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Dreams and Nightmares

Adaptation: David Ives
Visual Artistic Director: Eiko Ishioka
Additional Lighting: Robert Wierzel
Creative Adviser: Francis Ford Coppola
Opened: 12/96 at the Martin Beck Theater
With: David Copperfield

Las Vegas moves to Broadway with Copperfield's magical extravaganza. The visual glamour, cinematic sound effects and dramatic music, however, detract from Copperfield's real skills as a master of prestidigitation. He executes complicated illusions effortlessly, a little too smoothly perhaps, without much spontaneity. (Not surprising, considering Copperfield performs more than 500 times a year.) The most magical moments of the show occur when Copperfield strolls through the audience performing sleight of hand using simple props such as a handkerchief or metal rings. And, despite his romance-novel-hero gaze and dark, dramatic appearance, Copperfield delivers friendly chatter throughout the show. Regardless of any flaws in the production, his appeal is indisputable (the show took in almost $5 million in sales before it opened), and audiences seem genuinely entertained by arguably the hardest-working magician in show biz.

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