In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, during the "Golden Age" of magic, Chicago's magicians thrilled audiences at vaudeville shows, theaters, and even restaurants. Here are four Chicago spots where the spirit of magic is still alive and well.
Ash's Magic Shop (4955 N. Western Ave.)
At this small magic shop on Western Avenue, you'll find everything you need to start your career as a magician with style, including capes, wands, hats, card decks and rubber chickens. Don't forget your rubber chicken.
Supernatural Chicago (632 N. Dearborn St.)
Supernatural Chicago blends improv comedy, psychic demonstrations, and magic, all presented at Excalibur Nightclub, a former mansion that's allegedly haunted (it was used as a makeshift morgue for victims of the Eastland Disaster of 1915). The show is performed entirely by self-proclaimed necromancer Neil Tobin, who holds yearly seances with Houdini. Check availability and buy tickets online or by phone at 800/979-3370.
The Magic Parlour (17 E. Monroe St.)
Step back in time at the Palmer House and prepare to be charmed by one of the country's most acclaimed magicians. Third generation magician Dennis Watkins presents the Magic Parlour, an intimate performance of mind-blowing magic. Makes for a classy date night - cocktail attire is encouraged - but kids ages 10 and up are welcome as well. Make your reservations online or call 773/769-3832.
(Presented at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division)
This winter, Dennis Watkins from the Magic Parlour will be also appearing in The Magnificents, a play about an extraordinary family of magicians. This touching story focuses on the elder magician of the family as he passes down his secrets to a young protege. You'll step back in time and right up to the sideshow acts of a mismatched, yet tight, family of performers. Both of my kids, even my 3-year-old, were mesmerized by this charming performance. Seeing Robert Houdin's Blooming Orange Tree allusion was a treat! Through March 10 at the Chopin Theatre - Tickets available online or call 773/769-3832.
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