Springfield marks start of national tour for ‘The Illusionists - Magic of the Holidays’

The Clark State Performing Arts Center (PAC) is offering an early holiday gift, one where you truly won’t know what’s under the wrapping until it’s before your eyes, if you can even believe them.

“The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays” will launch its national tour here with a special show combining five of the top illusionists working today and reflecting their feats in the festive mood of the season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the PAC’s Kuss Auditorium.

The show is appropriate for all audiences, and tickets are still available.

A PAC favorite act in prior years, this is The Illusionists’ first time here since 2019, and is the group’s first national tour since the pandemic ended their previous run prematurely in 2020. That layoff period has only built up the new ideas and anticipation for the show according to Paul Dabek, known as The Trickster and the show’s emcee.

“There’s no industry that was hit by the pandemic like the live entertainment industry. We’ve been chomping at the bit to get back and audiences have as well,” said Dabek, who has been practicing his craft since age 4 in a top hat and cape made from a blanket with an audience of his parents in his living room.

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Being able to amaze audiences with the stunts and illusions adds even more to the anticipation at having it back.

“We have a basic human need to experience wonder,” Dabek said of the show’s popularity. “Today, things are so easy with the touch of a button or the click of a mouse, there’s still things you can’t explain. So it’s wonderful to have a show themed for the holidays with children coming to see the magic.”

His Trickster character brings a sense of mischief, a dose of tongue-in-cheek humor, comedy and audience participation. He especially enjoys involving the kids.

While he didn’t want to give away any hints of the show’s content, Dabek did tease he and his fellow Illusionists – known as The Deceptionist, The Unforgettable, The Manipulator and The Mentalist – love coming up with new effects and incorporating the holiday feel.

“It’s like a holiday party full of friends with that visual wow and head-scratching factor, leaving you amazed with the warm and fuzzy holiday spirit,” said Dabek.

Although this will be his first time in Springfield, Dabek, who is from the United Kingdom, likes touring to discover the U.S.’s many small towns and their unique charms. He knows Springfield has a longtime association with The Illusionists, going back to 2015.

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While the show is about the holidays, it will take place on election day, causing Dabek to joke about stage performers being wise not to bring up politics or religion in their acts. But that’s where The Illusionists provide the right outlet.

“Magic is a great escape, leaving behind whatever you’ve been dealing with in life and feeling like a kid again,” he said. “That’s where the show works, it’s for all ages. You can go as a date night, for grandparents to take the grandkids or even go alone. Magic is a universal language that transcends with this group of incredible performers who work in all genres of magic.”

HOW TO GO

What: The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, Kuss Auditorium, 300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: Tuesday, Nov. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Admission: $43 and $58

More info: pac.clarkstate.edu/shows/2022-2023-season/

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