The Tristan Crist Magic Theatre is one of Lake Geneva’s hottest new attractions this year, and I had the opportunity to sit down for a one-on-one convo with the magic man himself, Tristan Crist. He’s full of wit and entertaining humor, and his show delivers just that. If you’re thinking about catching one of his live performances, here’s what you can expect: to laugh, to be impressed and amazed by his illusions, and perhaps to be his “assistant” for a trick or two. He shares heartfelt stories, never misses a beat with his quick wit, and even takes time out after the show to chat with his guests and sign autographs for the little ones. Up close, Tristan is just as charming as he is on stage.
WCVB: Please tell us a little about yourself.
TC: I’m a 33-year-old professional magician and illusionist with a dog, a cat and several beautiful magical assistants.
WCVB: Please tell us about your assistants.
TC: Nancy and Shannon are my two full time assistants. Nancy has worked with me for the past 8 years and Shannon for the past three years.
WCVB: How did you get your start in the magic business?
TC: I started with card tricks as a young boy, worked my way up to performing at birthday parties and scouting events. Fast forward 20 years and thousands of shows in venues big and small – I can now call myself a professional!
WCVB: Where have you previously performed?
TC: I spent ten years as a featured entertainer at Circus World in Baraboo, WI performing for over half a million people. I have also performed at large theatres and performing arts centers throughout the Midwest. In addition, I enjoy performing for a variety of corporate parties and functions throughout the year.
WCVB: Besides your Lake Geneva location, where was your favorite place to perform and why?
TC: I had a 400 seat theatre at Circus World before coming to Lake Geneva. It was a favorite place to perform because it was built specifically for my show and included all sorts of special secrets to help with the magic!
WCVB: How did you come to choose Lake Geneva as the destination of choice for your theatre?
TC: I was looking for a tourist destination close to Chicago and Milwaukee that didn’t currently have a permanent evening entertainment option.
WCVB: What is your favorite part of performing?
TC: Seeing the audience reactions!
WCVB: What kind of training do your assistants need in order to perform with you?
TC: Flexibility and a strong work ethic are a must. Nancy has a gymnastics background and Shannon was a professional water-skier with the Tommy Bartlett show prior to doing magic.
WCVB: What kind of audience does your show cater to? Is your show family friendly?
TC: The show is designed to fool adults, but is certainly appropriate for the entire family audience.
WCVB: How many performances do you do in a week?
TC: During the summer season we will average around 7 shows per week.
WCVB: In addition to illusion mastery, what else can your audience expect at your live performances?
TC: The biggest surprise people consistently mention is how funny the show is.
WCVB: Is it necessary for tickets to be purchased in advance, or can people buy tickets at the door?
TC: Tickets can be purchased at the door, however, the show does tend to sell-out fast so advance tickets are recommended.
WCVB: What is your favorite illusion to perform and why?
TC: Our motorcycle appearance is my favorite because it is so incredibly fast it just seems impossible. We put a lot of time into rehearsing it to make it what it is today and the audience reactions when a real motorcycle appears onstage in an instant are priceless.
WCVB: What is the most difficult illusion to perform and why?
TC: Our most difficult illusion to perform is our Houdini act that involves a split second switch. It is a very physically demanding illusion for myself and Shannon which makes it difficult to pull off consistently every night.
WCVB: How long did it take you to learn that particular illusion?
TC: We practiced it daily for 3 months before it was put into the live show.
WCVB: What is your favorite thing about the Lake Geneva area?
TC: We are all enjoying exploring the many restaurants in the area.
WCVB: When you’re not honing your skills or performing, what do you do for fun?
TC: I tend to work on magic around 80 hours a week. There are tons of things to do to run the business side in addition to the magic. When I’m not working I am relaxing with my dog and cat, or checking out some local food or drink options.
To learn more about the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre, or to order tickets to one of his upcoming performances, please visit http://www.lakegenevamagic.com. Catch him if you can…