Denver Magic Show
Jun 6, 2019
6 QUESTIONS FOR THE DENVER MAGIC SHOW
The Denver Magic Show has just completed their first year of performances. The premium magic show takes place on the first Thursday of the month in the Avenue Grill’s exclusive El Dorado Room. We caught up with the founders, Gregg Tobo and William Rader, to ask them six questions.
Congratulations on your one-year anniversary! How do you account for your longevity in the Denver market?
GREGG TOBO: I guess it’s because we are always striving to improve and grow the show. We’re constantly asking how we can create the best magical experience for our audience. We’re not content with just producing a good show – we want our audience to see the best magic show in Denver.
WILLIAM RADER: Like when we decided to move to the more exclusive venue that the Avenue Grill could provide. We knew we had a good show in the 99-seat theatre, but for show to be exceptional we realized that needed to perform in a more intimate setting, where a select audience can witness the magic from only a few feet away. As a result we've built a dedicated fan base and find new customers by word of mouth.
What do you do when you’re not performing at the Denver Magic Show?
RADER: Both of us work as full-time professional magicians. I specialize in performing magic for companies that want to draw a crowd to their trade show booth. Or want me to entertain their clients in hospitality suites or entertain their employees before or after a big banquet dinner.
TOBO: I work primarily in a theatrical setting, performing in theatre festivals and on stages around the country. Washington DC, New Orleans, Seattle, San Francisco, and Hollywood are some of the cities I’ve played.
Who is the show for?
TOBO: The show is for anyone who wants to experience magic as theatre, for anyone who wants to see magic under what we think are ideal conditions. The show is limited to 36 attendees. That means that everyone has a great seat and everyone can see the magic up close.
RADER: The show is really geared to a grown up audience. Not that the material is inappropriate for children [the show is 100% clean – Ed.], but this is professional caliber magic performed in a theatrical setting – we’re not going to make corny jokes to please the kids.
What was your impetus, one year ago, to launch a show?
RADER: As an entrepreneur I try to be sensitive to the needs of the market. I had seen magic doing well in other major cities: New York City has “Monday Night Magic” the longest running Off-Broadway magic show, Chicago has recently debuted a new space for the “Chicago Magic Lounge,” and Los Angeles has long had the “Magic Castle.” I could sense that Denver was ready for a monthly show of its own.
TOBO: Plus magic has been getting a lot of airtime on television with “Magic for Humans,” “Fool Us,” “The Carbanaro Effect,” and “America’s Got Talent.” So the timing was right for us to start a show. Although, I must say, it is much more fun to see live magic than it is to watch it on television!
How has the show evolved?
TOBO: The biggest evolution came when we moved from a 99-seat theatre to a 36-seat private room. Being in close proximity to the audience changes how we relate to the audience. So effects that played successfully for a big audience were set aside and we brought in new magic that would take full advantage of the new venue.
RADER: As full-time performers we have a lot of material to draw from. So it becomes a matter of experimenting to find the best magic for the space and to find the magic that resonates with our audience.
From where do you draw inspiration?
TOBO: From a variety of sources. I watch Broadway musicals to see how they structure their plots. I read Jorge Luis Borges to experience magic in literature. I listen to live recording of Sammy Davis Jr. to see how he builds his show. I’ll watch silent films to see how the actors express themselves without words. Or go to poetry slams to hear how to unleash the power of words. And occasionally I’ll even watch other magicians perform.
RADER: And there is also old books written by magicians in which they share the secrets of their craft. You can really go down the rabbit hole seeking the origins of a piece of magic. And sometimes you start off researching one branch of magic and then realize that the concept can be applied in a new way in a new context. So inspiration can take you in unexpected directions.