Sunday, June 02, 2002

'Abracadabra' adds big, beasty cats

By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Abracadabra returns in August, bigger and beastier. Last year's guest appearance by a Bengal tiger proved to be such a hit that this year's headliner will be Greg Frewin, who'll bring a near-menagerie to the Eden Park theater including a yellow tiger, a white tiger and black leopard that play major roles in his grand illusion act.

  • What: Abracadabra
• When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15-18
  • Where: Playhouse in the Park, Eden Park
  • Tickets: $35-$43, $15-$20 children ages 5-12 on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, call 421-3888. Tickets to Friday gala $150-$250, call 345-2242.
  • Also: AbraKIDabra magic workshops, grouped by age and skill level, 10 a.m. and noon Aug. 17. $18 (does not include performance). Suggested for ages 6-16.
        Also on the roster for the 12th edition ofPlayhouse's annual fund-raiserare Goldfinger and Dove, comic magician Jeff Hobson and emcee Pat Hazell, who specializes in close-up magic and stand-up comedy.

        Mr. Frewin promises “more surprises than an Alfred Hitchcock movie.” He performs the classic levitation, but when he does he walks through his assistant's body. When he performs Houdini's famous “Metamorphosis,” the locked box (in which he trades places with his assistant) has a glass front.

        No surprise that Mr. Frewin is the only first place winner in all three top international competitions of professional magicians — the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Society of American Magicians and the Federation International de Magique.

        He holds a Gold Medal of Excellence from the Brotherhood, one of only four awarded in the association's 65-year history.

        Magic fans will recognize all the acts from television appearances ranging from The Tonight Show to World's Greatest Magic.

        Mr. Hobson, a veteran of HBO and Showtime's Comedy Club Network, places equal emphasis on magic, comedy and audience interaction. His Carnival of Wonders show was named Las Vegas' best magic revue by the World Magic Association.

        Mr. Hazell has written for Seinfeld and been Jerry Seinfeld's opening act on his concert tour.

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