Jamie Allan is bringing the U.S. premiere of “iMagician” — a show combining trickery and illusion with technology, to Chicago’s Harris Theater Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 6, 2019. | Provided Photo

Magician Jamie Allan couldn’t resist Chicago ‘connection’ for his U.S. debut

SHARE Magician Jamie Allan couldn’t resist Chicago ‘connection’ for his U.S. debut
SHARE Magician Jamie Allan couldn’t resist Chicago ‘connection’ for his U.S. debut

Renowned British magician Jamie Allan could have made his stateside debut in any city in the U.S. In fact, he and his team went back and forth many times about whether Las Vegas or New York City would be the right fit.

But in the end, Chicago seemed to be calling him.

“I remember [fellow magician] Dr. Ricardo Rosenkranz picking me up from my hotel here in Chicago and he drove me around the city for a couple of hours and went by all the tourist spots,” Allan recalls. “I just felt a connection. I felt welcome and I fell in love. Chicago has become the launching pad for so many new things because people here really do welcome you with open arms.”

Mixing magic and illusion inspired by the legendary Harry Houdini with state-of-the-art technology, Allan’s “iMagician” arrives Dec. 22 at the Harris Theater for a limited two-week engagement.

“Magic is a staple in its best form,” says Allan. “It can transform you and it can connect people of all ages. It allows you to forget about your worries. I want the show to reconnect people with the feeling they had as a child watching magic.”

JAMIE ALLAN’S ‘iMAGICIAN’ When: Dec. 22, 2018 – Jan. 6, 2019 Where: Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Tickets: $49.99 – $159.99 Info: harristheaterchicago.org

An only child, Allan learned the in and outs of show business at an early age courtesy of his mom and dad, who both found themselves in the business in the U.K.

“I think I benefitted from having a mom who was a singer and a dad [who] was a songwriter,” recalls Allan. “I would tour around to shows with them until I was 5 years old.”

Soon after, his parents would build a theater in a broken-down bar in town, and it was there where Allan was introduced to magic.

“I would watch this musician in the pub and he would do this trick with chairs in which it looked like a lady would float,” he remembers. “I was just mesmerized. My dad would explain it by just saying ‘Well, its magic.’ And I found that even more mesmerizing.”

Allan would begin to teach himself sleight-of-hand tricks so his parents so I didn’t have to spend money on big props or anything.’ And while he would do his first magic show at 8 years old, it wasn’t always easy.

“I would always expose the cards because my hands were still so small,” Allan says chuckling.

As he got older, Allan started using more props in his acts. But then something arrived that would change his life forever.

“My dad bought one of the first Apple computers and I was amazed about how we could use it to make equipment work on the stage,” he says. “The sheer idea of automating some of the things on the stage amazed me.”

Allan eventually started doing moving manipulation tricks wherein he’d essentially move things from the stage to the screen of a TV. He would soon become known as “the guy with the television.”

“It gave me an identity,” he remembers. “So I loved that.”

After many years and much success via multiple shows in Britain, Allan says he now looks forward to bringing his unique form of magic to America.

“I’ve spent three years touring the U.K. with this show,” says Allan, who has also worked with artists such as Sting and Leona Lewis. “The last three tricks of the Chicago show are actually the finales of the last three years of shows. Let’s just say the last 20 minutes of the show [are] non-stop.”

Utilizing everything from iPads to holograms to laser beams, Allen says he also is looking forward to inviting audience members to get in on the fun.

“I probably have 7 or 8 audience members come up and help with tricks throughout the show,” he says. “There is one trick in particular that utilizes Instagram that everyone can be involved in.”

Of course, his two-week Chicago engagement leaves Allan far away from home come Christmas Day.

But he’s not fretting about it.

“I think it will be magical being in Chicago at this time of the year.”

Tricia Despres is a local freelance writer.

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