Willy Sanjuan / Invision / AP
Wednesday, July 25, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Criss Angel is one of the most recognizable and awarded illusionists in the world. His Las Vegas Strip show “Criss Angel Mindfreak Live” at the Luxor will close out a decade-long run later this year and he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last summer.
But Angel’s most recent accolade may have been his greatest yet. Earlier this month in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the International Brotherhood of Magicians presented Angel with the Lifetime Achievement Award, an honor bestowed upon only five other performers in the magical organization’s long history and only two other “commercial” magicians: Siegfried & Roy.
“It’s the most respected magic organization in the world and the largest one and it’s been around almost 100 years. This is essentially the highest achievement in the magical arts,” Angel says. “I’m the sixth person and also the youngest person to receive it. And everyone on the [organization’s] board has to vote unanimously, which is why it’s so difficult to get. One person votes no and it doesn’t go. It’s pretty mind-blowing.”
Angel had to accept the award and give a speech via FaceTime since he was in Las Vegas doing his traditional two shows a night at Luxor. The award was presented by Michael Finney, IBM international president, and Lance Burton, another Vegas magic legend.
Angel says he was humbled by the recognition and that he doesn’t take it for granted, adding that it’s additional fuel for his fire to create new, incredible experiences for his audience. He’s doing that right now.
The 50-year-old, New York-born entertainer is currently pulling double-duty, performing at the Luxor at night and spending most of his daytime hours developing his next production. “Mindfreak Live,” collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, closes at the Luxor on Oct. 28. Whatever comes next for Angel will likely come very soon after that; an announcement for his new show in Las Vegas is expected within weeks.
“It’s been an amazing run of 10 years [at Luxor] and I’ve been working with Cirque for longer than that,” he says. “We’ve had great times and not-so-great times, but it’s all been an incredible learning experience for me as an artist and a human being and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’m very grateful to Cirque and MGM for an incredible opportunity, and our show for the last 10 years has been the No. 1 best-selling magic show in the world, not just in Vegas.
“But it is time to close this chapter and go on to the next phase. I’ve been working on new material for the last 20 years and it’s time to open a new chapter.”