‘The Illusionists’ to Appear (and Possibly Disappear) at the Magic Castle (Heinz Hall); ‘Jungle Book’ on Local Screens (Tues., 4/19/16)

1) My first close up and in person exposure to magic was when my mom hired Hey You the Clown to perform at a birthday party of mine when I was about six or seven years old. I became hooked on magic after I saw Hey You pour a glass of milk into a black top hat and then after reciting some magic phrase—possibly even Abracadabra—miraculously pull out a pack of Hostess Ho-Ho’s for the birthday boy. They were magically delicious! Then, while in eighth grade, I went to New York City with my family and we saw master magician Doug Henning in his Tony Award-winning production of The Magic Show. So it was with great interest that I saw the highly successful Broadway show The Illusionists was coming to Pittsburgh as part of the PNC Broadway In Pittsburgh series.

This show truly has something for everyone—magically speaking. It features seven main performers: The Manipulator, Yu Ho-Jin; The Anti-Conjuror, Dan Sperry; The Trickster, Jeff Hobson; The Escapologist, Andrew Basso; The Inventor, Kevin James; The Weapon Master, Ben Blaque; and The Deceptionist, James More (isn’t this a great last name for a performer? If he’s outstanding he’s always leaving the audience wanting more More). Some of the illusionists appearing here in Pittsburgh got their start on national TV talent shows both in the U.S. and abroad. And of course there will be amazing costumes and beautiful assistants.

The Illusionists is produced by a first-rate team of theatrical and magic show producers who have updated the traditional magic show with all of the power of today’s spectaculars. It promises to be a night of fun for all ages. 7:30 p.m. Performances through Sunday. Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Cultural District.


2) The Jungle Book – Remember Phil Harris singing “The Bare Necessities?” Louis Prima swingin’ through “I Wan’na Be Like You?” Well get ready. Disney has decided to remake their 1967 classic (the last animated film supervised personally by Walt and considered by some to be his best) with this live action/CGI version featuring the vocal talents of, among others, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, and Idris Elba. It’s based on several short stories by Rudyard Kipling and concerns the doings of Mowgli, a human boy raised by wolves who navigates his way through the jungles of India. Jon Favreau directs from a script by Justin Marks. In place of Harris, you’ll be treated to Murray singing “The Bare Necessities” and, even though he’s been reviled for his “performance” as Captain Hook in the NBC live version of Peter Pan last year, Christopher Walken will be taking a stab at “I Wan’na Be Like You.” This could go either way. (TH)

3) Getaway to the tropics with a trip to Brillobox for Tropical Tuesdays. There you’ll feel the trade winds (breeze from the fans) soothing your overdue vacation bones. Here’s a sampling of their specials: $3 select craft cans, $4 frozen drinks, $10 California bubble bath, $10 Eva Peron, $7 Fernet con cola, and $6 Coronita Margaveza. You can also sop up the island drinks with $7 pineapple soy-glazed chicken or tofu skewers served with Caribbean sweet potato salad. Shoes and shirt required. 5 p.m. – 2 a.m. 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield.