Press Reviews

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On a magical, mystical evening, none other than New Year’s Eve, ringing in 2017, something of almost supernatural, magical, other worldly realm took place.  All were in awe at the Grand Trianon room at the Beverly Wilshire, as the esteemed illusionist Ivan Amodei graced the stage.

With his one of a kind (sui generis) approach to all things illusion, Amodei never ceases to amaze.  His mesmerized audience watched each trick with bated breath, wondering the hidden secret that was never revealed.

Mystical feats galore, including an opening by a beautifully talented cellist to set the mood, Ivan, a wizard genius, had everyone standing in front of their seats, and in a process of elimination, Simon Says style, had the last woman standing (yours truly!), only to find, in astonishment, my name suddenly appearing on a chalkboard onstage!  He then went on to swallow nails of steel, miraculously regurgitating them painlessly. Sleight of hand; mind reading, all the while, accompanied with humorous playful banter with the audience was the tour de course.

Amodei shared his journey, as a young boy raised in Cosmo, Sicily…to his formative years in Brooklyn… to a spectacular career as a world class illusionist, the likes of Houdini.

This magician extraordinaire intrigued the audience, with quite a lot of audience participation, with flights of fancy, from guessing cards in a deck to destinations on a globe to revealing love notes in a clear balloon.

As New Years is upon us, it is time to ring in the new, embrace the uncanny, a time of adventure and mystery, a time of new beginnings, abracadabra. This show presents not only magic, but soothing music, and a theatrical flair, a la Cirque Du Soleil. At the magical, daunting stroke  of midnight, Amodei, using his innate gift of illusional sleight of hand, transported us to a make believe reality, just the treat we all need this year.

By Bonnie Priever


Parlor magic. Sleight of hand. One could argue that you see it every day in the political capital of the world; but I’m referring to the magical variety… the kind you discover in places like Las Vegas or Monte Carlo. As much as DC has to offer, sometimes you have to bring in a third party. That was the case this past weekend, as the Mayflower Hotel played host to The Magic of Ivan Amodei: Intimate Illusions… 90 minutes of pure entertainment, delivered by the unofficial king of Beverly Hills.

The Sicilian-born Amodei performed a total of five shows over two days… the last of which, my brother Brian and I were lucky enough to attend last night. There was a palpable energy in the room before Amodei and cellist Irina Chirkova entered the room. Brian & I sat front row center… just itching to be part of the act. Once on stage, Amodei took control of the room, performing one amazing illusion after another. Best of all, he made sure to incorporate his sold-out audience in every aspect of the show.

That included John and Sean, two guys from the opposite side of the front row. John was up first, nervously joining Ivan on stage. How nervous? Just seconds in, he felt obliged to move his wallet from his front to back pocket! Thankfully, Amodei was only interested in loose change (acquired from various members of the audience.) After blindfolding himself, Ivan went on to astound John, Sean and everyone in attendance with an uncanny display of “guessing.” I was sitting less than five feet away; yet I couldn’t begin to tell you how he does it.

There were other illusions, $20 bills for the taking, card tricks, number games, and even Houdini’s Escape (no keys necessary, Ivan uses a bottle of pins) with each one drawing oohs, aahs and laughter; but what made this show extra special, was Amodei’s unrivaled charm and showmanship. It takes a special sort of person to ask a complete stranger for their Social Security number or how much money they have in their checking account. He may not be good with names, but Ivan has a way with people. 90 minutes literally flies by… so much so, that I was genuinely disappointed when the evening came to an end.

Chirkova, who plays alongside Celine Dion in Las Vegas, adds beauty and perfectly placed harmonies to Amodei’s well-timed, seamless act. The candlelit atmosphere oozes style, and you can’t help but feel classy without the unnecessary trappings of trying to impress. It’s an easy audience to be part of. It has an adult feel, but Ivan plays clean (I counted at least two pre-teens in the crowd.) Forever the crowd favorite, Ivan personally greets each and every guest at the end of the show.

Amodei returns home to Beverly Hills, where he routinely plays to sold-out shows at the luxurious Beverly Wilshire Hotel (remember Pretty Woman?) He celebrates his third anniversary there, next month. As for his newfound faithful in the nation’s capital (myself included) we’ll be waiting with bated breath for his next visit.


Brilliant, hilarious, and enthralling, Ivan Amodei’s “Intimate Illusions,” at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel and Towers during the third week of July, was celestial. Illusionist, Amodei, charmed the 250 audience members with his introspective questions, witty banter, and dry humor that was often at the expense of his height or poking fun at guests’ lack of sympathy while he swigs down a shot glass of sharp pin needles.

Amodei is like that whimsical uncle who teaches your impressionable sons how to blow bubbles in the house, catch them, and turn them into goldfish. Your new pets will love their spacious home in the crystal wine glass that was handed down from your in-law’s mother. “My favorite part was when he got the fishies out of the bubbles,” said a little boy who sat in the front row and quickly answered all of Amodei’s questions.

