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Viral magician talks ‘Magic in Real Life’ Tour, Netflix special (Includes interview)

On April 13, Willman will be performing his magic show at The Paramount in Huntington on Long Island. “I can’t play. It will be my first time there. I’ve heard it has a real intimate vibe,” he said. “I tend to style myself as equal parts magician and comedian. I straddle those lines and I am the avatar for those types of audience members, and the show acknowledges that. Hopefully, it has something for everybody.”

Willman continued, “I have an improv comedy background. My show is an all-ages tour, which is really exciting. It is not a kids show, but it is not adults-only. It is similar to my Netflix series, Magic for Humans, which appeals to a wide demographic. It is quite edgy, and it makes a great date night and a great family outing. Magic in real life is the most amazing type of magic experience.”

He added, “I am really excited to give people this full evening of having their brain handed to them. Letting go of all the suspicion and disbelief, and feeling like a kid again. There will be tons of audience interaction and participation, and there will be co-stars with me in the show. No two shows are ever the same and it’s about the people that I bring on stage. It is really exciting how powerful this little art form that I have chosen to pursue is.”

Willman listed world renowned mentalist Derren Brown as one of his heroes in life. “Derren is such a sweet and smart man. I got to meet him and have lunch with him and he is such a great man,” he said.

Other influences for him in magic include such superstars as Lance Burton, Jeff McBride, Criss Angel, Johnny Thompson, and the late Eugene Burger, among others.

For young and aspiring magicians, he encouraged them to “perform as much and as many places as possible.” “There is nothing more valuable than stage time. You need a lot of trial and error to find your own voice and hone your skills. That way, you can become a better performer,” he said.

Digital transformation of the entertainment business

On the impact of technology and streaming services on the entertainment business, Willman said, “Netflix has been a fantastic opportunity for magic and especially for magicians. When you are in a mood for it, you just want to watch magic for two or three hours.”

Willman noted that he likes to use technology as a “red herring” in his magic sets to make them think that his trick is done with some sort of WiFi gadget or an app on his phone, and lead them down that path, and then flip the script on them and pull the rug out. “It actually blows the mind harder,” he said. “Technology is our competition and phones can do ‘magical’ things. I like to use that as a selling point and as a part of the presentation.”

He defined the word success as “happiness and fulfillment doing what you love.” “I think the greatest failure is unhappiness: making a lot of money and having success in a field that doesn’t make you happy. What a bummer that would be,” he said.

To learn more about Willman’s upcoming magic show at The Paramount, check out the venue’s official website.

For more information on acclaimed magician Justin Willman and his magic, check out his official homepage.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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