Top Magician Whirls into China

The amazing David Copperfield, the American magician known as the "giant of magic" (New York Times), will return to China to perform a tour of four cities.

The tour begins in Shenzhen, where he will perform eight shows to starstruck audiences from July 9 to 14.

From July 17 to 21 he will perform in Guangzhou and will be in Shanghai from July 24 to 28. Beijing will not miss out -- Copperfield also plans to conjure up a few tricks for Beijing residents at the Capital Gymnasium from July 31 to August 5.

With his theatrical performances that combine history, story-telling, romance, and high-tech spectacles, Copperfield promises to give Chinese audiences surprises beyond their wildest dreams -- amazing sights, precise lighting, song and dance and complex plots.

Copperfield's first China visit took place in 1986 when he shocked and amazed millions of people with a mysterious magic performance of "walking through the Great Wall."

In July 2001, Copperfield gave his first commercial performance in the Guangzhou Gymnasium for five evenings, with huge success.

In addition to decades of network television events, worldwide tours, and "Dreams and Nightmares," the critically acclaimed Broadway show that achieved box-office records, he has been featured on the covers of Forbes, Architectural Digest and Esquire and is the 13th highest paid entertainer in the world.

David Copperfield was born David Seth Kotkin in New Jersey on September 16, 1956. He began performing under the name of "The Boy Davino" at the age of 12 in his hometown of Metuchen.

Not long after that he became the youngest magician to be admitted into the Society of American Magicians. At the age of 16 he began teaching magic at New York University.

During his first week of college, he was cast as the lead in the Chicago musical, "The Magic Man." He used the stage name of David Copperfield there for the first time. He acted, sang and created all the magic in the show, which became the longest running musical in Chicago history.

As a result, he was chosen to host and star in "The Magic of ABC." His performance was so successful that CBS signed Copperfield for a series of specials, beginning with "The Magic of Copperfield."

With each new special, Copperfield created and performed even more mind-boggling feats before a live audience, without the aid of camera tricks or visual effects. These specials have aired in over 40 countries, reaching an estimated audience of over 3 billion people.

What makes Copperfield so special, is that he really understands his craft. His grand illusions include walking through the Great Wall, making the Statue of Liberty disappear, escaping from a building that had just been demolished with him in it, escaping from Alcatraz, making the Orient Express disappear, entering the Bermuda Triangle and escaping, levitating across the Grand Canyon and making a seven-ton Lear jet plane disappear!

During his work, he also performs on a smaller scale, just as impressive illusions, such as walking through a giant extractor fan, the death saw, making it snow in an arena, and many, many more mind-boggling feats.

"As a magician, David Copperfield leaves his peers with the most questions," said Liu Shuzheng, a Chinese magician who is a member of the International Magician's Society. "With his television magic programs and super large-scale performances, Copperfield has contributed a great deal to the renaissance of magic."

"Copperfield performs not only with fascinating magic effects, but also with humor and interaction with audiences," said Wang Zhiwei, another Chinese magician who has seen over 50 shows of Copperfield around the world. "He is an important figure in upgrading magic entertainment to the level of art."

Copperfield has received the Emmy Award several times and was twice elected "the best entertainment celebrity of the year." He was the first magician to be honored with a star on the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.

Last year he found himself climbing up two spots on the "World Entertainment Celebrity Billboard," moving from eighth to sixth place, before Madonna, Kevin Costner and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Of all his accomplishments, Copperfield insists that his greatest work to date is Project Magic, a rehabilitative program established in March, 1982 to strengthen dexterity and motor skills in disabled patients, using sleight-of-hand magic as a method of therapy.

By giving these patients a skill that able-bodied people don't possess, Project Magic also motivates patients and helps them build self-esteem. Project Magic has been accredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association and is currently implemented in 1,100 hospitals of 30 countries worldwide.

Copperfield also made his foray into the literary world, joining forces with Dean Koontz, Joyce Carol Oates, Ray Bradbury and others for "David Copperfield's Tales of the Impossible," an anthology of original fiction set in the world of magic and illusion. This collection was so well-received that a second volume was published, "David Copperfield's Beyond Imagination."

In addition to performing over 550 shows per year around the world, Copperfield has a passion for preserving the art of magic for future generations.

His International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts is a permanent home for antiquarian props, books and other historical ephemera related to magic.

The museum houses the world's premiere collection of historical documentation and artifacts pertaining to magic, illusion, and the arts.

Copperfield's research of magic enables him to create one after the other wonders.

"In the world of David Copperfield, everything is possible," said Chinese magician Wang Zhiwei.

(China Daily June 24, 2002)

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