Casas Enjoying A Magical Career
It’s a gloomy Monday morning in winter in a coffee shop filled with sleepy drones and the only full-time magician in the Quad-Cities is performing an amazing trick – he’s making my case of the Mondays disappear. And all without two dozen pieces of flair, shrimp poppers, pizza shooters or extreme fajitas!
That’s because David Casas is more than a magician, he’s a magical performer. He’s got a charm, style and panache that makes him compelling to watch on- and off-stage when he’s talking about his craft. Casas, 36, mixes self-deprecating humor and a down-to-earth persona with quicksilver sleights of hand and amusing tricks to create an act which has been enchanting the Quad-Cities since his debut almost two decades ago.
It’s led to a pretty good life for him, including steady gigs at the Establishment Theater on the monthly, a weekly gig every 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays at Applebee’s on Elmore in Davenport and, this weekend, to a spotlight shift with the always-entertaining Bottoms Up Burlesque Troupe for their Sensual Circus Show.
“When I was 17 I was just watching TV and really got into those specials with David Copperfield and Lance Burton, that’s what really got me interested in magic,” the amiable Casas said. “At the time I didn’t know if there were any local magicians or magic shops but I started looking around and found a magic shop in Davenport and started taking classes and it just kind of took off from there.”
But Casas, born and raised in Muscatine, didn’t just wave a magic wand and make his inhibitions and inexperience disappear. It took him years of hard work and practice.
“While other people were out partying or doing other things, I was in my basement practicing for years,” Casas said. “As a little kid I always liked being the center of attention and when I was in high school I was kind of shy and this broke me out of my shell.
“I just love the entertainment value of it, it’s different,” he said. “I like making people smile, making people laugh. I enjoy traveling a lot. I’m very lucky to be able to do this.”
In addition to his monthly dates with the Establishment, and his periodic jaunts with Bottoms Up and other troupes and venues in the Quads, Casas travels mostly around the Midwest to perform, doing over 300 shows a year. He also teaches magic classes in the area and at Junior Theater.
“The toughest thing is always keeping it fresh, learning new stuff, you have to constantly be learning and constantly be practicing to hone your craft,” Casas said. “Some tricks are really hard to master. You have to have a lot of dedication and really love it because you have to put in the time to do it well.”
As for aspiring magicians, Casas recommends a likewise hard work ethic, a strong interest and “being humble but also being a good promoter for your work so that people come out to see you.”
One of Casas’ biggest career thrills, not shockingly, was a stint in the magic capital of the world, Las Vegas, where he moved after graduating from high school.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, it’s something I’ll never forget,” Casas said.
There, he got to apprentice for one of his most admired performers, Jason Byrne, got to meet some personal heroes and learned a lot about how to act on and off stage.
“You always have to be respectful of your fans and people who come to see you, you always have to remain humble and grateful for the people who take time out to support you,” he said. “Working with Jason is something I’ll always treasure. He showed me stage presence, theatrics, how to entertain an audience, how to act on and off stage, he taught me everything. He was very generous, a great guy.”
Along those lines, Casas is generous in his praise and gratitude towards his wife, Leslie Casas, with whom he’s been married for three years. “She’s very supportive of me, she’s great,” David said. “She helps out a lot with the behind-the-scenes stuff and she’ll get on stage sometime, but she’s kind of nervous on-stage. But she’s always been behind me, always been very supportive and I am very thankful for her.”
His favorite magicians remain Copperfield and Burton, and he describes his show as somewhat influenced by each. “My show is a fast-paced show, it’s a perfect blend of comedy and sleight of hand with a lot of audience participation,” Casas said. “It’s family friendly. It’s just a fun show. I’m just myself on stage. I want people to have fun.”
So do yourself a favor and make your blahs disappear, say your abracadabras and check out Casas’ show soon.
For more information on Casas, check out www.davidcasasmagic.com.
Bottoms Up Burlesque Presents Sensual Circus
7 p.m. Friday, March 18 and 10 p.m. Saturday, March 19
Circa ’21 Speakeasy, 1818 3rd Ave., Rock Island
Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door
Reserve now by calling the Circa 21 Box Office and 309-786-7733 ext 2. or online at www.TheCirca21Speakeasy.com