The Academy of Magical Arts Awards
Akin to a Hogwarts reunion, The Magic Awards honor master magicians and young wizards
It had the atmosphere of a Hogwarts School of Wizardry alumni gathering, but actually it was the Academy of Magical Arts 42nd Annual Awards.
Like Hogwarts, the Academy is dedicated to educating young wizards to do amazing things, and so it was fitting that Neil Patrick Harris hosted the event. Neil is a graduate of the Junior Program at the world famous Magic Castle, where he pursued his love of the craft, and is now a board member of the Castle.
Plus he co-produced the Magic Awards show. The star of How I Met Your Mother, Harris is really akin to Harry Potter himself, with the same reverence for the masters of magic that teach and entertain at the Castle.
Harris opened the show by kidding around with the Magic Castle co-founder Milt Larsen, and paid tribute to the “Grand Dame of the Castle” Irene Larsen, wife of the late co-founder Bill Larsen. They were the folks who made the place into an oasis of magic.
Looking great in a tux, despite a two day growth of beard, Neil explained, “The theme of this year’s show is celebrating the tradition in magic. It is an art that is passed from one great generation of performers to the next, and kept alive by new artists for new audiences.”
So Neil spent the night introducing old film clips of magical artists from the past, followed by a live performance by contemporary practitioners. The stellar group of performers included Rudy Coby, The Great Tomsoni & Co., Armando Lucero, Yo Kato, Andrew Goldenhersh, Jeff Hobson, and the legendary John Calvert.
Ed Alonzo also performed and was named Magician of the Year. A phenomenal magician and comic, Alonzo toured the world with Britney Spears last year, putting magic into her production numbers. He was also hired by Michael Jackson to create the illusions for the “This Is It” Jackson tour that never materialized past rehearsals.
Other top magicians receiving awards were Doc Eason, for Close-Up Magic and Lecturer; Andrew Goldenhersh, for Parlour Magic; and Jeff Hobson was named the Stage Magician of the Year. Junior Achievement Awards went to Rmax Goodwin and Aaron Rabkin.
A Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed upon Chuck Jones, and fellowships in various categories went to JC Wagner, Michael Weber, Steve Forte, Todd Karr, Norm Nielsen and the very popular Pam Thompson.
It was nice to see the young past winner Darren Romeo, called “the Voice of Magic” because he is such a magnificent singer as well as brilliant magician.
Among the famous magic practitioners and enthusiasts, attending and presenting, were Jason Alexander, So You Think You Can Dance judge and creator Nigel Lythgoe (who is a champion for young talent), Survivor host Jeff Probst with actress Sheetal Sheth, The star of ABC’s hit murder-mystery Castle, Nathan Fillion (Neil Patrick Harris’ castmate on the Emmy-winning web-series Dr. Horrible), Mad Men star Christina Hendricks, hottie Kelly LeBrock, Little House on the Prairie brat-comedy actress Alison Arngrim, David Regal, Kate Linder, Gay Blackstone and Milt Larsen’s ever-loving better half Arlene Larsen.
The enchanting evening was held at the vintage (and a little spooky) Avalon Theatre in Hollywood. Before and after the show, there was a buffet spread worthy of Hogwarts grand ballroom.
The Awards were produced by Neil Patrick Harris and Matt Patton. David Regal was the writer of the show that celebrated the world of mystery and illusion, plus the Dumbledores of this world, the masters of magic.