On June 2, 2013, I took the stage at the 92nd Street Y in New York City for a memorable evening of magic. The program featured a screening of my History Channel program “Lost Magic Decoded” as well as a lively question-and-answer session, and a live performance of magic. Moderating the discussion was my pal and fellow magician Dick Cavett, the legendary talk show host, and we were joined by Robert Palumbo, the director of my program.
Here’s the introduction that Eric Lange read to the sold-out audience heard before we walked on stage:
“Welcome to a magical evening at the Y!
“Tonight we’ll be “Looking for Magic with Steve Cohen,” who has delighted and mystified audiences all over the world. He’s the star of Chamber Magic, the longest-running solo magic show in New York, presented each weekend in an elegant suite in the Waldorf Towers. His audiences include a who’s who of celebrities, royalty, and other notables. A media favorite, Cohen was also the star of a sold-out solo show at Carnegie Hall and a TV special you will see excerpts from tonight, Lost Magic Decoded, that premiered on the History Channel in 2012.
“Cohen will talk about the making of the film with the film’s writer, director and co-producer Robert Palumbo, whose credits include documentaries for HBO, Showtime and National Geographic. Steve and Robert traveled the world on their magic quest, so they have a few stories to tell!
“We’re honored to welcome back famed talk show host and author Dick Cavett, who will moderate their discussion. […]
I CAN’T ADEQUATELY EXPRESS how surreal it is to stand in the wings of the Ed Sullivan Theater, waiting to be introduced. Fifteen minutes prior to show time, I was sitting in my sixth floor dressing room watching David Letterman deliver his monologue on a small plasma television. It was like watching his monologue any other night at home. Moments later, however, I was on the ground floor, standing in the wings of that very theater, peeking out into the darkness. Running through my mind: “Am I about to walk onto the Letterman show I was just watching?” It was like seeing a two-dimensional scene turn three-dimensional.
Fortunately, the producers helped me to feel well prepared. Seven days before my appearance, they granted my request to visit the theater and sit in the guest chair at “home base” (the raised platform where Letterman’s desk is located). I spent two hours in the theater that day, practicing my sleights in the guest chair, and going over camera angles with the directors and producers. I even practiced walking out from the wings several times, to become accustomed to the route, the trajectory, and the temperature (it’s very chilly).
During this pre-show visit, I met band leader Paul Shaffer and explained that I’d need to borrow one of his rings for my performance the following week. He let me handle his wedding ring and confirm that it would be the proper size for my ring-in-walnut trick. I also met many of the staff: the director, executive producers, stage hands, audio techs, and writers. I did several card tricks for them in a casual setting, to get them excited about the upcoming “Close-Up Magic Week.” Of course, I also had an ulterior motive – to become a familiar face. The director, Jerry Foley told me that this visit helped save us a lot of time in creating a comfortable working relationship for the following week’s show.
The only person who I didn’t meet was David Letterman. In fact, the only time I shared with him occurred on the day of the show, at his desk, while cameras were rolling. [click for more…]
Join us for a private screening of my History Channel special, “Lost Magic Decoded,” that follows my journey across three continents in search of some of the most puzzling illusions of all time.
“Lost Magic Decoded” was praised by The New York Times (“baffling”) and USA Today (“jaw-dropping”).
The screening will be hosted by legendary talk show host Dick Cavett (click on his name to read his NY Times blog), and will include a discussion with the film’s writer/producer/director Robert Palumbo. I also plan to perform some live magic after the screening.
If you are in the New York area on June 2nd, I hope to see you there. [Click for more…]
Some viewers will no doubt be annoyed at having been misled by the title of “Lost Magic Decoded,” a frothy special Thursday night on History, carrying as it does the implication that the secrets behind some legendary illusions will be revealed.
But Steve Cohen, the program’s genial host, is an adherent to the magicians’ code; don’t expect to learn how to make a rope rise skyward out of a basket here. But do expect to hear some tasty stories about magic tricks of yore, and to see some pretty baffling modern-day magic by Mr. Cohen as well.
Mr. Cohen, who is known as the Millionaires’ Magician for his magic show at the Waldorf-Astoria, sets out to run down four illusions from the distant past. The idea isn’t to reveal how they were done but to see if they actually can be done or were really just embellished legends. Along the way Mr. Cohen finds some of history’s odder true stories and throws in a few bits from his parlor show. […]
Intertwining the fascinating history of magic with the thrill of the highest caliber magic performance, LOST MAGIC DECODED is a unique roller coaster ride into the deepest crevices of history and back again to the present day, where Magician Steve Cohen proves that even the most mysterious of lost magic can be summoned and performed with as much power as when it was originally staged hundreds of years ago. LOST MAGIC DECODED Premieres Thursday, October 18th, 9-11pm ET on the History Channel.
Tune in to watch my TV special, Lost Magic Decoded, premiering on History Channel!
Airdate: October 18th, 9-11pm ET (check local listings)
LOST MAGIC DECODED will both shock and surprise you. If you have been a guest at my weekly show at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in NYC, you have never seen me in anything but a tuxedo.
But here I trade my tailcoat for traveling clothes and venture throughout the states and across Europe to India to hunt down legendary magic tricks. Once I determine whether they are real or fables, I resurrect each one for a modern audience.
For exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes photos, follow the show on Twitter: @lostmagicTV
And visit the Facebook page for even more: https://www.facebook.com/LostMagicDecoded
Way back in 2002, just a couple of years after starting up my show, CNN correspondent Jeanne Moos came to visit me at the Waldorf. She brought her camera crew and did a feature story about Chamber Magic. The show has changed a lot since then, but it’s fun to see what she found interesting enough to discuss with Anderson Cooper, Jack Cafferty and Paula Zahn, in a roundtable at the end.
Eight years ago, on February 1 (which also happens to be my birthday), I was a guest on Martha Stewart’s television show, Martha Stewart Living. I’ve just transferred the VHS tape to a digital file, and have decided to include it here on my blog, for historical record.
I look a lot younger (!), and the producers told me to dress casually (not in my typical snazzy suit) to meet the expectations of their target audience.
(May 20, 2010) NEW YORK – A sedan picked me up at my upper west side apartment, and whisked me to the Ed Sullivan Theater on 53rd Street and Broadway. A guard met me at the stage door, and sent me up to my dressing room on the sixth floor. Here’s a picture of me […]