Comedy-Magic Show to Open Festival01-29-2013 02:00 pm
When it comes to magic, Justin Willman is no cupcake.
That’s what those attending the 2013 Viaero Great American Comedy Festival in Norfolk in June will find out for themselves.
Willman — who has been described by the Los Angeles Times as “a new breed of magician who’s making magic cool again for grown-ups” — has also served as the host of “Cupcake Wars” on the Food Network for the past eight seasons.
He’ll be one of three magicians who will help kick off the 2013 festival at the Johnny Carson Theatre in Norfolk on Wednesday, June 12, at 7:30 p.m.
Performing with him will be comedy-magicians Danny Cole and Mike Caveney. All three were selected by Richard Barrett, manager of the famed Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
“I think this will be a really well-rounded show with talent at a world-class level,” said Barrett, who also serves as a judge of the stand-up comedy competition at the festival.
Willman has made multiple appearances on the Ellen Degeneres show and recently performed on “The Tonight Show.” He performs anywhere from the back of a trendy Los Angeles comic book shop to huge theaters across the nation.
He also has performed — and received a standing ovation — from President Barack Obama after a private performance at the White House.
“He’s a very charismatic entertainer,” Barrett said.
Barrett said Danny Cole is a great illusionist with original tricks. He performs a silent act that separates himself from other magicians. “He’s special,” Barrett said.
Cole grew up in Los Angeles and began to study magic at the age of 10. Under the tutelage of magic teacher Loren Christopher Michaels, he simultaneously learned contemporary approaches to sleight of hand as well as ways to research and develop entirely new systems of deception.
In 1996, at the age of 17, Cole won the prestigious Lance Burton Teenage Stage Contest held in Las Vegas, and the following year Burton featured Cole's act on his NBC television special. In 2004, he starred in an hour-long magic special called “THEM” on NBC.
Barrett said he and Derek Hughes — who performed at the festival’s 2012 magic show — have watched a video of one of Cole’s tricks repeatedly. “We still can’t figure out how he does it,” Barrett said.
Mike Caveney is a magic historian who has won every magic-related award possible and “is revered around the world,” Barrett said.
A performer for more than 40 years, Caveney is a member of the most prestigious group of magicians in the world — The Inner Magic Circle of London. He was “stage magician of the year” by members of Hollywood’s Magic Castle.
He was featured on A&E's “Story of Magic” and NBC's “The World's Greatest Magic” special. He’s also published more than 50 books on the theory, history and practice of magic.
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Want to learn more?
For more information about the festival, go to www.greatamericancomedyfestival.com. Tickets for the 2013 festival will go on sale in early April.