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Rainbow magic: Magician Michael Carbonaro's "Lies on Stage" coming to the Neptune Theater

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Michael Carbonaro — Courtesy photo
Michael Carbonaro — Courtesy photo

Michael Carbonaro has performed over 500 comically perplexing and improbable feats of magic on his hit hidden-camera TV series The Carbonaro Effect on truTV, and once again, he is taking his show on the road. If you have ever wondered what it must feel like to be on the other side of the charmingly devious Carbonaro as he works his magic to make people believe the unbelievable, now is your chance to find out.

I have been a fan of Carbonaro since seeing him in Another Gay Movie, a cult classic from 18 years ago. I had a chance to chat with him over Zoom a few weeks ago. Here are some excerpts:

On his influences:
"My first love was special makeup effects, especially in horror movies and anything with cool, practical effects. In my TV show The Carbonaro Effect, we combined magic with practical effects on real people, like live practical effects...

"Growing up, it was all about David Copperfield and Penn and Teller, who brought that wild edge to things... When I went to NYU, I initially studied theater with the goal of becoming the next David Copperfield. But during training, I discovered a talent for comic acting, ...stand-up comedy, and improv. I found myself torn between being a magician or an actor, a question I still ponder today.

"However, The Carbonaro Effect allowed me to blend acting, improv, and magic in real scenarios with real people, creating a brilliant mix of my passions. Similarly, I adore performing live, relishing the improvisational nature of interacting with the audience during my magic shows. Every performance is unique, keeping me on my toes, and I absolutely love it."

On the stage show:
"Well, it's all-ages, which is my favorite kind of show to do. ...It's not a kid's show, but it's an all-ages show. And I just love that audience to play on a lot of different levels. It's tons of audience participation: people coming up and helping out with the tricks, me going out into the audience and playing with people right in their seats.

"I have [a part of] the show where I teach everyone how they can perform a Carbonaro Effect prank of their very own, kind of take them behind the scenes, orchestrating it. And then, as a grand finale, I take two people from the audience and make them disappear on stage every night."

On marriage to Peter Stickles:
"We've been married for 11 years, probably together for a few before that. We met through MySpace because of a mutual friend. I saw he was in a movie, and we hit it off over our roles in Another Gay Movie and Shortbus. We fell in love at the Shortbus DVD release party. Peter's on the road with me, helping backstage and taking care of our poodle."

On his future plans:
"I'm constantly juggling four magic TV projects, though none are greenlit yet. With The Carbonaro Effect, I ended it on a high note, transforming into a 14-year-old magician for the final episode. While some want more seasons, I'm focused on new ventures. It's frustrating when industry folks praise my past work but hesitate on new ideas. I'm holding out for the right team, even if it means waiting."

Be sure to catch "Carbonaro: Lies on Stage" for two shows on Sat, June 22: an all-ages show is at 2 p.m.; the other is at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the tour or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.MichaelCarbonaro.com