2015 Year in Review

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As we look forward to the promise of a new year, it’s easy to forget the special moments and accomplishments of the previous twelve months. Allow me to wax nostalgic with a rundown of my 2015 highlights!

232 Chamber Magic performances at the Waldorf Astoria New York

14,000 visitors to Chamber Magic

15 national and international performances

Thank you, everyone, for your ongoing support of my show. I look forward to sharing more magic with you in 2016.

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Broadway Star Sutton Foster’s Favorite Date in NYC

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Broadway star Sutton Foster (two-time Tony Award winner) sat in the front row at Chamber Magic earlier this year. We had a great chat afterwards – her pal and Younger co-star Hilary Duff recommended me as a “must-see.”

In a recent Huffington Post interview, Sutton was asked to name her favorite date night idea in New York City…

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Magic in Moscow

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Yes, that’s me standing in the Red Square in Moscow. And yes, Saint Basil’s Cathedral looks like a giant Carvel ice cream cake. It was certainly cold enough to stay frozen (see below)! My trip to Moscow was a great adventure, and I’d like to share some of the highlights with you.

The purpose of my trip was a private performance, held in a bona-fide palace owned by the Russian Foreign Ministry. I was invited to perform at the 60th birthday of Yuri Bashmet – one of the world’s finest viola players. Also present were my dear friend Anne-Sophie Mutter, and renowned conductor Valery Gergiev (of the London Symphony Orchestra). The audience was mostly Russians and Germans, but this was an extremely cultured crowd, and […]

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David Copperfield calls Chamber Magic “A masterful performance”

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As a boy growing up in the 1980s, I eagerly anticipated each year’s David Copperfield special on television. I even convinced my parents to take me to his live theater show as a graduation gift. Copperfield has been an icon in the magic world for as long as I can remember, and I’ve watched every one of his television shows multiple times.

What an honor, then, to have David Copperfield visit my show at the Waldorf-Astoria this past weekend. It was thrilling to see him in the audience – this time watching me!

I was elated.

After the show, we went downstairs to the Bull & Bear restaurant and spent an hour talking about […]

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How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Here’s how.

For over one hundred twenty years, Carnegie Hall has been a world-famous venue for music, but not magic. It was an honor, then — a once-in-a-lifetime achievement — to be able to perform my full evening magic show there on January 12, 2012. The show ran two hours, and received a standing ovation from the sold-out auditorium.

I’d like to thank all of you who came to the show. I’ll always remember the electric anticipation you projected as I walked on-stage. Looking out at you, I felt anticipation too — like we were creating a historic moment together.

Throughout my career I’ve always believed that magic has the potential to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with other performing arts, such as ballet, opera and orchestral music. Magic can be more, much more, than a simple diversion. The artistry required to construct and stage a theatrical magic show is on par with the training, thought and creativity required to present other traditional art forms.

My personal goal in staging a magic show at Carnegie Hall was to prove that the art of magic is capable of accepting its due respect, if only we give it the chance. It was immensely satisfying to see that the public supported this belief; the entire theater was sold-out months in advance.

Because I am used to performing for small audiences of 50 people at the Waldorf-Astoria, the nearly 300-seat Weill Recital Hall presented some challenges. I did my best to cross the footlights and reach out to the entire audience, even up to the balcony.

In this blog, I’ve composed a full report of the evening, from my perspective as performer and producer […]

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Society of American Magicians’ magazine cover story, November 2011

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How Steve Cohen Got To Carnegie Hall

by Antonio M. Cabral

M-U-M magazine, November 2011

Magicians and secrets have a funny relationship. The normal people who comprise our audiences watch us perform miracles and cannot begin to imagine how a person might learn the requisite techniques and other arcane knowledge to accomplish the impossible. Magicians on the other hand know all about the vast oceans of literature (in print and on film) obsessively detailing and documenting the history and lineage of all these bizarre, clever and wonderful ideas. They know you can walk into a magic shop and buy whatever you like without having to fight a dragon or some other kind of mystic wizard’s trial. They worry that their audiences will run home after watching a performance and look for the explanations on YouTube. The “secrets” are out there, if you care enough and know where to look. And yet, magicians and laymen can look at the same “miracle” and both be mystified—if for different reasons.

For example, many close-up magicians know the story of Max Malini’s famous production of a brick or a block of ice from under a hat as recounted by Dai Vernon in Stars of Magic. Vernon was tasked with watching Malini over the course of an evening’s dinner performance to try to pin down the little man’s sleight-of-hand secrets—in particular the the block-of-ice-under-the-hat trick. Throughout the full evening’s meal, Malini never left the table. Malini then proceeded to perform the trick and “…when Malini lifted the hat, a block of ice the size of four fists lay in the center of the table […] Vernon swears to this day that ‘The little bugger had no time to load up.’” While the regular audience members wondered how the ice got under the hat, Vernon was dumbfounded as to how the ice got to the table at all. A bribe to the waiter proved unsuccessful, and they never found out from where Malini had procured the ice.

On the other hand, whenever Steve Cohen performs the trick as the opener of his exclusive Miracles At Midnight show, the source of the block of ice is somewhat less of a mystery. The show is his second as part of his residence at the über-opulent Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan. The kitchen at the Waldorf-Astoria is located on the second floor and takes up the area of a full city block. “They have a huge walk-in freezer, and they’ve let me have a whole shelf in there just for blocks of ice for this trick. I used to go down myself to fetch the ice, but it gets so cold in that freezer that our arrangement now is that I simply ring down to the kitchen and they run one upstairs for me at the beginning of each show.” Of course. Everything’s easy once you know the secret.

But while Steve’s audiences—like Malini’s—are astounded at the appearance of the ice under the hat, magicians marvel at something else. They don’t marvel at how the ice appeared under the hat or how the ice got to the table, but at how Steve Cohen himself has managed to “magically appear” in residence at the Waldorf-Astoria with not one, but two elegant, high-end magic shows—one of which costs $250 per person. For close-up magic! And coming this January, Steve will be premiering a stage show at a local Manhattan venue named Carnegie Hall. Compared to those “miracles”, blocks of ice and bricks under hats might as well be the old stretching thumb trick your uncle does […]

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Performing for astronaut Buzz Aldrin, my childhood hero

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Buzz Aldrin after my performance in New York: “I used to think Saturn V was a miracle. But your show – this was a real miracle.”

I performed magic last week for NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin and a fascinating group of space tourism supporters.

Buzz let me use his ring for one of my tricks – the ring HE WORE ON THE MOON!

Without a doubt, that experience trumps all the other notable rings I’ve borrowed in the past, including a Super Bowl ring, and Ellen Barkin’s wedding ring.

I still can’t get over it. I held the ring Buzz Aldrin wore while walking on the moon. And he let me use it in my show. What an honor.

After the show he also allowed me […]

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Derren Brown’s lovely comments

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“Aside from his success, it is Steve Cohen’s charm and elegance which separate him from all but a tiny elite of world-class magicians. However, Steve is the only magician from that elite and highly-select group to take his show to an elite and highly-select audience. It is a true one-off: an intimate caprice of parlour diversion by an enthralling and consummate master.”

-Derren Brown

I also dug out an old photo of Derren with my wife and children […]

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Guest author: Theory 11 review of Award Dinner

by Jonathan Bayme CEO, Theory11.com Magic awards are a dime a dozen. Many of them are handed out by local magic clubs. Some of them are distributed by regional groups. And a select few are handed out by meaningful, multinational organizations. Whenever I hear of a magician getting an award, I ask myself what award […]

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