Introduce Yourself(ie): 10 Questions with Illustionist & Evening of Wonders Headliner Vitaly Beckman

Last updated June 25th, 2018 by Vitaly Beckman
Introduce Yourself(ie): 10 Questions with Illustionist & Ev…

Vitaly Beckman arrives in New York City with his acclaimed magic show An Evening of Wonders. The young illusionist, who stumped fellow magicians Penn & Teller on TV's Penn & Teller: Fool Us, is thrilling and seriously wowing off-Broadway audiences at the Westside Theatre through September 30 with this one-of-a-kind spectacle.

BroadwayBox gets to Vitaly a bit better below as he talks about his magical influences, making his NYC debut, & advice for aspiring illusionists.

1. When did your interest in magic begin?
My interest began when I was about 14. I saw famous magicians on TV, like David Copperfield, and decided one day to see if I can figure out how some of the illusions are done. So I tried to replicate some of the close-up magic I saw, things with coins, rings, and rubber bands. I couldn't figure out exactly how they were done, so I started inventing my own ways of doing some of them. My methods weren't as sophisticated to achieve what I saw on TV but were good enough to impress my family and friends. There was no internet and I wasn't aware of any magic books to learn from, so I started to learn by trial and error. Trial and error is a very long way to learn something however it forced me to create original effects and approach magic in a different way.

2. What’s different about doing audience participation in NYC?
Thinking New Yorkers are used to watching traditional plays and musicals, I was surprised at how many people raise their hands and are eager to come up on stage and participate! There are usually also some people who are more shy or prefer not to volunteer, and I would never force them to. Those who do come up on stage usually have so much fun, they don't always want to get back to their seats.

3. Who is the best illusionist you’ve seen live and what did you learn from them?
It's difficult to decide who is the best, as ones an artist has his own style, it's hard to compare to someone else. Most recently, here in NYC I had a chance to see Derek DelGaudio's show In and Of Itself. It was a very unique show blending theatre and magic. Other great magicians I saw live include David Copperfield, Penn & Teller and Mac King.

4. What’s been the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome to get to this point?
There have been many challenges, but the biggest one is to create the show I am doing. Creating something completely original that has never been done before is very hard. You can come up with an idea, but there is no manual telling you how to make it real, especially in magic. Some of the ideas in this show were conceived nearly 2 decades ago, and only in the past years I found a solution on how to realize them.

5. What is your favorite city in the world to perform in?
I had an amazing time performing in Frutillar in Puerto Montt, Chile. Being there feels like you are in a fairy tale, and they have a state of the art theatre that is constructed right on a lake. It's an artistic and enchanting place. However, perhaps after this run NYC will become my new favourite place!

6. What’s your favorite film about magic?
The Illusionist with Edward Norton. I absolutely love that movie. The music, cinematography, and Edward Norton's brilliant portrayal of the illusionist. I also really enjoyed Hugo.

7. What are three things audiences can expect from An Evening of Wonders?
A. Expect to be amazed, seeing things you have never seen before and possibly even take part.
B. Expect to have fun, be entertained and hopefully inspired.
C. If you volunteer your driver's license at the show, expect to either have your face removed or changed to someone else... and thus possibly not being able to drive back home.

8. How long does it typically take to create a new illusion from idea to execution?
Usually, from a few years to a decade. For example, there is an act where a leaf drawing comes out of a sketch pad, it looks simple and lasts only 2 minutes on stage. But it took 2 years to create. And once created, it continues to evolve on stage and improve as I perform it. So it is kind of a never ending process too.

9. What are some things you are passionate about outside of magic?
My girlfriend says that if you take magic away from me, there will be nothing left. And it's not too far from the truth. When I am not performing, I am either thinking of new ideas, or looking for ways to improve what I am currently doing. In my time off, I love to see a good movie or a play, enjoy a hike in the nature or just lie on the beach!

10. What advice would you give to someone who dreams of becoming a professional illusionist?
Follow your dreams! Find out what are your strengths and emphasize them. Get inspired from outside of magic and illusion shows. And be original, because at the end, like with any art form, it's a process of self discovery.

Don't miss Vitaly Beckman in his New York debut 'An Evening of Wonders' at the Westside Theatre.