In the grandiose Georgian Ballroom, scattered candles twinkled and stately windows with rich, damask curtains reached to the tall ceiling where six chandeliers with frosted fixtures hung. The ceiling was adorned with gold trim and a painting of George Washington prominently centered the room where Amodei did his magic. It was an elegant affair matched by Amodei’s exquisite suit and perpetual smile that was especially charismatic.

Every illusion involved deep meditation and the participation of the crowd, who sat on the edge of their seats energized with amazement, hoping they would be the one he called on to assist him. Amodei declared that one’s sense will become heightened if he or she focuses. “Intimate Illusions” is contemplative and enlightening as Amodei tests his telepathy and telekinesis. “I think he has psychic abilities and can read people’s minds,” said an astonished woman after the show.

A classical cellist built anticipation and awe during the opulent show, and “Intimate Illusions” would not have been as impactful without her inclusion that added humor and the perfect accompanying sound effects to Amodei’s outstanding feats.  Amodei emphasized the importance of time and the miracle of life. “If you believe it, then you’ll see it,” Amodei said.


Ivan Amodei might be the best-kept secret in tinsel town.  He is celebrating his 400th show this year at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, and is the most entertaining and exciting illusionist we have ever seen.

Did you know his show is ranked #1 on Trip Advisor of attractions in Beverly Hills?   This handsome and charming gentleman performs in a candle lit elegant salon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, complete with sophistication and intimacy of a glamorous Hollywood “after party”. What else would one expect from this elegant hotel’s resident headliner?

His 90-minute “magical and musical” experience has received rave reviews.  Ivan, skillfully accompanied by Celine Dion’s talented cellist, is a master performer, who has performed with two decades of royalty, and celebrities including Steven Spielberg, Jim Carrey, Sly Stallone and Ashton Kutcher to name a few.


Dumbfounded is an understatement. Walking away from Ivan Amodei’s “Intimate Illusions” — a magic show at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco on Friday — I openly reveled in a cathartic state of childhood bewilderment.

What just happened? I’ve seen some tricks of the trade, and am hopelessly gullible, but this one threw me for a loop. Amodei, dressed in a dark pressed suit, did things I couldn’t possibly explain, or attempt to understand. I guess that’s the point.

A women cellist, dressed in a blood-red gown softly bowed its strings before a couple hundred guests. Dozens of Victorian chandeliers kept the room dimly lit and a spotlight shone on a draped-covered painting and a table full of antique-looking props. It reminded me of “Interview with the Vampire,” – that classical eerie setting. Shortly I was shown to my seat. Smack dab in the front row. My friend looked at me, already blushing at the thought of being “cut in half” on stage.

We scooted down a bit, but were still in full view of Amodei, who opened with a few jokes, before swallowing a shot glass full of pin needles. Attempting to beat a Houdini record, he asked random audience members to yell out their favorite “exotic destination.”

Bombay,” one hollered. “Hawaii,” said another.

Pressing his fingers from his abdomen to his throat, Amodei regurgitated the first three needles in order of their color, which was predetermined by the audience. Picking up a globe he tossed it in the air, catching the spinning sphere on the tip of his index finger. Then the unthinkable happened.

He fiercely spit out the pins, which landed on the previously determined “exotic” destinations. Well, almost. He shot two for three, but humorously brushed it off. Maybe his technique was a mastered skill, not illusion. The opener set the scene for the entire night. The audience gasped when, halfway into his act, he asked a patron to grab a sealed and stamped envelope from the back of the room. Once opened, he presented it to the crowd. Numbers. Letters. What did it mean?

Earlier Ben, a lucky guest, donated a $100 bill, which was held by a woman, in plain sight, across the room. Those letters and numbers consecutively matched those on the bill. Later Ivan pulled me on stage. Bright red, and high heeled, I stood facing the crowd, blinded by spotlight. The only person I could halfway see was my friend, who was pointing and cackling at my nervous attempt to talk before two hundred people.

I picked a card from his deck (a three of diamonds), wrote my name on it and placed it back. He asked me to check his front pocket. Was my card there? Reaching in, I searched the entirety of his pocket, spanning over his left thigh but pulled out empty-handed.

“I don’t feel anything,” I said. The crowd burst into laughter.

Already about a foot taller than Amodei (remember I’m in heels), he said, “You could have just said that you didn’t feel the card!” By the end of the act, I held a Listerine bottle in one hand, and in a second’s time he lifted a small cloth from the bottle and asked me to look inside. There was my card, with my name, inside the bottle, that I had anxiously gripped all along. I’ve been starring at it for four days now, trying to figure out how he could have snuck the unbent playing card into the narrow top without my knowing. I went into the experience with reservations. Maybe I thought I could outsmart the magic man. Maybe I could at least come out with an idea. But I didn’t.

His highly-interactive act was hysterical and successfully did what each patron hoped it would do – instill a childlike wonder in all of us, at least for one night. Originally from Sicily, Amodei brought his intimate show, exclusive for after parties at its venue on Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, to San Francisco March 22-23. He has won numerous magic organization awards, including the People’s Choice Award six times.