chews the scenery

The Magic Show

The Magic Show is a musical in one act composed and with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Bob Randall (who also wrote 6 Rms Riv Vu). It starred magician Doug Henning. It opened in May 1974 at the Cort Theatre and ran for 1,920 performances, until December 31 1978. Henning was nominated for a Tony award for "Best Featured Actor in a Musical" and director Grover Dale was nominated for the Tony for "Best Direction of a Musical." As of September 2008, The Magic Show is the 28th longest running musical in Broadway history.


The setting for the show is a seedy nightclub, the Top Hat, where an aging alcoholic magician, "Feldman the Magnificent," chews the scenery in his overly grand performance. Manny, the Top Hat owner wants to replace him and brings in Doug. Doug is very unconventional and has an assistant named Cal. Cal is in love with Doug, but he is focused on advancing his career. Donna and Dina are the rock act in the club. One of them dates the nephew of a big agent named Goldfarb. Goldfarb is coming to the club to check out Donna and Dina's act, and everyone is excited.

Meanwhile, Doug pays little attention to Cal and decides that he needs a "beautiful assistant". Cal is hurt, as Doug conjures up the beautiful Charmin. Donna and Dina get jealous, and along with Feldman, plot to expose the secrets to Doug's tricks during the show. Doug finally realizes he loves Cal, and gets to her before she leaves. Charmin is sent back to wherever she came from, and all ends up well.

Musical numbers

  • Up to His Old Tricks - Entire Company
  • Sold Silver Platform Shoes - Dina and Donna
  • Lion Tamer - Cal
  • Style - Feldman and Company
  • Charmin's Lament - Charmin
  • Two's Company - Dina and Donna
  • The Goldfarb Variations - Dina, Feldman, Donna, Manny and Charmin
  • Doug's Act - Doug
  • A Bit of Villainy - Feldman, Dina and Donna
  • West End Avenue - Cal
  • Sweet, Sweet, Sweet - Charmin, Manny, Mike and Steve
  • Before Your Very Eyes - Dina, Donna and Feldman

Opening night cast

Opening night band

  • Stephen Reinhardt, keyboards, musical director
  • Paul Shafer, keyboards
  • Steve Manes, bass
  • Brian McCormick, guitar
  • Gerry Weiner, guitar
  • Joey Saulter, drums


In 2001, The Magic Show was issued on DVD from Image Entertainment as a filmed performance of a production from 1981, directed by Norman Campbell at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto. This production differed notably from the original Broadway production, with several of the most memorable songs, such as West End Avenue and Solid Silver Platform Shoes, left out to make it easier for Canadians to understand. Doug Henning reprised his original starring role, while Didi Conn co-starred as Cal.

External links

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