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He Says: The Magical Wondrous World of Vitaly

He Says: The Magical Wondrous World of Vitaly

To be upfront and honest, I don’t think I ever thought of myself as a magic show kind of person, although I’m not so sure now. Theatre is definitely more my thing, with entertainment shows, like magic shows being delegated to something further down the list under movies and concerts, but possibly above modern dance.  Don’t ask me where opera fits in, because that I’m still trying to work out.  Magic shows though, feel like things you do on a cruise ship or at a beach resort, but the other night I found myself sitting myself down at the Westside Theatre/Upstairs wondering how this evening of wonders would sit with me.  And, much to my surprise, I was delighted by the energetic and charming Vitaly and his Evening of Wonders.  It’s a thrilling and perplexing evening at the theatre as we watch with amazement at the things he can do while secretly trying to figure out how.  I’m sure it’s what we all do, watch with full knowledge that magic is a showman word for trick, and we all think that if we pay close attention, we will figure it out.

“Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders”
“Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders”

I’m not sure this is possible though, as Vitaly is quite good at what he does.  Now, I have very little to compare this to as this might be the one and only magic show that I have seen in my years of NYC theatre going, and with that piece of information in your head, I will also say it is the best magic show I have seen in ages. Joke aside, Vitaly Beckman is a very personable and charming illusionist, having started practicing the craft t the age of 14.  Born in Belarus and raised in Israel, Vitaly has performed internationally in theaters, at corporate events and on Television, most notably on Penn & Teller’s hit show “Fool Us” where he did just that, fooling the Las Vegas superstars with a masterful trick utilizing cards and photographs.  He seems to be able to bring photographs and drawings to life, making fruit fly, and erasing people from their very own driver’s licenses.  He writes in his Playbill notes. “Not having mentors or the internet growing up, I relied on trial and error, which turned out to be a blessing in pursuit of originality….I left a career in engineering to devote my life to the creation of the impossible.” And in this mesmorizingly fun and straight-forward experience unlike any that I have ever seen, he does exactly what he sets out to do, “rebuild people’s childlike sense of wonder, bridging the gay between dreams and reality.” Go check it out, and be amazed. He didn’t turn water into wine, but he sure managed to turn a drawing of a rose into something real, beautiful, and vase-ready. I know I was flabbergasted and intrigued throughout, and my guest that night couldn’t stop trying to figure it all out just how he did that thing with the licenses, the bus, that torn card, and the photograph. Which is exactly how a magic show, I think, should leave you, desperate to figure out just how did he do that wondrous thing.

“Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders”
“Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders” All Photos by Jeremy Daniel.

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Off Broadway

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to

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