secret’ of magic into an entertaining presentation that raises the artistic level of magic. “For us, performing an illusion is as much a skill as a pianist who learns to play Rachmaninoff,” said Kevin Spencer.

Since Houdini, he said the art of magic has made great strides, with more magicians embracing technologies of the day rather than fearing them.

“But the evolution of the art has to be about creating new wonders that capture the imaginations of our audience and engage them emotionally and intellectually,” he said.

Early on in his career, Kevin Spencer discovered the healing powers of magic.

He was hurt during a bad car accident, suffering brain and spinal cord injuries that required him to spend several months in physical/occupational therapy. After his recovery, he worked with a group of therapists to find a way to make therapeutic exercises fun and motivating. A program was born — The Healing of Magic — used today in more than 2,000 facilities in over 30 countries.

“I have the privilege of training therapists around the world in the concepts of using simple magic tricks as a therapeutic tool,” said Kevin. This summer, in Ireland, he’s starting an extensive research project, helping people with hand injuries.

Hocus Pocus is another project developed by the Spencers to help students with educational challenges become excited about learning.

“By integrating magic tricks into core curriculums, students can tap into the creative process and learn facts and concepts they can see, touch, manipulate and talk about,” said Kevin.

To be a success as a magician, Kevin Spencer sought advice from his mentor, Doug Henning, the Canadian illusionist who pioneered the trick of cutting an assistant into thirds and reassembling her unharmed.

“Always be yourself,” Henning told him. “The audience will recognize a fake or a phony.”

According to the Spencers, who were recently named International Magicians of the Year and Performing Arts Entertainers of the Year (Six times).

“There are as many different types of magicians as there are dancers and musicians,” Kevin Spencer said. “A great magician is someone who is honest with his audience, performing because of his love for the art and his desire to take them someplace magical, where anything is possible.”

This season the illusionists are touring Spain, Italy, Turkey and the United States.

Based in Lynchburg, Va., Team Spencer started out as a show that could fit in the back of a cargo van but has grown into one of the largest touring illusion productions in the country, filling a 65-foot semi-truck and trailer.

IF YOU GO

Spencers Theatre of Illusion

May 13 at 3 p.m.

Queensborough Community College

222-05 56th Ave., Bayside, Queens

(718) 631-6311

www.qcc.cuny.edu/qpac

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