Criss Angel wants to get interactive with his fans and he’s coming home to do it. The magician, who grew up in East Meadow, will bring his show, “RAW — The Mindfreak Unplugged” to LIU Post’s Tilles Center in Brookville on Thursday, May 3.
“It’s an intimate evening of seeing the most spectacular close-up and sleight-of-hand tricks I’ve made famous on TV,” says Angel, 50, whose birth name is Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos. “This is a very different show for me. People kind of get to know me in a very different way. The audience is part of every step from the beginning to the end.”
The key to this show will be the zoom-in factor as each member of the crowd gets an intense look at Angel’s magical mastery broadcast across three screens.
“People like to see things up close. They don’t want the big spectacle, they’d rather focus their energy on what it is that I’m doing,” says Angel. “Everybody can see everything. There’s not a bad seat in the house.”
Throughout the show, Angel will showcase various sides of his personality — Criss Angel, Christopher and Xristos.
“Criss Angel is who I turn into when I perform,” says Angel. “Christopher is who I really am every day to my friends and family. Xristos is an alter ego, which is just a crazy, in-your-face, wild guy who’s over-the-top and out of his mind. He’ll take a 30-inch piece of dental floss, swallow it then pull it out of his eye.”
With a reputation for always challenging himself, Angel will attempt to top Harry Houdini with his straitjacket escape routine.
“I’m going to be put into a real Posey straitjacket then go into a sack and get tied up. Then I’m going to be put into a trunk, which is padlocked on all four sides and tied up on top of it, and try to escape,” says Angel. “The process is completely in full view. I bring a guy up from the audience to legitimately examine every element that I use. Houdini did it in 10 seconds without a straitjacket and I’m attempting to do it in a split second with one.”
Then Angel will amaze the crowd with a volunteer’s cellphone and a vodka bottle.
“I take a borrowed cellphone and a vodka bottle, which everybody has examined, and I trap the cellphone inside the bottle,” says Angel. “We have someone in the audience call the phone and it starts to ring. I literally have to smash the bottle to get it out.”
And what would a magic show be without a special card trick?
“I take someone from the audience, let them select a card from the deck and then put it back,” says Angel. “The cards are tossed in the air and I shoot a crossbow to a target and attempt to nail their card from the deck.”
This summer Angel is being honored with a lifetime achievement award from The International Brotherhood of Magicians. Angel is the youngest person to receive the award, which has been given out only five times since the group was founded in 1922.
“There’s not another magic award that means as much as this does,” says Angel, who recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “I’m completely blown away.”
ON THE HORIZON
On Oct. 28, “Mindfreak Live!” at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas will close after 10 years as Angel prepares for a big announcement about his next move.
“I’m going to reinvent how we perceive theater. It will be an experience that the audience will truly be immersed in,” says Angel. “In the new show, people in the audience will levitate out of their seat.”
But before that starts, Angel is simply happy to return to his LI roots.
“When I was living on Long Island being a magician was just a dream I was working toward,” says Angel. “Now doing a show at Tilles is a reality, and for me it’s like coming full circle.”
‘RAW – The Mindfreak Unplugged’ starring Criss Angel
WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Tilles Center, Brookville
INFO $48-$128; 516-299-3100, tillescenter.org