It was all in the cards that a pair’s “Pure Magic” found its place in Myrtle Beach.
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Brandon and Hannah Lynne Wagster, who illuminate their magic and illusions as part of the “Thunder and Light” shows starring the All That! clogging troupe at the Calvin Gilmore Theater, have branched into solo performances on the stage that’s home to “The Carolina Opry” in its 32nd year, and “Time Warp.”
See the Wagsters’ “Pure Magic” show at 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, as well as 4 p.m. July 18 and Aug. 3, at the Calvin Gilmore Theater, 8901 N. Kings Highway (U.S. 17 Business), at the junction of U.S. 17, on the northern tip of Myrtle Beach. Buy tickets –$25 ages 17 and older, and $10 ages 3-16 – at 843-913-4000, 800-843-6779 or www.thecarolinaopry.com.
The married couple (wagstermagic.com) were full of treats when describing their profession full of skills and tricks, answering as a team and individually:
Q: How does having two of your own solo shows – from May 27 and June 29 – under your belt build confidence and help work out any changes and improvements you want to make in taking “Pure Magic” to new heights?
A: If someone had told us five years ago, when we moved to Myrtle Beach, that we would have our own show in the top-rated theater in town, we would have thought you were lying. The truth is we are perfectionists. The show will never be perfect in our eyes; it will be a lifelong work in progress. Every show, we will make minor changes to our scripts, blocking, costuming, etc. If we ever see the show as “finished,” that is dangerous. It means we could stop improving. We are already planning what next year’s show will look like and what kind of exciting new elements we could bring.
Q: What hooked each of you into the world and art of illusion, and how young were you upon first seeing a magician in person? Does that background help you connect with youth today, to light a flame of curiosity in their minds and hearts?
Brandon: I learned my first magic tricks when I was 6 years old, for my first-grade talent show and then received a magic kit for Christmas later that year. … The magicians who stand out in my mind are the ones I saw on television. From the time I was 6 to about 10, every Thanksgiving, a show called “The World’s Greatest Magic” would air. I saw 100 different magicians over those five years, and I have been blessed to meet and even perform with some of them. I see a big responsibility when we step onstage. Our job is to help people escape their reality, and the reality is most people will only see 2-3 live magic shows in their lifetime. If we are one of those couple of times, I want to make sure that our audience is getting the same feeling of wonder I got when watching those incredible performers almost 20 years ago.
Hannah: Honestly, I enjoyed magic a lot when I was super young, but then had a magician who started coming to my school every year when I was in elementary school. I didn’t really care for his performance style, and it kind of made me hate magic. I actually avoided it for a while, I remember I went to a friend’s birthday party one year and went outside so I didn’t have to watch the magic show. Years later, I found out it was actually Brandon who performed the show I avoided! Then in high school, I tagged along with a friend to Brandon’s first big theater show because I thought he was super cute. Later that month, we started dating, and then about two months later, he needed an assistant so I volunteered, and the rest is history!
Q: Seeing fellow acts such as the All That! clogging troupe grow in popularity within the Calvin Gilmore family of performers into their own standout show, how does that inspire you two to chart your own ascendance and accomplishments in growth, creativity, bigger audiences and exposure, and new dreams to pull out of your own sleeves?
A: It feels incredible to be where we are. To know that over the last 30 years, Calvin Gilmore has never had another magician in any of his productions, and then to be the ones chosen is amazing to us. All That! is an extremely creative group of guys. We always try to surround ourselves with other creative people. We hope that over the next few years, “Pure Magic” can grow to become a staple along with all of the Gilmore Entertainment productions here on the Grand Strand.
Q: How long have you been married, and what extra magic comes from being a couple on and off the stage?
A: Since January 2013. We often realize how much of an anomaly we are by being a married couple in not just magic but entertainment. You will find many entertainers marry each other, but very few do what they do together. It’s a blessing and a challenge at times. We are a couple who enjoys spending all of our time together, but anytime you have two creative minds, there can be disagreements about how something should be done on and offstage. So whether its deciding on a new illusion, a piece of music, or how the dishwasher is loaded, we have to find a balance and make the decision together.
Q: Considering the success of other married entertainers who have worked as a tandem, such as Maria Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko – Russian natives who won successive Olympic bronze, silver and gold medals in ice dancing from 1984, the year they got married, through 1992 – and the late Johnny and June Carter Cash, what newfound magic have you found to add to your sizzle on stage together?
A: We love performing together, and our chemistry on stage is 100 percent real. I think the audience can sense that who they’re seeing is who we are in real life. You’ll see us poking fun at each other or laughing when the other person messes up in some way. If you watch closely, sometimes you can catch us talking with each other on stage. Either sharing a quick “I love you” or laughing about an inside joke, we really are best friends on and off stage.
Q: What are your forms of recreation, to unwind after a show?
Brandon: I’m kind of a magic nut, so I’ll come home from a show and start working on things that need to be fixed for the next show. But I do love vintage video games. The original Super Mario Bros. re my favorite.
Hannah: My two biggest loves outside of magic are animals and music. Cuddling with our dog, Luna, can literally cure anything. Our only other animals at the moment are two parakeets; one of them just start performing in shows with us. I grew up on a farm, so I’ve always had lots of animals to love. Music was actually my major in school, so I love practicing and learning new instruments. Although the main ones I play are flute and piano, I learned a few more along the way, and Brandon just got me a ukulele for my birthday, in May, so I’m playing that nonstop. I’m hoping to get a violin next.
Q: Is there any card trick or sleight-of-hand act that still confounds – yet impresses – you when seeing other pros perform?
Brandon: Having been in magic for almost 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of amazing magic. The part that impresses me has always been from the performance side and not so much the trick itself. I love when another performer has a great story to go along with the magic or a smart piece of music to accompany the effect. To me, it’s always been about the performer and not the magic itself. But magic is always changing and improving, so just because the times that I’m completely fooled are now few and far between, I always look forward to those moments because it reminds me of why magic fascinated me in the first place.
Hannah: I absolutely love really visual magic. I know that sounds silly, but some effects truly look like real magic. Brandon does a tribute to a fellow magician in our show, and there is one moment where it looks like a small ball melts straight through the top of a solid cup. That kind of sleight of hand blows me away.
Contact Steve Palisin at 843-444-1764.
If you go
WHAT: Pure Magic”
WHO: The Wagsters – a married couple, Brandon and Hannah Lynne Wagster (wagstermagic.com)
WHEN: 4 p.m. July 11 and 18, and Aug. 3.
WHERE: Calvin Gilmore Theater, 8901 N. Kings Highway (U.S. 17 Business), at junction of U.S. 17, on northern tip of Myrtle Beach.
- “Pure Magic” – $25 ages 17 and older, and $10 ages 3-16.
- The Carolina Opry,” “Time Warp” and “Thunder and Light, Starring All That!” clogging group – various price options.
GUEST CONCERTS: Each 6 p.m. and starting at $38 – Travis Tritt on Sept. 17; Gaither Vocal Band, Oct. 15; and Dublin Irish Dance, from Ireland, Jan. 21.
INFORMATION: 843-913-4000, 800-843-6779 or www.thecarolinaopry.com