Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2017

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Criss Angel, recovered from shoulder surgery, returns to ‘Believe’; ‘Magic Jam’ to continue


Cashman Photography

Criss Angel, with fiancee Sandra Gonzalez, celebrates the fifth anniversary of his Cirque du Soleil show “Believe” at the Luxor on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, at a party at Rx Boiler Room in Mandalay Place.

Criss Angel in Times Square for Spike TV

Criss Angel in Times Square in New York for his Spike TV series “Believe.” Launch slideshow »

Criss Angel’s ‘Believe’ on Spike TV

Criss Angel’s “Believe” on Spike TV.

Launch slideshow »

Shoulder surgeons and rehab specialists have given their OK for Magician of the Century Criss Angel to restart his Luxor headliner show “Believe” at the Luxor on Tuesday.

“It will have a whole new look,” Criss told me. “We’ve got new music, lighting and costumes, and the entire cast and crew are excited to return.”

Cirque du Soleil’s “Believe” went on hiatus for 10 weeks while Criss recuperated from January shoulder surgery in L.A. for torn muscles that separated during a Times Square hanging escape stunt for his Spike TV series also titled “Believe.”

Criss will not be permitted to do the upside-down straightjacket escape over the audience’s heads when “Believe” returns Tuesday. His apprentice, 22-year-old Krystyn Lambert, will perform the stunt.

However, Criss is adding material for the show’s return.

“Our opening is completely new. Then we’re adding my version of Lance Burton’s signature ‘Oscar With Swords’ illusion. He’s never given the rights to anybody before, but he allowed me to ‘Angel-ize’ it.

“I pay homage to Lance, who is held in the highest regard and twice awarded Magician of the Year. He performed more than 5,000 shows for over 5 million people next door at the Monte Carlo.

“Also for the first time in the past five years of ‘Believe,’ I will go right into the audience to perform close-up magic. I wanted to make it more intimate, interesting and exciting with the audience 360 degrees surrounding me. We’ll have a video camera on the close-ups to show on our big screens.

“Next comes the most revolutionary levitation you’ll ever see. This will be its year. It’s the most complicated thing I’ve ever undertaken in my career. It’s already taken years to develop, but we’re planning it for later this year.”

During the injury recovery break, Criss, who had seven screws inserted into his right arm and bolted in place with a reinforced protective sling, staged “Magic Jam.” He hosted other magicians in a variety format on the “Believe” stage: Nathan Burton, Russ Merlin, Jason Byrne, Armando Vera, mentalist Banachek and Krystyn.

“We all had a lot of fun,” Criss told me. “It was a great experience for all of us. They were many unsung heroes, and it gave them their own starring platform. We are very proud of what we achieved. It was hugely successful, and Star Pulse named us the Best Variety Show on the Strip. A new version simply titled ‘Criss Angel Presents Magic” will be ready in the New Year for engagements planned to tour America and Europe.”

In the week between the end of “Magic Jam” and getting “Believe” ready again, Criss was honored as one of the Vegas Dozen. He attended Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley rematch and while at The Jacksons’ “Rocktellz & Cocktails” in Planet Hollywood met Carlos Santana and Boyz II Men.

“Now we’re back to 10 new shows a week and operating full speed ahead,” he summed up. “I can’t say enough wonderful things and thanks for what my doctors were able to do for me. That was real magic.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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