Renowned magician to headline Steamboat is Magic show |

Renowned magician to headline Steamboat is Magic show

— A close-up magician is a different kind of magic.

There are no mesmerizing illusions, smoke or mirrors. It’s simply the entertainer, up close and personal, whose act specializes in sleight-of-hand and card tricks.

“When a magician is on a big stage in front of thousands of people, that’s quite of bit of space in between, but when you are closer to the magician it’s a lot harder because you can see every single thing he does,” said Scott Parker, executive director of the Chief Theater. “When a magician can fool people sitting right next to him or up close, that is absolutely amazing.”

This weekend, one of the world’s best magicians, Jon Armstrong, will headline the Chief Theater’s “Steamboat is Magic” show at 8 p.m. today.

After becoming the resident magician at Walt Disney World at 20, then acquiring his own show in Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Magical Empire, Armstrong has learned a thing or two about what it takes to make it in today’s world of performers and entertainers.

“To be a good magician, I think it’s a mixture of two things,” he said via phone Wednesday afternoon from Stockholm, Sweden, where he is currently performing. “One, it’s being able to be well skilled at one’s craft and two, to present in such a way that people are engaged and entertained.”

Armstrong, known for his role as chairman of the board of trustees for the Academy of Magical Arts, performs regularly at the exclusive showplace known as the “Magic Castle” in Hollywood and has performed for some of the most prestigious audiences in more than 30 countries worldwide. In addition, he has consulted with producers and directors for television shows like “Arrested Development” and movies such as “The Mentalist” and “Spiderman 3.”

“He is astounding with his outside-the-box performances, talent and overall knowledge of the business,” said Charlie Williams, one of the organizers who helped bring the “Steamboat is Magic” series to the Chief Theater.

As a source of unique family entertainment, the Chief Theater’s new “Steamboat is Magic” series started with the David and Leeman show in September. In time, it could possibly become a weeklong festival.

“The past magic shows we’ve had went really well with sold out shows,” Parker said. People loved it. ‘Steamboat is Magic’ has a really nice ring to it, and it’s fitting because this town really is, magic.”

Tickets for the 18 and over show are $10 and can be purchased online or at the Shoe Chalet and Boutique, next door to the Chief Theater.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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