Lance Burton Master Magician
By Nick Anis
What does a six-year-old boy born and raised in Louisville Kentucky grow up to become? After being chosen from the audience to participate in an illusion at a Christmas party magic show Lance Burton was bit by the magic bug.
According to his memoirs, (published in a full color booklet and his marvelous website: http://www.lanceburton.com ) when-six-year old Lance Burton "bolted up onto the stage, the maestro, performed a trick known as The Miser's Dream. He seemingly pulled silver dollars out of his bewildered, impressionable assistant's ear. "Wow!" Lance thought, "What a great way to make money and people like you, too."
The hook was in. From that moment on, he knew what he wanted in life and nothing would deter him from it. In his early years a neighbor gave him his first magic book, Magic Made Easy. He received magic sets such as TV Magic Cards from TV pitchman, Marshall Brodien, as Christmas and birthday presents, and he earned money performing magic shows for neighborhood children.
Lance spent all of his allowance, performance, and chore money buying all the latest wonders at the local Magic Shop in Louisville. The boy's zeal and perseverance did not go unnoticed.
When Lance entered his teens Harry Collins, a professional magician in Kentucky noticed the young boy's intense devotion to magic and became his mentor. Under this expert and wise tutelage, Lance learned both the fundamentals and techniques of essential magic skills such as misdirection, sleight of hand, and manipulating playing cards.
Lance was deeply influenced by his mentor's traditional approach to magic. By age 14 Lance was dressing in tails and acting as a gentleman when on stage just as Harry taught him.
In 1977 at age 17, Lance Burton, junior magician entered his first competition at a convention and was awarded first prize. In 1980 just prior to his 20th birthday Lance won the coveted "Gold Medial for Excellence" from the International Brotherhood of Magicians.
His next stop was Southern California which lead to his first appearance on the Tonight Show hosted by Johnny Carson.
Offers began to pour in. Lance wisely accepted an eight-week trial engagement at the "Follies Bergere" in Las Vegas and ended up setting many new records and performing the show for nine years. On July 10, 1982 Lance Burton won the "Grand Prix" award of the Federation International Societe de Magic in Lausanne Switerland and was recognized as a "World Champion Magician."
Lance appeared on "The Tonight Show" another nine times for a total of 10 appearances. He continued to receive more awards and favorable reviews. He also made several television appearances, including guest starring in a major television series, "Knight Rider," and a series of NBC specials. Lance has also performed for the Queen of England, and U.S. President, Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy.
Lance produced, directed and wrote his own show, which opened at the Hacienda Hotel in mid-1991. He played to a packed house for the entire run of the show.
In 1994 Lance Burton was given an offer he couldn't refuse by a group building the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. They offered to build him his own $27 million, 1,224-seat theatre to his own specifications, and give the magician a generous 12-year contract.
It is important to Lance that his show be in a continuous state of flux, as he dreams up and brings to reality his latest creations for generations of audiences to enjoy. His magical art provides him with a vast canvas on which to portray his skills and imagination. It has been truly stated that, "Lance Burton has sought out, found and brought back the lost classical soul of magic, and made it uniquely his own. And in this, he has no peers."
Burton's show prices are reasonably priced. Admission is $34.95 or $29.95 for the balcony, including tax. Shows are at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. The show is dark Sunday and Monday. Phone 702-730-7000 for tickets.
Every performance is little different especially the parts where Lance interacts with the audience and has children from the audience participate.Heres a synopsis of some of the illusions:
Space Ghost This is mystifying illusion that is a great show opener. A white ghost flies around the stage and theatre at great speeds. The ghost appears bright white against the darkness of the theatre and stage.
Picture Frame This is another great show opener. A picture of Lance appears and the real Lance Burton appears in top hat and exits down the stairs to the stage.
Championship Act This illusion is performed with doves, candles, cards and fire. It is one of the greatest greatest magic illusions in history and the one in which magic classicist Lance Burton won the World Championship of Magic in Lousanne, Switzerland. The full act is 12 minutes and will dazzle audiences with the quickness of his hands. It's an amazing piece of artistry.
The Six-pack He arrives on stage with his luggage a six-pack of magician's assistants. They appear out of a suitcase with help of the master magician. Next comes the dance of the brightly colored showgirls are dressed from different countries. It's an upbeat number and quickens the pace. He helps them back into the Red Road Box and they take off on Lance Burton Air. At the end they turn into doves and fly off.
The Floating Birdcage Lance floats Elvis the parakeet in a round birdcage as he is dressed in tuxedo. The birdcage floats a couple of feet away.
Monster Lance Burton comes out and climbs into a monster box as dramatic music plays. The fearless master magician in sunglasses climbs into the monster - watch and see what happens.
The Gramophone Watch and see what happens. Two of the dancers and Lance do a little number with a giant gramophone illusion.
The Vanishing Birdcage with children Lance invites the children in the audience onto the stage and they put their hands all over the birdcage and he makes it disappear. The children jump with surprise.
Levitations Lance does a racy levitation magic act. He and one of his beautiful female assistants are levitated to the ceiling and back in the supine position.
The Vanishing Corvette The Corvette appears to fly on stage and vanishes.
The Hangman Lance is taken to the gallows and is hung. Like a hero he reappears somewhere else.
The Burning Shoe is a gag trick and gets a good laugh. He perform it with a child from the audience. He make the child's shoe disappear in a trick where things go terribly wrong the shoe is burnt to a crisp. Lance tries to pawn it off and wipe it off but to no avail. He makes the shoe reappear in perfect condition and gives the child a magic kit.
Marie Antoinette The most elaborate number in the show with the Marie Antoinette gowns in the Hall of Mirrors from France. The six dancers are dressed in $6,000 gowns and dance about the stage until Lance disappears and reappears in the King's throne.
The Floating Car is when Lance says bon voyage to the audience. He says goodbye by driving a flying car.
Cast and Crew
Nick Anis is a computer and technology writer and the author of 24 books who also writes about travel, food & wine, entertainment, skiing and family recreation. He writes for Ziff-Davis, Microtimes, The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Travel Watch, TravelGram, and Restaurant-Row. He is responsible for the Restaurant Row Ethnic Dining Guide, co-published by the Long Beach Press Telegram. Nick is a member of the Computer Press Association, The International Food Wine, and Travel Writers Association (IFW&TWA), and the North American Ski Journalists Assn. (NASJA).
Nick can be reached at NickAnis@travel-watch.com, Phone: 909-860-6914, Fax: 909-396-0014.