Singer magician Russell Anderson performs at the Leland Cultural Arts Center
Russell Anderson, known simply as the Singing Illusionist (with a strong musical, theatrical and magical cabaret flair with an easily identifiable persona), is being magically reformed as the “Magical Showman”, performing a variety of songs with magic.
The StarNews recently interviewed the artist ahead of his performing art series at the Leland Cultural Arts Center.
How old were you when you became interested in magic? So I had interest when I was a kid, but magic scared me a little when I was a kid. I didn’t understand how some magicians could do the things they did. I really didn’t delve into it until I met Richard Sanders on cruise ships.
What college did you attend? Trident Technical College, Charleston, South Carolina
Who helped you in your career? Raised by my fifth grade teacher and his wife, Chuck and Judy Long, Chuck taught me how to sing. Chuck runs a Charleston Youth Company and I was part of it. An opportunity arose… where I had to audition for a show choir, Chuck picked me up from my job at the car wash and played the piano.
What is your act about? Stopping and pondering the question, Anderson said My Show is about my fun and crazy years as a variety entertainer. It’s about the stupidity of me interacting with my wife and children as we progress and grow through this madness we call life. It’s about the old lady who said, “I haven’t seen such a clean and funny show since George Burns did vaudeville (no youngster would have a clue about that). She didn’t even mention magic. Then there are the kids dying to know where the magic bunny went…not to mention the motorcycle that appears. I love it. The rabbit is funny. I tried to cut it once because some magician in Vegas gave me trouble using a bunny. My wife said it was her favorite trick and I couldn’t cut it. From the tiniest, silliest song and trick we do, to the standout moments of the show that have the biggest gasps that all combine like the “memory of the magic show” they take home.
Who’s in your act? My son, Aidan, 17, helps with the production.
What unique ability do you have? Singing. I worked on cruise ships for many years, starting as a variety performer on a production show. On luxury cruise liners, I first combined my love for all things magical in my already established vocal cabaret show. But it was seeing the world that I got my first ideas about combining magic and music, through years of performing on cruises, working with the circus (as a magic ring master singing).
Where did you play and with whom did you play? Disney Cruises, Anita Mann, choreographer of Solid Gold Dancers, Legends in Concerts in Las Vegas, USO, Wayne Brady, The Tokens, and worked with John Goodman for HBO.
Contact Cheryl Whitaker at 910-343-2004 or [email protected]