By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Wednesday, June 8, 2016
For the past two years, New York magician Michael Carbonaro has become a part-time Atlantan thanks to shooting two seasons of his hit truTV show “The Carbonaro Effect’ locally.
On the show, he typically pretends to be an employee at a local retail shop and plays tricks on folks. He could be at a florist, a Mexican restaurant, a hotel, a doggy daycare or a hair salon. He could cause a shoe box to automatically lace a shoe, pump out soda through a “wireless” dispenser or “accidentally” set himself on fire.
Now he’s presenting his world of magic in a more traditional setting: the stage at Cobb Energy Centre Saturday. (Buy tickets here.)
“The conceit of ‘The Carbonaro Effect’ is people don’t know I’m a magician,” said Carbonaro in a recent phone interview. “Everyone coming to the show I gather – I hope – knows I’m a magician. I love meeting the fans and getting to see them. Even die-hard fans wonder if what they see on the show is camera tricks. Now they’re sitting there seeing the same things like me creating a giant bowl of water out of a flat box in front of their eyes.”
And he loves bringing audience members on stage. “It adds to the idea that you never know where it’s going to go,” he said. “On the TV show, I pierce the fourth wall. I look at the camera. I talk between segments. Imagine a whole show of that.”
Carbonaro said he tries to lead audience members “down one path and then pull the rug out from under them. They leave totally baffled, wondering what was planned and what wasn’t. It’s a ride.”
His TV show is all about being understated, acting as if what he is doing is totally normal. But one of his idols is David Copperfield, who is known for extravagant lighting, skimpily dressed assistants and huge tricks.
“He affected my work a lot,” said Carbonaro. “Some pieces in particular fall into the dramatics. We have some lighting shifts. I weave in and out of that. I’m very openly playing with everyone. I’m very honest about my lying.”
In other words, he’s one part Copperfield, one part Penn & Teller.
“It’s tougher to challenge people to believe in something that is not true versus willingly asking them to invite themselves to not believe with you,” he said.
Carbonaro doesn’t mind when people online try to pick apart his tricks on his TV show. He appreciates the fact his show is watched by a wide demographic of fans – although truTV’s core demographic is younger guys. “I get a lot of parents with kids to my stage show,” he said. “A lot of young couples. It’s like the circus. It runs the gamut.”
Given how many Atlantans he has fooled over 58 episodes, he said he will ask the Cobb audience how many folks have met him before and have them stand up. “That’d be so cool,” he said.
After two seasons, has he exhausted locations in metro Atlanta after so many episodes? “Georgia has been good to us,” he said. “There are more places to explore.”
But first, he has to get a green light from the network for a third season. “We’re still in talks,” he said. (truTV isn’t shying away from the show. It’s scheduled 27 episodes over 13.5 hours in the next seven days.)
7:30 p.m. June 11
$31.50 plus applicable fees
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
2800 Cobb Galleria Parkway, Atlanta