Misty Lee’s ‘Bold Magic’ takes chances at El Portal July 28-30

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Four shows of illusions, mind reading and much more in NoHo

Russian roulette with daggers. Deals with the devil. Tests between the living and the dead. To Magician Misty Lee, the phrase “Bold Magic” is decidedly not just colorful show business hyperbole.

Magician Misty Lee twists the stereotypes of women in magic. See “Bold Magic” in NoHo July 28-30.

A skilled illusionist, escape artist and medium, Lee is known for pushing the boundaries of traditional stage magic far beyond the well-worn top hats and white rabbits. “I started my magic career as the girl in the box,” Lee says of her early days as a magician’s assistant. “The glamour of that particular career choice wore off quickly to say the least, especially when I realized that with some determination and practice, I could perform all the tricks myself.”

Not content to simply follow the well-trodden path of those who had gone before, Lee immediately started to rethink the established conventions of stage magic. It’s one thing to escape from a straight jacket, it’s quite another to film it as an allegorical PSA depicting a battered woman’s escape from an abusive relationship. “Magic can be a powerful form of communication,” Lee states. “Especially when you fuse it with a very human message.”

Magician Misty Lee prepares to “stab” a delighted volunteer at the Magic Castle, Halloween, 2016. Don’t miss “Bold Magic” at El Portal Theatre.
Photos by Kari Hendler.

That forward thinking has been driving Misty from the beginning, and she has reinforced and refined her performer’s philosophy over time. “I learned a lot while building my career,” Lee admits, “and I’m honored to have mastered elements of the craft thanks to some very wise, very generous teachers. But the biggest lesson I learned was to be true to the kind of performing that excited me, and to always welcome the opportunity to take chances.”

Audiences who have been enthralled by Misty Lee’s shows at Morongo Casino, and Hollywood’s Magic Castle or her appearance on TV’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us can attest to the bold chances Lee takes in her performances. Living up to her nickname as “The Wicked Witch of the West Coast,” mischievous Misty might dispose of a “volunteer” via an electric chair, get snarky with Shastaaa, her temperamental “mind reading honey badger, or sweet-talk an audience member into a card game that quickly escalates into a battle for the player’s soul. And while not every audience member at a Misty Lee show will be invited to the stage, it’s Lee’s intent to make everyone in the theatre feel as if they are active participants in the experience. “The concept of Bold Magic doesn’t end with me and my assistants,” Lee reveals. “It’s an invitation for the audience to take a dare along with us, to shatter preconceived notions and discover something strong and wonderful about themselves at the same time. That’s the essence of real magic.”

“Bold Magic” debuts Friday, July 28 through Sunday, July 30 at the El Portal Theatre located on the corner of Lankershim Blvd. and Weddington St. in the NoHo Arts District of North Hollywood. For tickets and show times visit BoldMagic.show.

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