By Robin Leach
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 | 3:06 p.m.
Despite still being in recovery and rehab from intensive 3-hour-plus shoulder surgery, magician Criss Angel vows that his new show “Magic Jam” will premiere on schedule one week from tonight.
“It’s been a dream for many years,” he said. “I promise you that it will be the best of the best from my friends in magic who are the most talented of artists in its different disciplines.”
Criss revealed that he, too, will be onstage, but in a limited capacity.
“The operation was way more than either the doctor or I expected,” he told me. “What was expected to be 45 minutes of surgery turned into nearly 3 1/2 hours. It was the most painful experience of my life, but I had no choice but to go through with it.
“I got into rehab as soon as I possibly could because I wanted to make sure we had the ‘Magic Jam’ show up and running while I recovered fully before resuming ‘Believe.’
“However, I’m going to unveil the new opening magic routine for the ‘Believe’ show. ‘Magic Jam’ audiences will get a sneak preview of it for two months before I’m physically able to bring ‘Believe’ back full time in April.”
The illusionist wrecked his shoulder while hanging upside down in two straight jackets pinned by heavy-metal weights in New York’s Times Square for an episode of his Spike TV series, also titled “Believe,” last fall.
Doctors told Criss that he had no choice but to undergo the operation if he wanted to work again. He underwent the surgery in Los Angeles this month and 11 days later was back home in Las Vegas prepping “Magic Jam.”
He’ll host his cast from the Spike TV show: his “intern” female magician Krystyn Lambert, mentalist Banachek and comedy-illusionist Nathan Burton.
The lineup of legendary wizards include the world’s best close-up artist Armando Vera, funnyman Russ Merlin, master manipulator Tony Clark and Jason Byrne, who is well known to Las Vegas audiences.
“It’s going to be the best of the best — a real blast,” said Criss. “It’s unlike anything ever seen in Las Vegas before. I’ve taken what they normally perform in 90 minutes, selected the absolute best of what they could pull off in 10 to 15 minutes and trimmed it down to a nonstop compilation of absolute mind-blowing magic.
“It comes at you like a NASCAR high-speed race, and even I have been blown away in our rehearsals. I can honestly say it’s unique, it’s incredibly impressive, and it’s better than I ever thought possible.
“It’s a show for all ages — kids and young and old adults are going to be on the edge of their seats. There’s never been so much magic on one stage ever before from so many different top stars.”
In addition to previewing his new “Believe” opening, Criss promises to end the show with several of his top illusions seen on television but not in “Believe.”
He also promised that when “Believe” returns to the Luxor in April, he will be readying his new, never-seen levitation act that has been a three-year project. Nathan led a backstage tour of “Believe” before Criss’ surgery.
Criss is hoping that “Magic Jam” will go on tour through North America this summer. Dates and cities are being negotiated and planned.
“I hope that I would be able to fly in and out of the cities when I’m off for the night at ‘Believe,’ ” he added.