Michael Grandinetti is a master magician. Not only because he’s one of the best illusionists working today, but because he effortlessly creates the magic and wonder that comes with seeing the impossible become possible. In 2020, he’s bringing that wonderful feeling to audiences in the United States and Canada with his newest tour.
In between tour dates, Michael took some time to speak with me about what audiences can expect on this tour, how he’s developed his live shows over his lengthy career, and what it really takes for a magician to make the unbelievable illusions that audiences get to see up close and personal. Get to know him better in our interview!
Brittany Frederick: You have a wide variety of stops on this tour. What goes into constructing a tour schedule?
Michael Grandinetti: It’s really quite a process; we started putting all of this together last fall. It can actually happen one of two ways. You can plan the route that you want to go on, and schedule shows around that route, or you can schedule the shows first and then put together the best route, and that’s what we did. Touring a show is like solving a giant puzzle, but it’s an exciting process, especially when you start to see all of the details coming together.
BF: Are there certain stops that you’re particularly excited for this time around?
MG: I’m really excited about all of them. They’re all really great cities. Some of them are places I’ve been before and there are new several cities, where I’ve never been. And I love both situations.
For example, one of the stops on this year’s tour is Nova Scotia, Canada. I’ve never been there and I’ve heard great things about it, so I’m looking forward to the experience of visitng and performing there. For our shows in Hershey, PA, because I’m originally from Pittsburgh, which is relatively close by, there will be many friends and family members in the audience, which I love.
We just got back from Edmonton, Canada, where we performed four shows with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and Stockton, CA, where we performed with the Stockton Symphony. Both were fantastic experiences.
We’ll be doing multiple shows in Detroit, which I’m looking forward to. We’ll be premiering our new interactive show at the casinos in Florence, OR and Saratoga Springs, NY. Knoxville, TN is up next, and it will be our first time there, which should be a lot of fun. So I really can’t wait to visit all of the cities we have on our schedule. They always make us feel so welcome.
BF: Constructing a magic tour, though, is different from a concert tour or a stand-up tour. Do you decide to plan a tour and then develop your show for those venues, or do you have to start building the show before you ever look at tour dates?
MG: We’ve been touring consistently for about 15 years now and every year, I try to enhance and improve our show that we take out on the road. I very much enjoy the process of trying to make each year’s touring show top the last, so I’m always working on new magic and illusions to introduce into the shows, usually around five or six new pieces each year. This way, we have what I hope are our best illusions for new cities and, when we do hit cities that we’ve been in before, people will have something to brand new to see there too.
Touring gives me a wonderful opportunity to then share what we’ve been working so hard on with many different audiences not only across the country, but really across the continent. I absolutely love that. This tour is really exciting because it’s a wide mix of casino shows, theater shows, and performances with symphony orchestras, where they provide the music while we perform.
BF: What are some of the illusions that are part of the 2020 tour?
MG: One of our new illusions that I’m especially excited about is a new version of dividing a person in half. The twist is, instead of cutting myself or one of my assistants in half, I cut a randomly selected audience member a half. They really had no idea when they came to the show,that they were going to be part of the illusion. Once they’re cut in half, we take a photo of them so they can see how it all looked, and the best part is, at the very end, they have no idea how it was done themselves. It’s been getting great reactions and that’s one that I’m really having a lot of fun with.
We’re also including several of my favorite illusions in the show, like our levitation where I float ten feet in the air. I’ve had the chance to perform this one in so many different places, from the middle of football stadiums, surrounded by 70,000 people, to the middle of Hollywood Boulevard, and it’s an illusion that I’ll just about always have in our show.
When we perform with the symphony orchestras, the orchestras will actually surround us and play while I’m floating, which gives it a whole different dimension. We’ve been performing with symphonies for over 20 years now, and I can’t tell you how much fun it is to be doing magic with that amazing music right behind you.
BF: The other aspect of your career which is unique is that you make a point of incorporating TV appearances into your act. So how exactly do you balance your schedule, between prep time, tour dates and then any TV work that you have to do? That would seem to be chaotic.
MG: It’s definitely a very full schedule, twenty-four seven. I get very little sleep at times, but that’s not a complaint. I absolutely love what I do. I get up every morning excited to get to work and I work all day to figure out not only all of the tour logistics, but all of the magic elements and the creative elements of the shows that support the magic – the music, the staging, the costumes, and the lighting.
And with so many different kinds of shows on this tour, each of them has different requirements. Not to mention that every venue is a little bit different, so that has to be planned for as well. The key is to take one step at a time. That really is the most important thing so that everything gets done correctly. Even though my schedule can get really busy, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was a little kid.
BF: Has the additional TV exposure helped your live tour?
MG: I think every bit of visibility helps and our TV work has certainly been a part of that. I’d also say that in going back to cities for a second and third time, there are people who have seen our shows in the past who come back as well. My main goal, in every show, is to give the audience the very best time possible. I want to see everyone leave the theater with a smile on their face and I really hope that we create great memories for them and that they want to come back to see our latest show again and again.
BF: What does Michael Grandinetti want to say to those audiences about this tour specifically?
MG: I’m so excited to be on this tour and I can’t wait to see everyone in the cities we’ll be visiting. We have a lot of magic planned! I also want to say a big thank-you to everyone that has bought tickets to our shows, both on past tours and our current one, with some people even traveling from out of state to get to the city nearest to them. That means the world to me, and I hope we give you a night to remember!
Michael Grandinetti’s current tour runs through April 24; tour dates are listed below. For more information, visit Michael’s website.
MICHAEL GRANDINETTI 2020 TOUR DATES
March 7 – Knoxville, TN
March 21 – Hershey, PA (2:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.)
March 27-29 – Detroit, MI
April 4 – Florence, OR
April 9 – Saratoga Springs, NY (two shows)
April 17-19 – Nova Scotia, Canada
April 24 – Uncasville, CT
Article content is (c)2020 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr.