South Shore Theatre Experience's "Parlor of Mystery" is a magic show aimed at adults that blends comedy with illusions such as levitation. It's been a favorite of magic aficionados for the past seven years at the Lindenhurst theater. Credit: Howard Simmons

'Parlor of Mystery'

WHEN | WHERE 7 p.m., Sept. 26, South Shore Theatre Experience, 115 S. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst

INFO $25; 631-669-0506, southshoretheatre.com

The woman did not look happy. Moments earlier, magician Bobby Torkova had borrowed her ring and made it disappear into thin air. Flashing a "What, me worry?" look, he moved on, making a walnut, an egg and a lemon vanish. Reaching into a bag, he found the lemon. Slicing it, he brought forth the egg, which he cracked to reveal the walnut. You see where this is going — inside the nut was the ring, good as new.

It’s all part of the fun at "Parlor of Mystery," a magical evening held the fourth Sunday of every month at South Shore Theatre Experience in Lindenhurst. (The August show has been canceled due to scheduling issues, so the next date is Sept. 26.)

"It’s Long Island’s best-kept secret," says artistic director Deborah Cascio Plezia of the show that’s been running more than seven years other than a break for the pandemic. "People love it, they eat it up," she adds, noting that the 40-seat theater is almost always sold out for "Parlor of Mystery."

Thaddeus Plezia amuses the audience with his flea circus at...

Thaddeus Plezia amuses the audience with his flea circus at "Parlor of Mystery" at South Shore Theatre Experience in Lindenhurst. Credit: Howard Simmons

THIS MAGIC MOMENT

The production got its start when her husband, Ted Plezia — a magician who goes by Thaddeus when performing — and several colleagues decided they wanted to do something along the lines of the long-running "Monday Night Magic" in Greenwich Village.

An initial weekend with several other magicians was a huge success and they were off, putting on shows that incorporate magic in its many forms, from card and coin tricks to mentalism and street magic. At the July show, Plezia, who started doing magic when he was 12 growing up in West Hempstead, served as host and did his own brief set (a humorous flea circus) before introducing the two other performers.

With so many magicians passing through New York, the Parlor has been able to attract talent from all over the world including Francis Menotti, who did a complicated word trick the night before performing it on the CW show "Penn & Teller: Fool Us." The Lindenhurst audience was fooled; even better, so were Penn and Teller.

Over the years, the show has developed a significant fan base, spurred on by the popularity of magic on television shows like "America’s Got Talent." Carol-Lynne O’Pray of West Babylon rarely misses a performance: On top of being entertained, she says she loves supporting a local business. "You’re never disappointed," she says.

For Tom Facchiano, it’s all about "trying to figure out how they did it," though he admits he hasn’t been able to thus far. The Massapequa Park resident liked the June show so much that he returned in July with 11 friends.

"The higher the intelligence of the audience, the more the...

"The higher the intelligence of the audience, the more the magic works," says magician Eric DeCamps. Credit: Howard Simmons

AN INTELLIGENT AUDIENCE

The audience is involved every step of the way, often called on to lend a ring, test the strength of a rope or pick a card. Ted Plezia stresses that no one in the audience is ever embarrassed and most are eager to participate. "It’s very rare nobody wants to come up, they want to come out and play," he says.

While Plezia believes magic brings the audience back to their childhood, this event is intended for adults, though not because of inappropriate material. July headliner Eric DeCamps notes that the concepts are more esoteric than those in a children’s show. At its highest form, he says, "magic is not just a craft, it’s an art form." And don’t dismiss the feeling of wonder, says Torkova, taking the audience "out of their everyday lives."

DeCamps closed the recent show with an illusion he’s been working on for some 35 years, a complicated trick in which three cards selected at random by the audience somehow show up under a glass dome. This kind of close-up parlor magic requires thinking on the part of the people watching, he says. "The higher the intelligence of the audience," he says, "the more the magic works."

But DeCamps is also realistic. "If I could do real magic, I wouldn’t be here right now. I’d be sitting on a pot of gold." His role, he says, is to help people accept the illusion. "And if I do it right," he believes, "it’s magical."

Step into their Parlor: Magicians Thaddeus Plezia, left, Bobby Torkova,...

Step into their Parlor: Magicians Thaddeus Plezia, left, Bobby Torkova, Eric DeCamps and Michael Maione. Credit: Howard Simmons

THEY'RE UP TO THEIR OLD AND NEW TRICKS

The stars of two popular television shows will work their magic on Long Island in October.

First up, is Justin Willman of Netflix’s “Magic for Humans," in which he performs tricks for real people he encounters on the street.

(7 p.m. Oct. 3, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St.; $35-$65; 631-288-1500, whbpac.org)

Also heading our way are the cast of the CW’s “Masters of Illusion,” which was scheduled to debut its eighth season in August. Expect anything, from escape and sleight-of-hand artists to levitation and interactive mind tricks.

(8 p.m. Oct. 8, The Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd.; $39.50-$140.50; 516-247-5200, thetheatreatwestbury.com).

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