Bill Blagg wasn’t always a busy illusionist, touring nine months out of the year. Like everyone, he had to start somewhere. In his case, he began dabbling with tricks as an elementary student and never stopped. Since then, he’s become known for mystical tricks like passing through industrial fan blades, miraculously teleporting across theaters and floating across the stage on a hoverboard. On Oct. 7, Blagg, 36, stops by Muskegon’s Frauenthal Center to present his traveling spectacle, The Magic of Bill Blagg Live. Here’s what he had to say to Revue.
You’ve certainly come into your own, but do you still have any illusionist heroes?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was David Copperfield’s No. 1 fan growing up. Good thing they didn’t have stalker laws back then like they do now or I might be locked up. I’m totally kidding, but yes, David Copperfield is my magic hero. Growing up watching his TV shows gave me hope that I, too, could perform magic on a large scale. One of the biggest things I respect about him is how he always stayed true to the art side of magic. What you saw him perform on TV is exactly what you saw him do in his live show. He didn’t use camera tricks or fancy TV editing to pull off his magic.
At what point did you first get introduced to the art of magic?
I started magic at the age of 6 after I received a magic set from my grandparents for Christmas. The first trick I learned was how to make a quarter disappear. I’ll never forget when I showed it to my dad and he looked at me and said, ‘How did you do that?’ From that moment on, I was hooked.
After you surpassed the magic set, how did you continue your craft?
|The Magic of Bill Blagg Live
425 W. Western Ave., Muskegon
Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m.
Since there isn’t a real Hogwarts to learn magic at, I’ve been self-taught my entire career. I read a lot of books on magic, spent endless hours practicing and learning the various techniques, and then it was a matter of applying them.
While it started as a hobby, how did magic turn into a career for you?
I started getting real serious about our show when I was in college. I designed a senior project for my business degree that involved fully producing and staging a public show. I was in charge of everything, from renting the venue to selling the tickets in addition to putting the entire show together. That experience was a pivotal moment in my career. It opened my eyes to the amount of hard work that was necessary to make it all happen. Fast forward to today, and we have a show I could have only dreamed of as a kid. It’s been a long, hard road, but I’m fortunate to have an incredible team of people behind me that makes this all work.
What are your signature illusions?
I’m known for a few signature pieces of magic. One is my dancing handkerchief: It’s an actual handkerchief that comes to life on stage and dances. The thing has better moves than Justin Bieber. I actually won a national magic competition with the routine when I was 18. It’s still in our show today. The other notable illusion would be my hoverboard. I was sitting in my college dorm watching Back to the Future II and when I saw the hoverboard, I wanted to make it happen live. It took 10 years to figure out, but we did it. I can honestly say that I’m the first person to ever ride a hoverboard without any strings in front of a live audience.
What’s some advice you would give to someone looking to do what you do?
The best advice I could give to a young, rookie magician would be the same advice David Copperfield gave me: Just keep doing shows, don’t stop. Perform anytime you get the chance and just keep going. There’s no secret formula to success in this business. It’s hard work and a little luck. I like to say the harder I work, the luckier I get. And boy do we work extremely hard. I guess that makes me really lucky.