I always love trying to figure out how things work. For example, if I’m watching a magic show – even though I enjoy the tricks – I like to try and figure them out. A few weeks ago I attended Chamber Magic, an exclusive parlor magic show performed by Steve Cohen, a.k.a. the Millionaire’s Magician, and tried to understand how he does his tricks but was left baffled and impressed. Most of the tricks were like nothing I’ve seen before!
A magician and mind reader, Steve Cohen holds his performances in an elegant suite at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Each show only allows 50 guests. To recreate the atmosphere of 19th century parlor performances, the audience is asked to dress in cocktail attire (which is fine by me – I love any excuse to dress up!)
I recently attended Chamber Magic and was blown away by the tricks and also found myself laughing constantly. Apparently, Cohen is also pretty funny and with ton of charm and poise. He seemed to be having fun and eager to entertain people. Before I start discussing the magic tricks, I wanted to mention that the room is pretty small and even though there are 50 people in the audience, the seats are arranged in such a way that everyone gets a great view. Here is an example of what the front of the room looks like, although this picture was not taken at the suite I was in: (There are only 4 rows; I sat in the third and saw everything perfectly)
A true entertainer, Cohen had some pretty wild tricks up his sleeves (literally!) For example, he took three rings from people in the audience and hooked all of the rings together somehow. He asked for someone to write down a city in the U.S. and without looking at the paper she wrote on, found it on the map. He also asked everyone in the audience to write some unknown facts about themselves and was able to guess many of them.
His most amazing trick was asking for people to write down their favorite drinks and then pouring some of those drinks from a tea kettle. People in the audience even tasted them to confirm that those are indeed the drinks.
So I was trying to figure out his tricks – could he have hidden cameras that taped what the audience were writing? If he did, then how could he see the feed? He was in front of the audience the entire time and unless he has tiny monitors implanted on his irises, there’s just no way for him to know. Or maybe he was reading what the people were writing from a distance and upside down? this might work if he was “mind reading” only a handful of people. But out of the 50 people in the audience he “read the minds” of about 30 people. As you can see in the picture below, there is no special equipment in the front that can help Cohen get access to the people’s writings:
It was just mind boggling…how can he do that??? Cohen claims that most of the magic happens in your head. I guess as a psychology grad from Cornell he has learned a thing or two about the human psyche and is using it to his advantage.
Cohen started doing magic tricks at the age of six and learned from his uncle (an amateur magician who was inspired by Houdini). He clearly has experience with sleight of hands and is also quick on his feet and able to improvise. He kept the audience in awe and laughter the entire time and made sure that almost everyone in the audience participated in one way or another. I left the show curious to see more.
Shows are 90 minutes long and are held Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm & 9pm; Saturdays at 2pm. Tickets are $75 general admission; $100 reserved premium first and Second row seating. All shows are held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel at 301 Park Avenue, New York. The minimum age requirement to attend the show is 10.
Click here to buy tickets to the show or call 866-811-4111.
All photos are courtesy of Steve Cohen (except for the one of the one row of seats which I took myself).
I was not compensated for this post. I received tickets.