AREA – Jason Bishop of Fanwood will debut his new illusion called Smithereens at the upcoming Masters of Illusion Live show at UCPAC in Rahway on Thursday, November 2 at 8 p.m.
This is also Mr. Bishop’s first tour with the Masters of Illusion Live show. His new illusion, Smithereens, is one of the many large-scale illusions that Mr. Bishop will be performing.
“In Smithereens, my assistant, Kim, is sliced up into pieces and moved around the stage,” Mr. Bishop said.
Mr. Bishop performs many different types of illusions, including sleight-of hand, and he is also known for making objects and animals disappear, including his dog and assistant, Gizmo.
“Gizmo usually comes on tour with me, and I incorporate him into some of my acts,” Mr. Bishop said.
In addition, Gizmo also has his own YouTube channel, called “A Walk with Gizmo.” Mr. Bishop also has a YouTube channel where he informs his viewers about how his tricks are performed, including his newest premiere of Smithereens. Although Bishop, like most illusionists, never gives away exactly how his tricks are done, he will discuss the optical illusions and other techniques involved when performing illusions.
“I learned to perform from a community of illusionists,” Mr. Bishop said. “Jim Steinmeyer, a legendary Broadway craftsman, is the one who originally designed the Smithereens act.”
He has also performed in his own Broadway shows, including “Straight Up Magic” and “Believe in Magic.”
“The theatre expressed interest and we created some new illusions,” Mr. Bishop said about his Broadway experiences. “Jim Steinmeyer also helped come up with some tricks. I usually create variations of older illusions and adapt older tricks. I also work with illusion designers.”
Originally a foster child from Fleetwood, NJ, Mr. Bishop’s career grew gradually as he performed local gigs at colleges, on cruise ships, and eventually, Broadway shows.
“A lot of hard work goes into being an illusionist,” Mr. Bishop said. “It takes about 10 hours to set up for the performance before it goes on and then the clean up afterwards also takes time. The bulk of the work happens before the show.”
Some of Mr. Bishop’s influences include David Copperfield, Lance Burton, and Houdini. When he was just 15 years old, he started performing.
“My brother was into magic and in a juggling club,” Mr. Bishop said. “I also spent a lot of time at the library. That was a great place to get started when I was young, but now YouTube has a lot of information for beginners. I was self motivated and joined clubs, also known as assemblies or rings in the field, all across America. I would also frequently visit a shop in Pennsylvania called “White Magic.”
When Mr. Bishop was young, he didn’t have the money for grand scale illusions like he does now. Instead, he would perform with a deck of cards and use other sleight of hand tricks that require dexterity and mastering hand movements.
“I also worked with bird trainer and illusionist Dave Womach of Bird Tricks to learn how to make a parakeet disappear,” he said. “In the beginning, I didn’t have assistants or apparatuses, so I had to rely on simple objects but now I perform a variety of illusions.”
The Masters of Illusion Live Tour show will also feature illusionists Ben Blaque, who is known for his dangerous illusions, including his crossbow act. Also, Naathan Phan will also be performing his comedy style illusions which include celebrity imitations and singing during his acts.
Tickets are currently available by contacting the UCPAC box office at (732) 499-8226. Information can also be found at their website, www.ucpac.org.