The Magic Show

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The Magic Show
Magic Show.jpg
Original Production
MusicStephen Schwartz
LyricsStephen Schwartz
BookBob Randall
Productions1974 Broadway

The Magic Show is a one-act musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Bob Randall. It starred magician Doug Henning. Produced by Edgar Lansbury, it opened on May 28, 1974 at the Cort Theatre in Manhattan, and ran for 1,920 performances, closing on December 31, 1978. Henning was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and director Grover Dale was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.

It originally began life as Spellbound produced by Ivan Reitman with a book by David Cronenberg and music by Howard Shore at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto in 1973 starring Henning and Jennifer Dale. When Reitman took it to New York, the book and score were entirely replaced[1] but Henning's illusions and magic tricks remained unchanged.


The setting for the show is a seedy nightclub, the Top Hat, where an aging alcoholic magician, "Feldman the Magnificent," chews the scenery in his overly grand performance. Manny, the Top Hat owner, wants to replace him and brings in Doug. Doug is very unconventional and has an assistant named Cal. Cal is in love with Doug, but he does not notice her and is focused on advancing his career. Donna and Dina are the rock act in the club. One of them dates the nephew of a big agent named Goldfarb. Goldfarb is coming to the club to check out Donna and Dina's act, and everyone is excited.

Meanwhile, Doug pays little attention to Cal and decides that he needs a "beautiful assistant". Cal is hurt, as Doug conjures up the beautiful Charmin. Donna and Dina get jealous, and along with Feldman, plot to expose the secrets to Doug's tricks during the show. Doug finally realizes he loves Cal, and gets to her before she leaves. Charmin is sent back to wherever she came from, and all ends up well.

Musical numbers[edit]

  • Up to His Old Tricks - Entire Company
  • Solid Silver Platform Shoes - Dina and Donna
  • Lion Tamer - Cal
  • Style - Feldman and Company
  • Charmin's Lament - Charmin
  • Two's Company - Dina and Donna
  • The Goldfarb Variations - Dina, Feldman, Donna, Manny and Charmin
  • Doug's Act - Doug
  • A Bit of Villainy - Feldman, Dina and Donna
  • West End Avenue - Cal
  • Sweet, Sweet, Sweet - Charmin, Manny, Mike and Steve
  • Before Your Very Eyes - Dina, Donna and Feldman

Opening night cast[edit]

Opening night band[edit]

  • Stephen Reinhardt, keyboards, musical director
  • Paul Shaffer, keyboards
  • Steve Manes, bass
  • Brian McCormick, guitar
  • Gerry Weiner, guitar
  • Joey Saulter, drums

DVD version[edit]

In 2001, a filmed performance staged especially for the cameras in 1980, directed by Norman Campbell at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto, was issued on DVD by Image Entertainment. This production, originally intended for cinema release, differed notably from the original Broadway production, with several of the most memorable songs, such as "West End Avenue" and "Solid Silver Platform Shoes", removed. Doug Henning reprised his original starring role, while Didi Conn co-starred as Cal.


  1. ^ Mel Atkey, Broadway North: The Dream of a Canadian Musical Theatre, Natural Heritage Books, Toronto, 2006, p.186

External links[edit]