The Illusions

The creation of an illusion is my personal agony and ecstasy. An idea for one can come to me anywhere — a coffee shop, a deli, a quiet walk through the city.

From there, I can’t get it out of my mind — I have to make it a reality. Shortly afterward, I begin early construction, choreography and staging of the piece. I typically have no idea where I’m going with it, which is both fun and frustrating — again, agony and ecstasy.

Frustration usually wins, and I often go running off to find a good book to read. But inevitably, I return to my work after a brief hiatus. This time, I have a better understanding of the illusion’s story line. What do I want to say? Which music is perfect for it? And finally, what do I want you as the audience member to experience?

I’m privileged to share with you some of my favorite illusions that I have created over the years. Some may be dangerous, some may be funny such as “It’s Destined to Happen”, and others might be thought-provoking or inspirational like “Mona Lisa’s Secret” “The Miracle Worker” and “Time is Precious”, but all of them share a vital element: an important, deeply-felt message about humanity and life.


The Music

Music works on the unconscious mind. The cello, with its versatile ability to hit high notes and deep sounds can invest a demonstration with danger, majesty, terror, levity or deep thought. The interactive ability of the cellist allows improvisation to the often unplanned spontaneous moments of each performance, thus making each show unrepeatable from the previous.

You will hear classical pieces from composers Vivaldi, Bach and Mozart, as well as, custom scored music to accompany each illusion perfectly. More importantly, it’s about how the music makes you feel. The unique pairing of illusion and cello dramatically sets this show apart.

Imagine a trip into a time of grace and glamour. The backdrop is world-famous Beverly Hills, the place Hollywood nobility and the jet set have called home for nearly a century. You travel down Rodeo Drive and into the renowned shopping district as one spectacular storefront gives way to the next. One building in particular strikes you, its majestic flags seeming to beckon to you. You pass its ivy-covered walls and turn into its stately iron gates. Suddenly, Old Hollywood comes alive. You’ve arrived at the Beverly Wilshire.

Valets attend to you, and you’re ushered into a lobby one could easily mistake for a palace. Maybe your eyes deceive you, but you swear you caught a faint glimpse of former resident Cary Grant in his evening wear heading to an elegant dinner. You’re pulled further in; the allure is irresistible. A soft impression of Frank Sinatra lingers in the corner as his Academy Award glistens in the muted light. You ascend an enchanting spiral staircase, and an image of Julia Roberts glides past you in her iconic red gown on the way to the Opera—forever Pretty Woman. You now realize you are a part of Hollywood history.

At the top of the stairs, a suite full of candles and of magic awaits you. You’ve arrived at the elegant European theatre of master illusionist Ivan Amodei. Who knows what mysteries lay beyond the gilded doors? Your evening has just begun.