World renowned magician Criss Angel chatted with Markos Papadatos about his upcoming “Mindfreak Live!” shows at The Paramount in Huntington, New York, on January 23 and 24.
These shows will be like a homecoming for Angel, since he was born at Hempstead General Hospital and raised in Elmont, Long Island, up until fourth grade, when his family moved to East Meadow. “This is amazing for me. I grew up on Long Island and that’s where the dream began, and that’s where everything started for me. It took me 18 years to become an overnight success. The last time I played in New York was on Broadway in 2001, so coming back there and living the dream is just amazing. All of my fondest memories of my family and my career and my trials and tribulations are from Long Island. That’s where it all started. Being part of the Greek Orthodox Church, performing for the church, performing in GOYA, in the Sunday schools and being an altar boy and going to all the festivals and Greek churches. My family continues to be a part of that community,” he said.
On the forthcoming shows at The Paramount, Angel said, “The Paramount is amazing. It is a fantastic venue. It is intimate, clean and state-of-the-art. I was offered to play larger venues, but I thought it would be much better to play a more intimate venue, that is next to venues that I would perform in growing up in Huntington. It is the perfect venue. People will see revolutionary, spectacular illusions performed on the stage and some close-up magic. It’s going to be a night to remember, at least for me.”
He added, “It is absolutely insane. You will see many illusions that you will never see any other magician perform on stage. This show is on a whole sophisticated level. It has comedy, excitement and a little bit of everything for the whole family. It is a crazy show. I am going to be performing the world record in an illusion called metamorphosis that Houdini made famous in the early 1900s. A lot of magicians have attempted it but nobody has ever performed it at the speed that I would perform it. The transformation takes place in literally one second.”
When asked about his inspirations behind his illusions, he said, “I always had these crazy dreams and nightmares. They are just things that I always wanted to see. I worked backwards, and I thought about what I wanted to accomplish, and figuring out methods to bring them to fruition. Sometimes, those methods can take 15 years.”
Throughout his career, the veteran magician has received many awards such as “Magician of the Year” an unprecedented six times, including from The Magic Castle; moreover, he is the youngest magician to be inducted into the prestigious International Magicians Society Hall of Fame. “There are a lot of moments that I am very honored to have had: to be the most-watched magician in Internet history with 300 million views, is really crazy. My one walk on water clip has been viewed more times than the following magicians’ best-viewed clips combined: David Blaine, Doug Henning, Siegfried and Roy, David Copperfield, Penn and Teller and Houdini. The fact that it has been viewed more times than all of those guys together is pretty mind-blowing,” he said. “My International Magicians Society Hall of Fame induction was crazy!”
Angel is an esteemed magician, writer, director, musician and even television star. He is the biggest name in the world of magic. His beloved series Mindfreak on A&E is the most successful magic show in television history, which has been viewed more than any other magic show ever. Each season is viewed regularly by over 100 million viewers, and it is broadcast in over 90 countries.
He shared that his inspiration is his Greek aunt, Stella, who had taught him a card trick in his early days, and the rest was history. “I became immediately obsessed with magic. That’s all I could think about and that’s all I wanted to do, so it started at a very young age,” he said.
For Angel, magic is a job and it is something that he loves to do. “I work about 18 hours a day and I have been doing that for many, many years. To get to the top is one thing, but to remain at the top, is even harder and you need to work harder at it. I do what I do and I take each show one at a time, and do the best show that I am capable of. Hopefully, they will be talking about it and telling all of their friends about it and want to come back and see it again,” he said.
Each day, Angel is motivated simply by his desire to remain the No. 1 magician in the world. “My show plays in 103 countries currently and I have been very fortunate to have the most-watched magic show in Internet and television history, with more views than anyone. I just love what I do, and I want to be the best at it. I try to work really hard and I surround myself with an incredible team of people. It’s the constant work ethic that allows me to continue to do what I do, at the level that I do,” he said.
Angel’s future is bright and he revealed that he has a long way to go. “I don’t rest on what I did yesterday. I am looking forward to accomplish new goals that I set. The fans, the Loyals, as I call them, have globally, given me this amazing blessing.”
The broadcast of his live “Building Implosion” episode drew a crowd police estimated at 50,000 to the venue in Clearwater, Florida, which is the largest crowd for any magician, thus rivaling the legendary Harry Houdini.
Regarding his plans for the future, he said, “I want to continue to perform. I am working on a new television series and many other projects. I also created and directed a new show that will come out in June. I am creating new shows that I am not even in. I have my live show and I have touring. I have too much work and not enough time in the day. I love being busy.”