Mat Franco: Building a connection
There is a new generation of magicians emerging on the Vegas Strip. It may be premature to predict who will rise to the top and be the next David Copperfield or Lance Burton, but Mat Franco is a likely suspect. Forbes recently named Mat Franco: Magic Reinvented Nightly one of the best shows to see in Las Vegas, along with Lady Gaga: Jazz & Piano, Absinthe and Cirque du Soleil shows “O” and The Beatles LOVE.
Franco’s keeping good company, and taking success in stride. The first magician to win America’s Got Talent entered his 30s with a headlining show at The Linq. His affable nature and ever-present engaging smile factor into his success, but audiences encounter a lifetime of hard work when they witness his greatest-of-ease illusions. He just debuted a new one in his set last month, which he assured Twitter followers that he’ll have down pat after 50-100 shows.
There’s no rest for A-list magicians, though. “I don’t know if there is ever a time to relax,” says Franco. “When you reach goals, I think you gotta set new ones.”
A new illusion, like the one that now ends the first half of Franco’s 90-minute act, requires endless rehearsal and the confidence of having the best professionals working behind the scenes.
“If I’m there to create magic I’ve got to pull in the best lighting designers, the best sound designers,” says Franco. “There are so many parts to what appears to be a one-man show.”
The Rhode Island-born magician creates that perception with a relatable stage persona and a flowing performing style.
“I don’t know how to quantify how many tricks there are in a show,” he says. “It’s a little bit more fluid than that. The first 15 minutes on stage might have six tricks, but they’re not stand-alone tricks. They were smaller moments leading into bigger moments.”
Franco’s career, like his stage show, has been all about smaller moments leading into bigger moments. He’s using his increasing influence to promote adopting shelter dogs through partnering with Las Vegas’ Animal Foundation on a summer campaign that includes radio, TV, outdoor and print ads, and social media. The shelter has received record numbers of new residents, and Franco is doing his best to help them reappear in new homes.
Nowadays his energy is less directed toward the next step in his upward trajectory and more toward enhancement of a show worthy of taking place in a venue named for its headliner. “Where do you go from there?” asks Franco. “You create new magic. You create new ways to affect people emotionally and make them laugh, and make them escape reality for a short period of time.”
That’s what Franco sees as the role of the magician in these times when entertainment is an important diversion in an increasingly complicated world. Audiences couldn’t agree more once they’ve seen his act at Mat Franco Theater, where the venue’s namesake pushes boundaries and reinvents magic nightly.
The Linq Hotel, 7 p.m. Fri.-Tues., additional 9:30 p.m. show Aug. 5-6, 9-10, starting at $65 VIP plus tax and fee. 702.777.2782