Mat Franco — Magic Reinvented Nightly (Las Vegas)
There used to be a certain iconography associated with magicians.
Theatrical and showy by nature, the go-to idealized image of a magician is a gentleman in a silky tuxedo, sporting a top hat — perfect for withdrawing a rabbit — maybe even a dramatic cape and a pair of Mickey Mouse gloves.
Headliner Mat Franco isn’t that kind of magician. The first — and so far only — magician to take home the top prize on NBC’s televised variety talent competition America’s Got Talent, Franco was also the first AGT winner to receive a spin-off special, Mat Franco’s Got Magic, airing on NBC in September 2015.
In a city populated with magicians, Franco, ironically, stands out by being the most grounded of the bunch: there’s the grand and operatic illusionist David Copperfield; the darker, but every-bit-as-flashy Criss Angel, with his leather-clad, goth-emo aesthetic of the Mindfreak; the campy and zany Celebrity Magician Murray Sawchuck, among others.
And then there’s Mat Franco, 28, standing in stark contrast to the competition. He’s the talented kid in class with a penchant for magic, relishing in his ability to awe and stupefy his classmates in the school cafeteria — in this instance, the LINQ Theater.
Starring in Mat Franco — Magic Reinvented Nightly at the LINQ Hotel & Casino, Franco is redefining magic. The fresh-faced Rhode Islander is big on up-close magic and sleight of hand, but the show is far from small scale: the theater and the stage are broad and accommodating to Franco’s skills, and makes for a nice first step until Franco’s inevitable evolution to an even bigger stage and showroom.
The skill on display is as impressive as it is inexplicable, whether Franco is producing playing cards and wine bottles from thin air, seemingly displacing and teleporting objects, or using randomized spectators in his tricks to form a personalized, one-night-only performance unique to each audience.
From the outside, magic is indecipherable and apparent wizardry. In reality, the revelations behind the “how” of each trick is probably quite mundane, but you’ll be too busy wallowing in amazement to bother wracking your brain trying to figure out the tricks. It’s genuine magic.
That’s the best kind of magic: the kind that captivates, leaving you flabbergasted and confounded without making you feel like a fool. Franco’s genuine and personable disposition helps sell the con — he’s not laughing at you, he’s laughing with you.
Despite Franco not billing himself as a comedian, his natural charisma and sense of humor lends him an advantage over most magicians. With tricks involving audience participation a major part of the performance, Franco’s improv comedy skills have to be on point, or the show risks feeling overly scripted inflexible; as is, his breezy comedy and his ability to ad-lib ensures the show feels fresh and natural with each performance.
Feel-good and fun — and as funny as it is enthralling — Mat Franco — Magic Reinvented Nightly is one of the absolute must-see shows in Vegas.
Mat Franco — Magic Reinvented Nightly is performed at the LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ticket prices start at $39 + all applicable fees. (As of April 3, 2017, ticket prices will start at $45 + all applicable fees.) A VIP Experience is available with a $50 upgrade on any section + all applicable fees, per person. The VIP Experience includes: a personal meet & greet and photo with Mat Franco directly following the performance, a VIP laminate, a signed keepsake souvenir and a complimentary beverage. Subject to availability and schedule changes.