Our Q&A With Adam Trent, the Justin Timberlake of Magic
Imagine taking David Copperfield and fusing him with a boy band member who can jump through huge LED screens without shattering them (or himself). That’s pretty much Adam Trent, the 29-year-old entertainer who was once named by U.S. News and World Report as one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Youth in America.” Trent, who has been performing since he was nine, joined the cast of The Illusionists, the hit sophisticated magic show coming to Philly, at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. He was such a hit, that the producers have since asked him to take the show to Dubai, Broadway, and now across the country. We sat down with the multi-talented Trent to discuss his special brand of magic and what drew him to show business.
I know you started performing as a kid. Did you always do magic or were you into other things?
I was always kinda doing everything. I started out wanting to being a musician after seeing Michael Jackson videos, so I did impressions of him and other singers. Then, I moved on to drums and instruments. Then I started magic, and that was it for me. I actually sold my drum set for my first illusion kit. I needed $500 for something, so the drums had to go! This is my twentieth year in entertainment: I started when I was 9 and now I’m now 29.
How was your experience performing on Broadway?
Amazing. It’s the thing that we performers always aspire to do, right? We were there for six weeks.
The promos for the show say you “shatter stereotypes and bring a new generation of magic to fans fusing technology illusions, dancing and comedy with classic techniques.” Break all that down for us …
It’s a cocktail of different art forms: there’s dance in it and some of my illusions use technology. One of my acts uses giant LED walls—I clone myself and smash myself into it. Then, there’s a whole act I do with a camera hat on my head, so the audience gets to see what the magician sees. It’s a totally new perspective in a fun, fresh way.
What performers have inspired your brand of magic?
David Copperfield has been one of the big ones for me. I saw him when I was 8 years old and it changed my life. I also really admire Penn and Teller and how fast they create original material and how thought provoking it always is. Music wise, there’s Justin Timerlake—and Michael Jackson was one of the first pop performers who I saw who shook my world up. I watch The Kings of Comedy all the time. Any artist can go watch any art form and think, “Wow, this is so great,” and there’s always inspiration that you can incorporate into your own work.
Why do you think The Illusionists has been such a success?
Magic is something that had a market but there hasn’t been anyone who could put together a large-scale touring show that is high-end evening entertainment. This isn’t some little $5 show where you get popcorn before it starts. It also helps that the show has been presented as part of a Broadway series at theaters across the country. Sometimes when presenters or promoters think of magic shows, they want to automatically include it as family theater or children’s theater, but this show isn’t that. When ticket prices start hovering around $100, it isn’t a show totally aimed at kids anymore. Don’t get me wrong. We see kids all the time, and kids love it! David Copperfield was a “real deal” show, and my parents brought me to see him. I have a feeling that this show will have the same impact on our younger audiences that Cooperfield had on me.