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ILLUSIONIST Copperfield to mystify audiences in Cleveland



Published: Thu, April 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The magician says he draws inspiration from the silver screen.

David Copperfield has made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

Granted some might make the argument the government is also working on the same trick, with liberty that is, but to actually pull off such a feat is completely amazing. He's also mysteriously walked through the Great Wall of China and flown across the Grand Canyon. So where does he get the inspiration to dream up such inconceivable endeavors?

Sure, there are others out there, competitors if you will like David Blaine, but the silver screen is where Copperfield, arguably the greatest illusionist of the new millennium, finds his greatest challenges to surpass Hollywood's entertainment level. It's a tough task.

"But it's a good goal," Copperfield said calling from Las Vegas. "Whenever I see something really good quality, I really get depressed and say, 'I gotta get back to work.'"

Whether it's a classic ("Citizen Kane") or contemporary ("American Beauty") film, Copperfield appears to be infatuated with transcendent works of art that are spirits of their times. And in many ways, this progeny from New Jersey already has achieved such a status in his craft. Performing professionally at the age of 12, and the youngest person ever to be admitted to the Society of American Magicians, Copperfield was teaching a course in magic at New York University at the age of 16. Soon he caught the eye of CBS-TV and was befuddling audiences with mind-boggling feats in a series of television specials. His star has only risen since.

Evolving act

Considering he spends so much time on the road a year, averaging over 550 shows annually to sold out crowds, Copperfield said he's constantly changing his act, adding new illusions that usually require 24 months from conception to reality.

However, Copperfield isn't one to compromise his integrity for a cheap audience reaction. No, he's committed to taking his magic into different realms and universes other magicians never considered.

"My dream is to make people laugh and cry during the show and make them really get involved, and I do that by taking real dreams that people have and making them happen," Copperfield said. "The (audience sees) people experiencing things that they really want. It's not just a bunch of eye candy on stage for them to see, it's stuff for them to really feel."

So with that mindset, Copperfield has developed magical routines where an audience member vanishes from the crowd only to reappear in another location of their dreams for an improbable reconciliation with a loved one. Complex? Confusing? Unbelievable? Yeah, that's Copperfield.

Another popular trick, although Copperfield hates the term because his intention is for people to suspend their belief instead of being tricked, is The Lottery, where the entire audience helps predict the winning lottery numbers. Perhaps his upcoming Cleveland dates April 22 and 23 at the Playhouse Square Center's State Theatre should be considered a financial investment. Copperfield makes no such promises of riches or wealth, just an evening of magical and unbelievable entertainment.

Copperfield is well aware of his place among the great magicians of all-time. Still, there is one trick that he feels will solidify his status as the best ever.

Said Copperfield, "To be the guy who lived to be 150 years old."

Now that truly would be magical.




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