Chris Cox’s Broadway Debut

By Kathy Henderson for Broadway Direct – 

Chris Cox looks like your friendly next-door neighbor, with boyishly messy hair, oversized eyeglasses, and a wardrobe of colorful suspenders. But don’t underestimate this self-described “big geek”: Cox is one of the most celebrated magicians in the world, and a headliner in the forthcoming six-week Broadway engagement of The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays. Billed as “The Mentalist,” he will show off his astonishing mind-reading skills at the Neil Simon Theatre from November 29 to January 2, 2020.

Since its debut at Australia’s Sydney Opera House in 2012, The Illusionists has become an international hit, including record-breaking engagements on Broadway. The show, says Cox, “takes the heart of what makes magic exciting and creates something fresh and new and relevant. It’s all about that human connection and making impossible things seem possible.”

To be clear, Cox himself doesn’t claim to be clairvoyant. “I often say that I’m a mind reader who can’t read minds,” he says, speaking with Broadway Direct from London, where The Illusionists recently wrapped up a West End run. And yet Cox manages to amaze audience members by revealing detailed tidbits about their lives and personalities, from favorite foods and favorite bands to names and birthdays. His skill as a magician and impeccable comic timing have impressed celebrity fans including comedian Ricky Gervais, who calls the 35-year-old magician “brilliant; he’ll blow your mind.”

Cox began playing around with magic as a kid in Bristol, England, where he first took the stage at the Hippodrome at age 11 in the chorus of a musical. After studying psychology, he began using his powers of deduction as a magician, making his professional debut at 20 at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. “The joy of magic is to create a world where you feel like a kid again,” he says. “My job is to make you laugh — and to question how the hell I know information about you that there is no way I should be able to know. I don’t work with big props and illusions; I work with people’s thoughts and emotions. There’s a gray area between something being a trick and being based in reality, but my goal is to make the show as entertaining as possible.”

The young star’s mischievous energy and embrace of silliness sets him apart from other mind-readers. “People often find mind-reading scary or a little bit sinister,” notes Cox, “but for me, it’s about creating excitement and fun, celebrating the human mind and what we can do with it. I never want an audience member to feel concerned about participating; I want them to have the most memorable experience possible. It’s always a pleasure to meet people after the show who loved taking part, and others who come up and say, ‘I wish you had picked me.’”

In addition to mind-reading, The Illusionists brings together the greatest practitioners of daredevil stunts, card manipulation, cutting-edge illusions, sleight-of-hand tricks, and teleportation. “I remember seeing the show as a young adult and thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be incredible to be part of this?’” Cox says. “It’s a phenomenal production, with huge screens, sets, and lighting. I sit at the side of the stage at most shows because it’s a so much fun to watch everyone else’s act. I find a place where I can see the audience’s faces light up with amazement.”

Cox has traveled the world with The Illusionists, including a three-month run in South Africa, three months in Reno, Nevada, and a sold-out run at Sydney Opera House. Meanwhile, he continues to appear solo on UK stages and in BBC specials and awards shows and assisted in creating magic and illusions for the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. “I’m never happier than when I’m standing in a theater,” says Cox, who even got married on stage back home at the Bristol Hippodrome. Now he’s headed to Broadway for the holiday season with his wife, a psychologist who offers ideas for his act, their two-year-old daughter, and a newborn due in early November.

“As a child who grew up watching Home Alone 2, I can’t believe we’re going to be in New York over Christmas,” Cox says with typical enthusiasm. “I look forward to taking my daughter to see Santa and just enjoying being together as a family when I’m not working.” His Great White Way debut comes after years on the other side of the Broadway footlights. “My wife and I spent way too much money flying over to see Hamilton when it first opened,” he recalls with a laugh, “so playing Broadway is genuinely a dream come true.”

As his own family grows, Cox is especially happy to be part of a spectacular production that appeals to theatergoers of all ages. “I love the idea that there are kids out there who might be seeing their first Broadway show, and that we will be part of their holiday memories,” he says. “Some might even be inspired to end up on stage themselves.”

Chris Cox To Star On Broadway in ‘The Illusionists – Magic Of The Holidays’

The Illusionists – Magic Of The Holidays will return to Broadway for a fifth holiday season, producers announced today.

The show, which this year will present seven illusionists, will run at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre from Friday, November 29, 2019, through Sunday, January 5, 2020. Simon Painter, Tim Lawson, MagicSpace Entertainment, and The Works Entertainment produce. Neil Dorward directs.

This year’s line-up of illusionists includes: mentalist Chris Cox; “trickster” Paul Dabek; magician Kevin James (“The Inventor”); Hyun Joon Kim (“The Manipulator”); quick-change artists Sos   & Victoria; and France’s Got Talent stand-out Enzo Weyne. This year’s show also will include performances by Verba Shadow Theatre.

The Illusionists Experience in Reno to be headlined by Cox

Great news North America. The Illusionists Experience, a brand new intimate version of the World’s Biggest Magic Show, The Illusionists will be opening on April 17th 2019 at the Eldorado Resort & Casino in Reno Nevada. Chris will be reprising his much loved role of The Mentalist in the show through to the end of June.

Maybe see you there?! 


The Illusionists Tour Australia With Chris Cox

After the huge success and rave reviews of his performance in The Illusionists Live From Broadway in South Africa and on it’s US Tour, Chris Cox is delighted to announce that he’ll be heading down under for December 2018 and January 2019 with The Illusionists – Direct From Broadway.

Chris will be bringing his unique, fun, hilarious and mind-blowing mind-reading to Sydney Opera House over Christmas 2018 after starting the tour in Canberra Theatre Centre. He’ll then be going on to QPAC in Brisbane before one final Australia Location.

This completely new, mind-blowing spectacular showcases the jaw-dropping talents of eight of the most incredible illusionists on earth. THE ILLUSIONISTS – DIRECT FROM BROADWAY has shattered box office records across the globe and dazzles audiences of all ages with a powerful mix of the most outrageous and astonishing acts ever to be seen on stage. The non-stop show is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions.

Audiences will witness stunning acts of grand illusion, levitation, mindreading, and disappearance.

The group of world class performers takes their cue from the showmanship of the great illusionists of the past such as Harry Houdini and pair it with a new and updated contemporary aesthetic, who set and costumes design lend the genre theatricality and artistry that has rarely been seen before.

Collectively these performers have been seen by millions of people around the world and this production showcases their incredible talents together on stage.

You can find out more about Chris in The Illusionists here