After a simple coin trick at age 8 fooled his mom, magician Adam Trent was hooked.
“As a little kid, you think your parents know everything,” the Boulder native said in a phone interview. “When you did something for an adult and they asked how did you do it, that was the closest thing to having a real super power.”
Trent, who came to national attention as one of the cast members in the Broadway show “The Illusionists,” was dubbed “The Futurist” due to the cutting-edge technology permeating his trickery. His three-year run on the popular show enabled him to kick-start a solo tour. “Adam Trent’s Holiday Magic” will come to Pikes Peak Center on Friday. “America’s Got Talent” finalist Evie Claire, a singer-songwriter, will guest star.
He remains inspired by technology, and has been known to clone himself on stage, along with incorporating LED screens, video walls and 3D printers. And be careful of letting him borrow your iPhone; he likes to stuff those in a blender. Don’t worry if he does swipe it, though. It’s a magic show. It’ll all come out good in the end.
Trent takes his inspiration from other art forms, too, such as going to concerts or comedy shows.
“They’ll do something that’s interesting or quirky, but it stops just short of being magic,” he said. “And I wonder how can I take it one step further and let it be an illusion?”
His first source of inspiration, though, was the mythical David Copperfield. In particular, a show he and his family attended in Denver when he was 8.
“It was the first time I remember the whole family sitting and laughing and having fun together in the theater,” he said. “I wanted to become a magician for that reason.”
He went home, found a book on magic and went to work. After constantly waking his parents up in the middle of the night to show them some new trick, his dad was determined to find him an actual audience. And get some sleep. So Trent started doing tricks at nursing homes, and eventually became a miniature businessman whose mom drove him around on weekends to perform at other little kid birthday parties.
Performing for his 10-year-old contemporaries provided good training. Little kids are a tough crowd.
“It was extremely terrifying. When you’re just trying to blend in at that age, I was doing the opposite of that,” he said. “People shout out and heckle.”
And magic seems to be a magnet for the worst hecklers.
“If you have a singer who goes off pitch, nobody yells you’re off pitch,” said Trent. “But if you play a birthday party and say to the kids ‘It’s disappeared!’ and it hasn’t, kids will say it’s right there and I can see it. It’s under more scrutiny.”
After high school, he headed to Los Angeles, where he immersed himself in the entertainment scene and earned a bachelor of science. Next up? The Santa Monica Pier, where he busked for a year with only a folding chair and hat for coins. Finally, a job presented itself — performing on a cruise ship. The timing was ideal, as he was beginning to wear thin.
After doing that for a few years and then getting rave reviews on the college circuit, he was scouted for “The Illusionists,” which helped repopularize magic, he said.
“There are magic acts on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ YouTube, Instagram, it’s everywhere. ‘The Illusionists’ was the first time in 25 years that magic was on Broadway. The last was with Copperfield. It went away for a bit. I saw the resurgence of the whole thing happening.”
Becoming a master in his field does have one drawback, though. And that’s the natural disillusionment as he’s learned how tricks are done, such as Copperfield’s big stage shows.
“That’s a bit saddening. I love to be fooled. I still am, but it’s not as rare,” said Trent. “It’s only for a moment, and then I know it must have this principle or that principle. It’s like anything else — you kind of sharpen your eye. If you’re a musician, you look at music differently. I’ve tried to maintain that wonder that magic provides. When I look at creating magic, I look at it as seeing magic for the first time again. I’m pretty good at being able to put myself in the audience.”
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