Magic returns with ‘The Illusionists – Turn of the Century’

Jinger Leigh will take on the character known as The Conjuress, a world-traveled magician as part of nine cast members of “The Illusionists — Turn of the Century.” CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Jinger Leigh will take on the character known as The Conjuress, a world-traveled magician as part of nine cast members of “The Illusionists — Turn of the Century.” CONTRIBUTED

The Conjuress gives us a little context.

Contact this contributing writer at bturner004@woh.rr.com.

Old magic tricks don’t fade away; they just get reinvigorated by some of today’s top performers.

The Illusionists stunned Springfield last year with its touring show of magical feats. This time even more Illusionists will put their touch on some of history’s most enduring and dangerous illusions before it hits Broadway in its latest incarnation.

The Kuss Auditorium will precede the Great White Way when “The Illusionists — Turn of the Century” arrives on Friday, Nov. 18, and Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.

The show, presented by the Clark State Performing Arts Center, is appropriate for all audiences.

If you saw the previous Illusionists show, then you haven’t seen anything yet, said Jinger Leigh, also known as The Conjuress, whose specialty is theatrical elegance.

“It’s a little more involved, scripted, colorful and entertaining with history threaded throughout. People like to hear the origins of these tricks,” she said. “Magic isn’t something you can phone in. You have to make an audience feel it.”

Leigh said the early 20th century magicians whose classic illusions will be performed, were prime entertainers in their time, like rock stars, and their competition with each other forced innovation.

Starting her professional career as a dancer, Leigh entered the world of magic upon meeting her husband, Mark Kalin, and the pair formed their own act, earning awards and making television appearances.

Kalin would go on to become the creative director of The Illusionists and is known as The Showman. Onstage he’s the show’s storyteller.

The Conjuress is based on a world-traveled woman.

“There were actually more women magicians then than there are now. A lot of them were headlining,” Leigh said. “We have to look back to look forward.”

She added that the famous sawing a lady in half trick was originally only done with males.

Other Illusionists will include The Charlatan, The Eccentric, The Clairvoyants, The Grand Carlini, The Immortal and The Daredevil, a returning member of the previous tour.

Each performer has created his or her own characters. Many have known each other for years and share a camaraderie among them.

Leigh said the costumes are part of the many scenic elements and a completely different chapter for The Illusionists.

The show is tuning up in Akron before coming to the Kuss Auditorium, where it will technically be the first date of the show before opening on the Great White Way later in the month. Leigh said the performers are ready to dazzle.

“The audience will feel that electricity going on and will be pleasantly surprised with the differences,” she said.

How to go

What: “The Illusionists — Turn of the Century”

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, Kuss Auditorium, 300 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, and Saturday, Nov. 19

Admission: $45-65

More info: 937-328-3874 or http://pac.clarkstate.edu/events/