Magic Weekend in Waynesboro: A weekend of ‘wonder’
That sense of wonder that you had as a kid when you saw your first magic trick – that’s what Steve Pittella is going for.
“As we grow older, that wonder kind of drifts away. My catch-phrase is, Remember the wonder,” said Pittella, one of the magicians on the bill for the Magic Weekend in Waynesboro, Sept. 28-30.
The Wayne Theatre Alliance is working with Pittella and magician Peter Monticup on the busy weekend of events centered around the WTA’s Gateway Theatre.
Alliance executive director Clair Myers got the idea for the Magic Weekend after a successful “Monticup and Magic” comedy-magic show at the Gateway in April.
Monticup, for his part, has been interested in magic for going on 50 years. It started for him at age 7 and a chance encounter with a magician and his wife, a ventriloquist, who hired Monticup’s father to get their TV repaired.
The young Monticup tagged along with his father on the job, and remembers the magician playing a wooden ball trick on him, and the ventriloquist throwing her voice to make it seem like there were people inside the TV clamoring to get out.
“On the way home, I said, Dad, I want to be a magician,” said Monticup, who opened a magic shop in Albany, N.Y., in 1971, and in 2001 took his business online with MagicTricks.com, one of the more visited magic websites on the World Wide Web.
To borrow from Pittella, Monticup never lost the wonder of the 7-year-old drawn to magic for the first time. The appeal of magic, to Monticup, is “that it makes everybody feel like a kid.”
Pittella learned magic at the feet of Al Flosso, the Original Coney Island Fakir, at Flosso’s Magic Emporium on 34th Street in Manhattan. Pittella was drawn particularly to the sideshow aspect of magic, and includes in his bag of tricks fire-eating, walking a ladder of swords and lying on a bed of nails.
“I think it’s great that the Gateway is willing to bring a different variety of entertainment to the Valley. There is so much available in the way of novelty entertainment. I think it’s great that we’re opening this up,” Monticup said.