Choreography, Tiger Martina; lighting, Gregory Cohen; sound, Robert Cotnoir. Opened Sept. 29, 1996, at the Lamb’s Theater. Reviewed Sept. 28; 350 seats; $ 45 top. Running time: 1 HOUR, 30 MIN.
Joseph Gabriel is an attractive young man with an amiable personality and a talent for sleight of hand, both of which are displayed to good advantage in “Magic on Broadway.” If at times the seams show in some of the tricks, with “invisible” wires too visible, hidden props bulging through formal attire and doubles making themselves clear, the evening is nonetheless infused with Gabriel’s warmth and good spirits, as well as the enthusiasm of the show’s talented dancers.
In his initial moments onstage, Gabriel shows off the arched eyebrow that magicians typically use to remind us that they are more clever than we, but he manages after a while to relax out of it.
He treats the audience almost as equals, even though few can turn handkerchiefs into birds, birds into lovely magician’s assistants, and lovely assistants into thin air. He is a benevolent master, recognizing that the adults in the audience must be treated with the same noblesse oblige as the many children.
However, the too-loud disco music is at times downright annoying, seemingly intended for a venue of some dimension greater than the Lamb’s Theater. (This may be a carryover from the show’s dozen years of playing Vegas.)
Also annoying is the midshow appearance by juggler Romano Frediani, who displays an arrogance so happily absent from Gabriel’s performance. His “I can do this and you can’t” air might have been better established had he dropped fewer items.