An interview with magician/comedian Fred Siegel

profile_41This summer Act II Playhouse is presenting Fred’s Magic World, an amazing and hilarious magic show, from July 9-12. The show’s creator and star, Fred Siegel, answered a few questions about the show, his collaborators, and his life in magic and comedy.

Why will audiences enjoy Fred’s Magic World?

Our show has something for everyone. There are funny parts, serious parts, and spooky parts. Our audiences not only have fun, but leave the theater thinking.

How is it “not your typical magic show?”

We don’t embarrass the audience or insult their intelligence. No fake-looking boxes, no lasers, no smoke, and no jokes at the audiences’ expense.  Also, this show is intimate–we are sharing something fun and mysterious, but also rather personal.

How did you get involved in magic?

I saw a girl turn into a gorilla at Million Dollar Pier in Atlantic City when I was 8 years old.  That clinched it.  Magic is a lifelong passion for me, and it will never stop. The idea behind Fred’s Magic World was born a little over 20 years ago, when I was working towards my Ph.D. in Performance Studies at NYU. During the summers, I worked ten hour days as an ‘inside talker’ and magician at Bradshaw’s Circus of World Curiosities, a Coney Island freak show. I received my Ph.D. in Performance Studies from NYU in 1993. My dissertation is entitled “The Vaudeville Magic Act:1880-1932.” A copy was once sold on eBay.

You blend magic and comedy, and are a veteran of Philly’s ComedySportz. How are magic and comedy similar?

I guess both of these kinds of performance depend on managing the expectations of the audience–leading them down a clear path and then delivering the unexpected.

Tell me about the other three people in the show.

Gail and Deborah Rosen (“The Rosen Sisters”) are award-winning psychic sisters. They perform amazing feats of memory and are proud winners of a MAES (Magicians Alliance of Eastern States) mentalism award. Gail and I are married. Eric Van Wie is a Shakespearian actor, escapologist, and comedy chameleon who portrays a variety of bizarre characters in this show. Eric and I met in Comedy Sportz. He worked his magic on Deborah Rosen, and now they are married. We are a magical family.


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