How does a boy from Long Beach, California, go from being the country's youngest ballroom dance champion to a respected, top drawing magician in the Entertainment Capital of the World? Practice, practice, practice.
If the lines outside of the Stardust theater these afternoons are any indication, than illusionist Rick Thomas's practice is paying off handsomely. At the mid-Strip hotel/casino since March, this engagement follows a successful eight year run at the Tropicana Hotel.
Even if "The Magic of Rick Thomas" wasn't a good show, which it is, the bargain price would probably be enough to attract the family crowd. If the production was put together on a low budget, it doesn't show. There is plenty of dazzle and glamour - with five beautiful and talented dancers and five beautiful white and orange Bengal tigers. The "baby" of the cat family, adorable Morpheus Jr., is a real crowd pleaser, while the beautiful big cats draw gasps of admiration and amazement from the audience.
Thomas, looking like a cross between Wayne Newton and Liberace (I say that in a complimentary way) and sometimes sounding like he is impersonating Kirk Douglas, conveys a warm and friendly stage persona. Because he appears to have fun, so does the audience. There are willing participants, ready to volunteer to assist the star of the show with some clever illusions. One of the highlights of the show involves a child from the audience who, within a few minutes, Thomas manages to turn into an integral part of the proceedings. Unlike some magicians, although Thomas is very professional and skilled in his presentation, he doesn't take himself too seriously. In addition to lots of "ooohs and aaahs," there are also plenty of laughs.
Music is an important part of Rick Thomas's show, perhaps because of his dance background. It is evident that he chooses the selections with great care. The girls are pretty and well costumed. Whether dancing or serving as assistants to Thomas, they serve as more than just eye candy.
Personally, I have always felt that the thing that sets one magician apart from another is their personality. Just about as important as the illusions, is the connection between the star and the audience. If that isn't there, it almost doesn't matter how flashy or large the props, tricks and gimmicks are. There needs to be that chemistry, just like in a romance. Some magicians just don't have it. In the case of Thomas, he wins the audience over with his anxious-to-please attitude and humor. Named Magician of the Year by the International Academy of Magical Arts, Rick Thomas offers daytime entertainment for the entire family - and at an affordable ticket price to boot. That in itself is magic.