A colorful circus banner in the lobby of the El Portal Theatre boasts a portrait of a bizarre creature described as a “mind reading honey badger.” This is Shastaaa, just one of the many miracles hatched from the imagination of visionary magician Misty Lee.
“I was looking to create a new spin on the old ‘is this your card?’ gimmick,” Lee casually explains. “And the solution naturally was to bring in a clairvoyant carnivore.” While this offhanded statement raises a number of questions, the savvy magician offers no answers. Misty has already turned her attention to the challenge of transforming a child’s doll into a live ballerina, and simply says all will be revealed in her new show debuting Friday, July 28 at North Hollywood’s El Portal Theatre.
With every innovation, Misty Lee is shattering the traditional image of the card shuffling, wand-waving magician. From the packed showroom at Morongo Casino near Palm Springs, to sell-out performances at Hollywood’s Magic Castle, to her upcoming “dangerous” debut on TV’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us, the saucy sorceress is constantly redefining her trademark brand of “Bold Magic.”
“Bold Magic is taking inspiration from your fantasies and fears and bringing them to life on stage,” Lee says as she bewitchingly smiles in a manner best described as Mary Poppins meets Maleficent. “What’s it like to face the unknown? To tempt destruction and barter with dark forces for your soul? What happens when you reawaken your childlike desire to fly, to conjure shooting stars or talk with ghosts? Magic is a journey and the path isn’t always bright and sunny.”
This is evident as Misty’s repertoire includes a game of Russian roulette with razor-sharp knives and mystical excursions into divinations, transformations, and good old fashioned revenge. Birthday party magic for toddlers no, though older kids just setting foot into Harry Potter’s world will be enchanted by the illusions’ real life parallels. “In any magic story, the way to dawn is through darkness,” Misty explains. “There is a happy ending, but to get there the audience will have to follow me through light and shadow.”
Lee speaks from experience, as many of her illusions are born from her own life experiences and recollections of childhood emotions. “One of the main reasons I took up magic was to communicate common experiences with the audience through a language of wonder and imagination. We’ve all been through the loss of a loved one, or challenged adversity or reached for a dream we felt was just beyond our grasp. When my team and I transpose those incidents into feats of legerdemain, we forge a shared bond with the audience that is truly magical.”
“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.