At a Glance
What is it?
A magic show starring one of the most illustrious of illusionists, David Copperfield.
Where is it?
At the MGM Grand on the South Strip.
Is it worth the cost?
If you are a fan of magic, then yes.
Why should I see this show?
You prefer your illusions with a big wow factor.
What else do I need to know?
Audience participation is almost required.
What’s the bottom line?
A master magician putting on a master magic show.
After decades of performing frequent but relatively short stints in Vegas, illusionist extraordinaire David Copperfield is making the MGM Grand his home complete with a theater named in his honor and a contract that will keep him up to his old (and new) tricks through 2016. The only real surprise is that it took this long for it happen.
Copperfield is one of those classic magicians that is easy to overlook on the cultural radar, especially when acts like Penn & Teller, Criss Angel, and David Blaine are generating headlines for their stunts and mind freaks. But consider these rather stunning stats and facts for a second: at Age 12, David Copperfield was the youngest person ever admitted to the Society of American Magicians; his television specials have won 21 Emmy awards, the same amount as “The Sopranos;” he is considered to be the most successful solo entertainer in history, having sold over 40 million tickets that grossed more than $3 billion.
Should you be surprised by the fact that he owns 11 islands in the Bahamas or the biggest collection of magic memorabilia in the world? No, you shouldn’t be.
Although he is most well-known for his big TV illusions like making the Statue of Liberty disappear or walking through the Great Wall of China, his on-stage demeanor is refreshingly relaxed and free of the kind of “whirling blades of death” drama that many of the magicians of his era were famous for. He may be a bit too rehearsed in his patter of personal stories and narrative framing devices but for the most part he just kind of kicks back and lets the tricks do the talking.
The show is ever evolving but some of the more notable moments from the one I saw include a bit where an audience member randomly picks a word and then that word shows up in unexpected places (I don’t want to ruin the punchline but it’s pretty impressive); some old-school slight of hand involving a duck and a bucket; and a big reveal of a car that had on stage witnesses literally gasping it was so unexpected and done so well.
While magic shows in Vegas may not be as omnipresent as they used to be, there are still plenty of choices and which one you pick should probably depend on your taste. Those with a subversive sense of humor and a strong appreciation of the ironic should go with Penn & Teller; those who like things with more flash to go with their substance can see Criss Angel; those who want a good laugh with their tricks need to see Mac King; and those who appreciate well-crafted tricks, performed by one of the masters of illusion should see David Copperfield.