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November 27, 2014

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CRISS ANGEL:

Vegas magicians backing Angel’s ‘Believe’

'Believe' sneak preview

Criss Angel and crew offer a first look at the new Cirque Du Soleil production, "Believe."

Robin Leach with Celebs

Robin Leach interviews celebrities on the "Black Carpet" at the premiere of "Believe" inside Luxor.

Criss Angel, Cirque and Believe

Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil hold a press conference Friday in preparation for the premiere of Launch slideshow »

The city’s magicians are coming out to support Las Vegas’ resident bad-boy illusionist Criss Angel as his Cirque du Soleil show prepares for its Friday public premiere.

An unfinished version of “Criss Angel Believe” began preview performances at the Luxor late last month after experiencing several delays.

The scaled-back adaptation of the $100 million show received mixed reviews and some critics predicted the show would fail.

This week, those who know Angel’s art best – including Lance Burton, Jeff McBride, Penn (Jillette) and Teller, and Steve Wyrick – have thrown their support behind Angel.

“I’m impressed by the scope of the show,” McBride said after watching the final preview performance on Tuesday. “As a magician I was absolutely delighted.

“I think Criss is really attempting something new here,” McBride said. “It’s really unprecedented what Criss is doing, a show of this magnitude.”

McBride said he believes Angel and his show will “re-energize the world of magic.”

“I think Criss has a really unique vision and an incredible commitment to trying something new and I think that will inspire other magicians to push the envelopes and take risks.”

Angel invited his colleague into his dressing room after Tuesday’s performance.

“He seemed very focused on the work and very absorbed in the exploration and execution of the new effects in his show,” McBride said. “He seemed very happy and pleased.”

McBride, whose show, “Magic on the Edge,” continues at Palace Station through Nov. 22, said he was impressed by how “amazing and clear (Angel’s) energy is.”

Wyrick, who said he considers Angel “a friend,” saw the first preview performance of “Believe” on Sept. 26. Afterward he said he was impressed by the early version of the show and thought the negative buzz was little more than personal sour grapes.

“Everybody’s so quick to be critical,” he said. “I think the guy needs a break … I thought the show was good.”

Though Lance Burton hasn’t seen the show in its entirety, he said he is hoping to catch a performance soon.

"I look forward to seeing his show and I know it will be fantastic," he said.

Burton is credited with assisting Angel and his crew with one of the prominent water illusions in “Believe.”

Two of Angel’s other friends in the business, local headliners Penn Jillette and Raymond Teller, also have yet to see “Believe,” but they will soon. Both are confirmed “black carpet” guests for tonight’s gala premiere.

“Believe” officially opens today, the 82nd anniversary of the death of Angel’s professional inspiration, Harry Houdini. Angel will give two performances, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and will take Saturday off to recuperate from a night of celebrating after tonight’s shows.

Angel and the rest of the “Believe” cast will resume their regular twice-a-night, five-days-a-week schedule on Sunday. The show is under contract to run at the Luxor for the next ten years, with an additional five-year extension option after that.

Tickets range in price, from $59 to $150, and are available at the Luxor box office.

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