Magic In The Air: Illusionist Rick Thomas rises to the challenge

Magic In The Air: Illusionist Rick Thomas rises to the challenge
BECCA MARTIN-BROWN
bmartin@nwadg.com

Like so many other performers, illusionist Rick Thomas saw his plans for 2020 vanish in a puff of smoke. But in that cloud, he found a silver lining.

“Last year, when the pandemic struck, I was out on tour in Colorado. My shows were canceled, and my cast and I drove back to Branson, devastated,” says Thomas, a veteran who has completed five world tours covering more than 50 countries, including sold-out performances at Caesar’s Colosseum, headlining the Sydney Opera House in Australia and performing both on Broadway and in Las Vegas for 15 straight years. “Little did we know that covid would change the landscape of entertainment.”

Thomas had been happily ensconced at the Andy Williams Performing Arts Center during his eight years in Branson, but with covid-19 came the opportunity for a change of venues, a “magical” move to the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre.

“The first day I arrived at the Grand Shanghai Theatre won’t soon be forgotten,” he remembers. “I drove the 53-foot semi-truck up to the back doors, and the theater manager, Cindy Thomas, exclaimed: ‘How are we going to fit all of this in the theater?’ My words back to her were that everything is possible with live theater! I will make it fit. [And] I did, barely!”

The change, says Thomas, allowed him to “re-create a production like no other. For one, I was able to modify my production called ‘Mansion of Dreams,’ and it still be the show to see. The Grand Shanghai Theatre has an LED wall, and I spent months designing a new digital presentation that now takes the show to a new level. Simply put, the show is stunning!”

The show, he says, “goes far beyond the magic and far beyond any illusion show.”

“’Mansion of Dreams’ has been years in the making, and it is instant WOW,” he says with obvious delight. “It may sound cliche to say that there are no words to describe this show, but I find it difficult to express the magnificence of this production. This live show is a journey never to be forgotten, where the audience members become invited guests at my home. They visually move through the mansion and witness the beauty and mysteries behind its walls.

“Contained within the production are the most intriguing, innovative and mind-blowing grand illusions in the world,” Thomas enthuses. “Epic is the word that best describes the incredible production. There is no show like it in the world — and it is right here in Branson!”

Illusionist Rick Thomas, working with wife Tara, says the move to the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre has allowed him to “re-create a production like no other. For one, I was able to modify my production called ‘Mansion of Dreams,’ and it still be the show to see. I spent months designing a new digital presentation that now takes the show to a new level. Simply put, the show is stunning!” (Courtesy Photo/Rick Thomas)

Thomas is joined on stage by Tara, who started as his partner in magic and three years later became his wife.

“Tara comes from Zimbabwe, born and raised there her entire life. She flew across the world to try out for my show. Her talent blew me away, and I brought her into the show immediately.

“She plays a dark spirit in the mansion, and she represents the challenges we all face as we attempt to follow our dreams,” Thomas says. “I share with the audience that we must sometimes put away the past to move forward. At one time I say, ‘You need to learn to dance with your ghosts.’ At that moment I present an effect you will see nowhere else. We dance in the air. It is the finest magic spectacle you will ever see. We dance in the air!”

Thomas promises there is nothing like his show, not just in Branson but in the world.

“The eternal appeal is that it is live,” he says. ” A gentleman came to me and said, ‘I’ve seen magic on television. However, what I just saw live is way beyond anything I saw on television.’ My reply to him: ‘I know! Isn’t it amazing!’

“You will see the most intriguing and innovative grand illusions in the world,” Thomas promises. “Yes, the helicopter plays HUGE on the stage, with patrons constantly exclaiming that it is simply impossible. I already told you that everything is possible. I ‘squoze’ my entire production into the beautiful Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre, and it works just like magic!”

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FAQ

Rick Thomas:

‘Mansion of Dreams’

WHEN — 2 & 7:30 p.m., various dates through December

WHERE — Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theatre, 3455 West 76 Country Blvd. in Branson

COST — $20-$45; $109 family pass

INFO — 417-336-0888, grandshanghaitheatre.com

Categories: Family Friendly