Damian the Magician will soon bring his tricks and illusions back to the First Night Scranton stage, but don’t be fooled: he is no ordinary entertainer.
Although his philosophy of “Be different than anyone else and be better than anyone thought you could be!” is a simple one, it sums up the talents that set him apart.
It’s his ability to create an act around virtually any theme that keeps him returning as an event performer for several years, he said, explaining that this year he will introduce an exclusive movie-themed trick which he has not yet revealed to anyone. He wrote his act around the “Hollywood” theme for the event.
He will open at 7 p.m. for the headlining entertainer, nationally recognized comedy magician and ventriloquist Bob Carroll. Both performances will be held upstairs at Elm Park Church, Jefferson Avenue.
Damian the Magician began his career as a professional magician at age nine, he said, with a performance at Our Lady of the Snows Church in Clarks Summit. He grew up in Dalton and now resides in Scranton.
“The Magic and Mentalism of Damian explodes with originality, humor, and style that misdirect his audience to the point where distinctions between reality and illusion are impossible,” states the bio on his website. “Combining dance, music, mime, and comedy with his illusions, Damian weaves a spell of mystical entertainment for discriminating tastes.”
As co-chairman of the event along with musician Doug Smith, Damian said one thing he appreciates about First Night Scranton is the variety of artists it hires, the majority of them coming from NEPA.
“We put a focus on local artists,” he said. “It’s very important to us.”
From wooden clubs and balls to knives and flaming torches, juggler Rob Smith of Clarks Summit can handle it all. His upcoming performances in this year’s First Night Scranton promise to be filled with fun and danger, as he starts off with standard rings, balls, and various sports-themed items, moving on to the “dangerous stuff,” he said.
Smith, the only entertainer who performed at every First Night Scranton since the inaugural event 15 years ago, will appear again this year in the Firehouse on Mulberry Street at 7, 8, and 9 p.m.
Event organizers explained that they generally don’t allow the same acts to perform every year to keep things new and to ensure each one fits with the changing yearly themes. Smith, however, is an exception due to his flexibility and willingness to create an act around almost any theme, as well as his popularity among locals.
“People go berserk for this guy,” said Damian the Magician, event co-chairman. “He juggles not only clubs, but fire. He’s a very, very, very good entertainer and people gravitate to him.”
Smith said he performs at an estimated 100 events a year, in addition to teaching seventh grade reading and leading a juggling club at Abington Heights Middle School.
He said he looks forward to performing at First Night Scranton each year, and his favorite aspect of the event is interacting with the audience.
“It’s a real festive time,” he said.