This weekend Sparta Avenue Stage will present “A Haunting We Will Go...,” a magic and illusion show featuring two local residents.
Magician Joe Garsetti is the ghostly Lord Charles Frederick Winchester, a dapper magician who performed during the mid-19th century. Assisting Lord Charles will be his daughter, the spirited Theodora, played by MaryAnn D’silva.
“The show is unusual because it features several large stage illusions which you just don’t see anymore,” said Garsetti. “There are probably only a handful of magicians left in New Jersey that perform this specific type of magic. And we all know each other.”
The illusions, including sawing a woman in half, were invented in the early 1900s, originating in the grand touring magic shows of Thurston, Keller, and Houdini. The dollhouse illusion, for example, was originally built and designed for magician Mark Wilson. His show, “The Magic Land of Alakazam,” was the first network TV magic show. It ran for over four years and 41 episodes on CBS. The dollhouse illusion debuted on his show in 1960.
“Magic has a rich history, and this dollhouse is a beautiful piece that could be in a magic museum,” says magician and magic historian John Bundy. “Instead, it’s been touched up and is still being enjoyed by audiences 61 years later. The magic still works, and with the intimate setting at the Sparta Avenue Stage, you are watching from only a few feet away. How cool is that?”
‘The dove guy’
Garsetti is a professional magician who has lived in Sparta since 1985. His magic has taken him throughout the country; he has performed at state fairs in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Idaho, and Oregon, in Atlantic City and the Red Rock casino in Las Vegas, and more recently on the comedy club circuit in the tristate area. He is known among magicians as that “dove guy from Sparta,” since his act features the use of several doves.
Joe and Diane Garsetti are also the proprietors of the Sparta Avenue Stage since 2012, a non-profit entity formed to educate and promote performance arts in general with an emphasis and prominence placed on supporting the art of magic and prestidigitation.
Also featured in the show is MaryAnn D’silva, a Sparta native and professional dancer whose experience includes shows in the U.S. and Canada and on cruise ships throughout the world. In 2009, D’silva performed in “Masters of Magic,” an an illusion show starring Brent Daniels. Tim Fortune, a fellow magician and friend, will play Igor, Sir Charles’ loyal sidekick.
The show is appropriate for the entire family. It is one hour and 20 minutes long, with a brief intermission. For more information, call 973-903-6052.
“Magic has a rich history, and this dollhouse is a beautiful piece that could be in a magic museum. With the intimate setting at the Sparta Avenue Stage, you are watching from only a few feet away. How cool is that?” John Bundy