While this year’s April Foolies on March 29 contains new faces on the Clayton Center for the Arts stage, magician Ben Young will appear as a familiar acquaintance just waiting to become the audience’s best friend.
Young is scheduled to present his acts of trickery and mystery for the benefit of local charities New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center and The Gate after a successful freshman appearance at last year’s event.
“Apparently I was a hit last year,” Young, said. “It’s a great cause and I’m very happy to be a part of it again.”
Young has been performing locally and across the state for several years, though his interest in magic is hardly newfound. At the age of 12, he discovered the illusions of David Blane, and Young said, “I was bitten by the magic bug and it never went away.”
“I saw this guy on TV and it changed everything,” he said. “He flew, like he actually levitated off the ground. I looked at that, and I thought it was so cool. A little while later, we got this catalogue that had a page of magic tricks in it, and I asked my mom for them all.”
Ever since, the once-aspiring magician has worked to make his dreams reality. At the age of 22, Young is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and performs at corporate events, fundraising galas and country clubs, spreading his talent across the region. Along with his participation in last year’s April Foolies, he has made appearances on WVLT Channel 8 and radio station B97.5, and performed for Coldwell Banker Real Estate Agency and Kiwanis International.
‘Dr. phil Show’
“I was actually contacted by a producer for the ‘Dr. Phil Show’ once,” Young said. “It was my birthday, and I got an email through the contact form on my Website. I called her, and she was looking for candidates for an episode about amazing kids. I had to tell her that I was actually 20 years old, but it was still cool to be contacted.”
Young’s resume, expanding with every performance, reflects the inner drive and inspiration of the entertainment business’s most devoted student.
“I get inspired by stand-up comedians a lot,” Young said. “They’re different from magicians in that they’re a little more relaxed and more personable than your stereotypical magician, and I try to incorporate that into my magic. I try to let audience interaction drive the show, and I just really want it to be fun. I’m not trying to show the audience that I’m the best magician in the world, I’m just up there having a good time with people, and the magic is what ties it all together.”
Just as Young manipulates his performances on stage with the influence of audience interaction, he also builds his act through external education.
“Primarily what I do can be found by reading magic books,” Young said. “But we magicians are secretive and don’t like people finding out how to do our things, so it can be hard to find good tricks. After you’re in magic for a while, you sort of have an idea of how most things work, though. Most of what I do are not original tricks, they’re old ideas. What makes me different from any other magician, though, is how I present them. I’ve learned to create a way that is me.”
As for this month’s April Foolies showcase, Young promises exciting surprises both onstage and afterwards in his close-up interactions with ticket holders to the event’s VIP reception. The act will follow last year’s thrilling performance in which Young magically passed through a barrier of knives and razor wire.
“I don’t think my life is on the line this year, but it’ll still be suspenseful and cool,” Young said. “I don’t want to give too much away, but there will be some amazing magic that you’ve probably never seen before. There’s going to be comedy, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I also have a finale that’s a tribute to Houdini, and it’s possible that there might be some really bad dancing involved at some point.”
“If people have seen me perform before, then they know how much fun we’re going to have,” Young added. “If they haven’t, then they’re in for a treat. We’re going to have a fantastic time.”