Feb 18, 2015

Halfstack Magazine Chicago

Should you ever coveted getting an invitation to the LA’s Magic Castle and don’t know an insider who can get you in the door, this is the next best thing. Direct from Beverly Hills, illusionist Ivan Amodei (pronounced E-von Ah-moe-day) has had a standing gig at the Beverly Wilshire for over five years. You may be lucky enough this season to catch his show at Chicago’s Ritz Carlton as Amodei travels back and forth from California to destination cities.

If you can catch his act on the road, you will be really entertained. Not like a David Copperfield or Criss Angel where you are sitting in the nose bleed seats across a stadium, Intimate Illusions is just that – intimate.


The show at the Ritz is small, about 200 seats and is presented three times a day. The audience is up close and personal and literally able to see everything — even from the back row where I was.

There isn’t a bad seat and Ivan Amodei is gregarious. He is all over the room talking to everyone. This is a fun adventure into magic. Packed with fun, on-the-spot humor, the show is spontaneous and has lots of audience participation. It is thought provoking and captivating while at the same time very witty and impromptu.

Ivan Amodei works to give meaning behind the magic as he tells stories and engages with the audience. And as each audience is unique, each show will vary slightly.

A solo cellist plays sound effects and background music. Because of the impromptu nature of the show, the music works really well and meanders around with selections by Bach, Vivaldi as well as Henry Mancini and Philip Glass.

It is an unusual pairing that works well to set the mood. The overall mood lends the magical feeling of Venice at Carnival. Slightly romantic in feel, is it fun for a date but surprisingly appropriate for most people over age 10 or 12 who will love it too.

In fact, it is wonderful faire for them as the jokes are witty and message is up lifting. Amodei is a good showman and a wonderful entertainer. He makes a point of getting to know his audience and engages with them even after the show.

The shows sell out quickly so jump should you get the opportunity. Catch it before it disappears. Go to for more info, show times and tickets.

Read article on Half Stacks site.