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Harry Maurer to provide comedy, magic at Community House event

January 17, 2018
By MEGHAN McCOY (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

An interest in becoming an architect slowly shifted when the would-be designer discovered that magic opportunities were always present and so much more fun.

"I was given an aptitude by my school counselor and it was determined that I was a perfect fit for a job as an entertainer," Harry Maurer said.

The comedic and magician will perform Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Sanibel Community House. Tickets are $45 per person. There is a pre-show, special wine dinner - a three-course meal prepared by resident chef Jarred Harris - for up to 12 people; the cost is $75.

Article Photos

Harry Maurer.

PHOTO PROVIDED

Sanibel Community Association Executive Director Teresa-Riska-Hall said they still have sponsorship opportunities available - a $4,000 sponsor or two $2,000 sponsors. Those interested in being a sponsor can call 239-472-2155.

Every January Maurer tours throughout Florida. For many years he has tried to arrange a performance on Sanibel but ran into scheduling conflicts.

"When they decided to present a fundraiser, Teresa contacted me and we were able to fit this evening into my calendar," he said.

Those who attend the show next month can expect "feats of magic" that involve members of the audience, who will have the opportunity to participate and experience the magic as it is happening on stage. Maurer said the approach allows the entire audience to experience the genuine surprise of amazement.

"Like a true theatrical production, the show is backed by a great score of music," he said. "I am very proud of my shows. They are fun, clean and although designed for adult audiences, because I borrow things like wedding rings, money and sometime use dangerous objects, the shows are family-friendly and appreciated by all ages."

A dream of becoming a nightclub and casino showroom entertainer became a reality at the young age of 13.

"I was a pretty cocky 13 year old and I simply marched right up to the owner of the Malibu Hotel in Lakewood, New Jersey, and asked him if I could perform there. I showed him a few tricks and he said, 'Yes!'" Maurer said. "At the time I did more 'classic' magicians tricks, and all I remember about that show is that I started my show with a cane that floated around me to music, played from a cassette player through their sound system, and I did some audience participation routines, which is what I now specialize in."

Although cocky onstage, he admitted to being pretty scrawny and quite shy in high school. The shyness brought on some school bullies who tried to intimidate him, resulting in Maurer playing some magic tricks - pulling coins out of their ears.

"When they tried to take it from me, I would make the coins disappear," he said. "They would then start laughing and applauding and I became pretty well-known for doing magic in high school."

Another high school memory that stuck out was during his junior year when one of the elementary schools in his town wanted him to perform a show. His principal granted him permission. He arrived at the school in his "beat-up Rambler," which had a back window that would not close all the way.

"My car was parked just outside the auditorium door, and when I finished my show, I went out to my car to start loading it up with my equipment and I saw that someone had dumped tons of paper through the window," Maurer said. "I thought the kids had trashed my car. But when I opened the door, I saw that on each piece of paper was a handwritten note by a different student thanking me for the show and saying what a great time they had."

When he was 16, Maurer was given the opportunity to be a house magician at a Jersey Shore restaurant, where he performed six hours of nonstop entertainment at table sides for patrons. Maurer continued to perform there for many years honing his skills, as well as the ability to interact with people.

Another high school highlight occurred when his band leader asked him to perform a magic illusion on the football field - the 50 yard line. Maurer did "The Metamorphosis."

"It is an illusion where my assistant is handcuffed, tied in a sack and locked in a trunk. I then jump on top of the trunk, lift up a curtained hoop and instantly we switch places with me ending up in the trunk, in the sack and in the handcuffs," he said. "We presented the illusion all season with a final performance at a professional football game at the Meadowlands, where we presented it both televised and for a live audience."

The illusion was presented to 60,553 people.

Maurer's senior year of high school he missed gym, lunch and study hall to perform at a nightclub at the Jersey Shore six days a week.

After high school he applied to various colleges with the hopes of getting into the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Rutgers University, now called the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Maurer said the select theater school only accepted 50 applicants a year.

"I was interviewed and told them point blank that I was not there to be an actor. I was there to learn principles of theater to enhance my magic," he said. "Whether they were tickled by that or something else, I was accepted into the production department and learned so many aspects of theater that I integrated into my shows."

His most influential college professor was Kathy Gately, an acting teacher. Maurer said he was always told that, "A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician."

"She was the one who really made me understand that what I was doing onstage is acting," he said.

One of Maurer's jobs was at the Playboy Club in New York City, where he performed two days a week - three shows on Saturday and three shows on Sunday - for more than 1,300 performances.

"More shows than any other solo entertainer in the circuit," he said. "And since I was splitting the bill with top nightclub acts from around the country, I learned from some of the best entertainers in my field."

For tickets, call 239-472-2155, or visit www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net.

The Community House is at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

 
 

 

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