Las Vegas Sun

August 1, 2014

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Columnist Joe Delaney: Burton No. 1 prestidigitator

MASTER MAGICIAN. ... Lance Burton, starring in his own production show in a 1,224 seat theater built to his specifications, will be appearing in the Monte Carlo Hotel until the year 2009. ... Burton performs twice a night, Tuesday through Saturday, with a weekly attendance average of 90 percent or better.

Born into a Kentucky farm family, not too far from Louisville, on March 10, 1960, Lance was 5 years old when a magician named Harry Collins asked the lad to assist him onstage. ... The die was cast. ... A neighbor gifted him with a small book of magic and a career was launched.

Collins became Burton's mentor; his influence continues strong today. ... In July of 1980, at age 20, Lance was the youngest person to receive the Gold Award for Excellence from The International Brotherhood of Magicians, the world's largest magic society.

Off to L.A.

Burton moved to California, worked at the Magic Castle, and made the first of many appearances on the Johnny Carson TV show. ... Carson allowed Lance to do his entire 12-minute act. ... It was this act that earned him a featured spot in the Tropicana's "Folies Bergere." ... He came in for eight weeks and stayed on for nearly 10 years.

During his Tropicana decade, Burton performed prestidigitation, in full formal attire, speaking not one word. ... On July 10, 1982, he won the Grand Prix at the Federation Internationale of Magic in Lausanne, Switzerland, the youngest person and first American so honored.

Lance developed his own production show, adding illusions, and moved to the Hacienda for a five-year stint. ... It was there, with Peter Reveen, that he developed his illusions and began to speak with the audience, now an equally important show aspect.

In conclusion

Reveen, a world-acclaimed performer in his own right, now doubles as Burton's personal manager and executive producer of the Monte Carlo show. ... A few quotes: Penn & Teller: "In a word, Burton's the best magician in the world." ... Siegfried & Roy: "He is great for the art of magic; he brings his own touch of class to the stage."

His most recent highly-rated NBC-TV spectacular will be repeated at 8 p.m. on Sept. 3. ... In addition, on Thanksgiving Eve, Lance will be featured on the fourth annual "World's Greats of Magic" telecast. ... Burton's career continues in an ascendant phase.

Together with Reveen, Lance has taken a personal and financial part in the vital work with children of both the Shriners and Variety Club, particularly in Las Vegas. ... The local Variety Club, Tent 39 is both honored and deeply grateful.

Hail, Willard

Next Monday at 8 p.m. in the Orleans Hotel showroom, a "Galaxy of Stars" will perform in honor of Bill Willard, benefitting Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. ... Willard, here 50 years, is an accomplished artist, sculptor and writer, a published author, and executive director of UNLV's Arnold Shaw Research Center for Popular Music. ... He is an important cultural contributor. ... See you next Thursday.

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