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Presto! Magic show reappears at Maryland Theatre

August 20, 2006|by ALICIA NOTARIANNI

HAGERSTOWN - The magic was gone. One wanted to work it out, the other was not interested. And so in 1994, it ended.

Charlie James said the local magic group, the King Magic Ring, had performed for years at The Maryland Theatre.

"When the theater changed hands, they weren't interested in having us back," said James, a member of the group.

Until this year, that is, when Brian Sullivan became executive director of The Maryland Theatre, and reignited the relationship. So it seemed almost poetic that Saturday's show, Festival of Magic, opened with a simulated bang of dynamite as part of the act.

"We are very pleased to be back," James said. "Now, we're just starting again and building back up. Hopefully, this will become a yearly event."

James, who directed the show, said he was pleased with the audience of more than 200 people, considering the event is just getting back on its feet.

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Sullivan said Festival of Magic was the last of the theater's summer family shows, and he already is planning next year's events.

"We want to offer a cheap ticket so families can take some time, sit down and give the kids an introduction to the fine world of performing arts and theater," Sullivan said.

A number of families were present at the event. Tickets cost $10.

John Flood said his 4-year-old son, Niklas, got a taste for magic when magician David Bowers performed at his most recent birthday party. When Flood found out Bowers would be one of nine performers at the Festival of Magic, he and his wife, Christine Flood, decided to take Niklas and their 13-month-old son, Kyle, to the show.

Paula Aitken of Damascus, Md., took her daughters Paulena, 7, and Paige, 5, to the event.

"I was on the Web looking for activities for the girls, and I knew they hadn't been to anything quite like that," Paula Aitken said.

Paige Aitken volunteered to go on stage and act as an assistant to magician Grant Berry. Berry gave Paige a wand and asked her to help him with a scarf trick. Then, he pulled a gag in which the wand continuously multiplied, and went on to call Paige a "wand piggy." Paige giggled at the act.

Greg and Patsy Beckman went to the event with their sons, Patrick, 4, and Dominick, 2.

"My husband recently started working in Hagerstown and telling me all the new things that are going on at the theater - things that are interesting and good for the kids," Patsy Beckman said.

She said her family attended a showing of the film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at The Maryland Theatre not long ago, and decided to go back for the Festival of Magic.

"It's a really nice thing to do for a family on a Saturday," Beckman said.

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