Big Magic Returns to New York with Rob Lake at Resorts World Casino
By: Ellis Nassour
New York’s never been a welcoming city for magic – the "big" kind that the likes of Criss Angel, Penn & Teller, Tommy Wind, David Copperfield, Lance Burton, Melinda [Saxe], and the amazing Fercos Brothers have made famous in Las Vegas, the unofficial Magic Capital of the World. That’s about to change.
Rob Lake, who at 25 became the youngest magician ever to receive the International Magicians Society coveted Merlin Award, magic’s highest honor, and hold the title of International Stage Magician of the Year, is bringing his acclaimed production A Night of Magic to Resorts World Casino [110-00 Rockaway Blvd, Jamaica, Queens; transportation options link below] in the 2,000-seat Central Park venue. Shows are at 7:30 and 9:30 P.M.
Lake’s spectacular illusions are on a grand scale. His show is transported in four semi-trucks and two buses for his cast and crew.
New York hasn’t seen anything like what he does since Copperfield brought his Dreams & Nightmares show to the Martin Beck [now the Hirschfeld] in December 1996. It was such a success, you wonder why other name magicians didn’t follow.
Two years ago he eliminated big cat routines from his show due to worldwide travel regulations. "However, I’ve had to keep one very wild animal," he points out. "It’s my canary, Elvis, who’s been a part of the show for 15 years!"
Among Lake’s grand-scale signature routines that captivate audiences are levitation, levitating a female assistant over dancing waters, levitating a female assistant and floating her through a burning hoop, and that old standby: sawing a nimble female assistant in half. For the latter, he adds an interactive twist: he asks audience members onstage to help him set the illusion up and to watch up close and personal.
Other signature routines are having a motorcycle disappear into thin air; and, on a grander scale, having a helicopter materialize. The latter illusion is dependent on the size and fly space of theatres/auditoriums.
"As much as possible, I try to make the show very audience interactive," he says. "It’s always fun to involve them because they know we’ve never met and I know nothing about them. That always amazes everyone all the more. And I get a huge kick out of their stunned responses."
An illusion that really put him on the map last year was when Caesar’s/Las Vegas invited him to launch a million dollar sweepstakes across their roster of casinos by making an armored truck filled with cash materialize.
Lake, who performs 90% of the year not only throughout the U.S. but also abroad [Australia, Europe, Japan], also does shows throughout the world for the U.S. military. He has recently returned from bases in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey.
The Oklahoma native was just home briefly for a visit with family and friends before getting the show ready to travel to New York.
He was greatly inspired by Branson, MO veteran magician Kirby VanBurch, "the Prince of Magic," who headlines "the world’s largest magic show."
"My parents took me to see Kirby when I was 10," states Lake, "It was edge of the seat magic. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Right then and there, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. And Kirby became a great mentor."
Lake not only makes magic, he creates it. He has designed illusions for stage shows across country and the globe, including over 500 productions of Disney’s musical Beauty and the Beast by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice; and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Hart’s The Phantom of the Opera.
Tickets for Rob Lake’s A Night of Magic, which is suitable for all ages, are $20-$40 and available at www. rwnewyork.com or at Resorts World Casino. For access by automobile, subway, and shuttle buses [some from midtown Manhattan], call (718) 215-2828 or go online to www.rwnewyork.com/visit-resorts-world. For more information on Rob Lake, visit his official website and magic store at www.roblake.com.