From Vegas...


By • Jan 23rd, 2001 •

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How does a woodcutter from Texas become a headliner in Las Vegas? It’s a touching story; one told with tears in his eyes by magician Steve Wyrick as he accepted the coveted Merlin award as The Magician of the Year from the president of the International Magician’s Society.

The occasion was the October 3, 2000 grand opening of his new show in the recently refurbished Sahara Hotel and Casino. The one-time convention magician truly has entered the big leagues. Playing in a new 27,000-square foot theater especially designed and built for Wyrick, he performs magic on scales both large and small.

From the time you enter the outer doors to the theater there is the feeling of being in an old airplane hanger. The floors are painted gunmetal gray, oil drums abound and sheet metal siding all set the environment. It is apropos as Steve Wyrick is known for making airplanes disappear – or in this case appear. From out of nowhere he appears on stage seated in a twin-engine Beachcraft Baron 58. His large-scale illusions involve some new twists on old themes. Instead of having the young female assistant sliced into two or three parts, later to be reassembled, Wyrick divides her into eight very small pieces. Each component is so small that even the most nibble person could not contort herself into one isolated section. Similarly, rather than facing certain death from a single rapidly rotating blade, Wyrick is threatened with six blades. Contact with any one of the blades would spell disaster, but as the audience gasps, he suddenly appears descending from a 40-foot Aerostar helicopter that is dangling from the ceiling. The illusion is appropriately called The Blades of Death Challenge. It is the same trick you may have seen when he performed it in Monaco on ABC’s Champions of Magic.

But the stage at the Sahara puts you in touch with the performance. There also is a more intimate form of magic. The problem for most magicians who do close-up magic is that only the people closet can see what is going on. Wyrick has overcome the problem by inviting witnesses on stage and then televising the handiwork onto a very large screen. This affords everyone the opportunity to observe what is happening. A real crowd pleaser was the levitation of a girl. Yes, everyone has seen this almost obligatory illusion and thinks they know how it is done. Wyrick’s difference was that the girl was only three years old. Most parents would like to learn how he managed a three-year-old to remain sufficiently still to accomplish this amazing act. Complete with bows, she executed like a professional.

Like many of today’s headlining magicians, Steve Wyrick started when he was very young. His grade-school teachers remember him giving performances for his enthralled classmates. By fourteen he was winning awards. After that came the woodcutter’s tale. To make ends meet, Wyrick both cut wood and performed magic. The story he relayed was that one cold winter day he delivered a load to a wise woman who asked him the most important question anyone could. “What do you want to do with your life?” she asked the astonished young man. He answered that he wanted to do magic. She advised him that cutting wood would not help him achieve his goal. That day he made the decision to commit himself to his life’s ambition. You should be glad he did for now you can see the fruits of his labor. It was equally refreshing to see a young star remember his roots and sincerely take time to thank a stranger who had influenced his life. Humility is missing in too many young people today. This is great family entertainment.

The new stage and large-scale illusions reported cost ten million dollars. When in Las Vegas I recommend you make time to see this rapidly rising star at the Sahara. There are two shows nightly, and dark on Tuesday. Tickets are currently $34.95. Sahara Hotel and Casino, 2585 Las Vegas Blvd. South. (702-737-2111).

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