With a long-running show, it's important to be in shape.
Alex Ramon is a magician and a runner who tonight begins an extended run of "Illusion Fusion" in the Horizon Casino Resort Golden Cabaret. The 26-year-old's background includes two years as ringmaster with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.
"Once I wore a pedometer and found out I was running two miles every single show," Ramon said. "We did three shows on Saturdays and Sundays and two on Fridays. I ran 1,500 miles in the two years."
Paul Reder, who produces "Illusion Fusion" along with Tony Clark, explained why he chose Ramon to run the magic marathon at least until March 11.
"Tony Clark highly recommended we use Alex Ramon, and as luck would have it he was headlining on the main stage at The Magic Castle in Hollywood, so I rushed down to see him," Reder said. "In the audience with me that night was actor Steve Corell and Kendra from "Girls Next Door." These stars have probably seen it all, but both of them were on their feet with the entire sold-out theater giving Alex a standing ovation for his truly amazing show.
"His show was so unique, fresh and modern, bringing in the 21st century to the art of magic, and Alex truly is an artist by every sense of the word. I know this is a show that our local residents and tourists both will love to see and recommend to their friends."
"Illusion Fusion" will be presented nightly Thursday through Monday, with two Saturday shows, at least through March 11. If attendance is good, the show will be extended indefinitely. The magic show follows "Bethany Owen's One Voice," which had a 17-month run in the Golden Cabaret, an intimate venue which seats more than 200.
Ramon said he is happy to keep his bag of tricks unpacked for a while. In five and a half years his longest engagement was three weeks at Madison Square Garden.
Ramon said his goal since he was a teenager was to have an extended magic show at the lake. He was inspired after seeing Tony Clark perform, then afterward meeting the slight-of-hand expert.
Clark and Ramon evaluated Ramon's show during a weeklong run with other magicians last summer in the MontBleu Theatre.
"It was first time I ever performed in Lake Tahoe and after every show somebody came up to me and said, 'I've seen you before,'" said Ramon, who grew up in the Bay Area and participates in the annual Bay-to-Breakers race when he is in town. "The best was a teenager who said I did magic at her 5th birthday party. I said, 'Wow, I've been doing this a long time.' And I realized I am so close to home."
"Illusion Fusion" will have guest appearances along with Ramon's onstage partner, Megan. "I push a hollow tube right through her torso," Ramon said, describing an illusion. He also will work with an iPad with a lie-detector app. "No one ever trusts a magician," he said. "They always look for their watch and their wallet after I meet them. I use a lie detector so audience will know I am telling the truth at all times."
A modern-day magician is challenged by technology with computer-generated graphics and people's ever-shortening attention spans.
"They're used to seeing explosions when scenes are changing, and scenes in movies every three or four seconds with a different cut, so we have to tailor our show to that," Ramon said. "Before, we had a slower-paced show. Nowadays, you want a faster-paced show. That's why at the beginning of show, we have a lot of fast pace and illusions that are high-energy and with a lot of visuals. Once they are hooked on that live performance, you can add some more theatricality and slow it down a little bit. When you see it live there's nothing you can compare it to."