Magic is no illusion for artist

Friday, December 18, 2015

Deember 18, 2015
Shelley Koppel
Staff writer

STUART — Brad Ross says he is an illusionist, not a magician. When an intrepid reporter asks him the difference, he replies, “An illusionist gets paid about 20 percent more.”

Actually, Ross is a student of the ancient art of magic and takes it quite seriously.

“An illusionist is a magician who specializes in magic on a grand scale,” he said. “I started out as a kid, doing card and coin tricks. I wanted to perform on the stage and television and I focused on large illusions, with people levitating and disappearing.”

You can see the difference in style when Brad Ross brings his show, “Unbelievable” to the Lyric Theatre Dec. 30. Ross, who grew up admiring David Copperfield and reading about Harry Houdini, spoke recently about his long love affair with the art of prestidigitation.
“There is a long line of people with big dreams in magic,” he said. “It’s an art form unlike anything else. It’s a niche area in the entertainment world. A select few get bitten by the magic bug as a child and I was able to pursue it. The show, “Unbelievable,” is (my) life story. The audience comes back in time to carve out the career path to where we are today.” Ross spent six years touring the world with Disney, and “Unbelievable” is a new show for this tour.

“We’re in our second month,” he said. “We’re super-excited to spend the holidays in the Sunshine State.”

Ross grew up in New Jersey, but spent some of the year at his family’s vacation home in Florida. He also attended the University of Miami, where he was a television and film major with a double major in performance theater.

“Initially, my mom was worried that I was in a tough business,” Ross said. “Her first words, when I said I was going to become an illusionist, were, ‘What kind of life is that?’ They were very supportive through high school and college as long as I had a backup plan. I’m turning 35 in December and I never had to resort to a backup. Magic has made my wildest dreams come true.”
Ross is very excited about the new show.

“It’s a modern collection of astounding wonders,” he said.

“It’s a chance to experience the classical art of magic. There are six dancers, dazzling choreography and Broadway-caliber sets. The production values will rival anything in Las Vegas or Broadway. I’ll be debuting some never-before-seen world-class illusions.

“It’s relatable to everyone, from the 5-year-old dreaming of being a MVP All-Star to the 65-year-old dreaming of something not yet done, the show is inspirational. It’s about not just following your dream, but to appreciate the magic that’s all around.

“The message is that magic on stage is an illusion, but seeing the magic that exists all around us (is not.) We get so caught up in the digital frenzy. Magic allows people to appreciate something in front of you. It’s an impossibility turned possible.”

Ross said that the beauty of magic is that it challenges the mind. Among his acts, he saws not one, but two women in half, with a surprise twist.
“It’s not possible, but maybe it is,” he said. “It taps into our wonder that’s build into our DNA.” The show will feature audience participation, with a chance for both children and adults to come on stage.

“Our goal is to give a unique journey through the history of magic,” Ross sad. “There will be some never-before-seen illusions. They may figuratively or maybe literally float out of there.”

Brad Ross’ Family Magic Show, “Unbelievable,” comes to the Lyric Theatre, 59 S.W. Flagler Ave., Stuart, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30. Call the box office at (772) 286-7827 or order online at www.