“Magic & Mayhem” is a show being presented by the Playboy Club on May 1, 2019 from 7:00pm to 10:30pm. It will feature a three-course dinner as attendees watch the grandiose magic of a range of talented performers.
In the era of the #MeToo movement, the Playboy brand has stopped focusing so much on female nudity and has turned its attention to investigative journalism such as in-depth interviews, fiction pieces, and op-eds; although the club still features their famed “bunnies.”
The performers in “Magic& Mayhem” include Cassandra Nemzer, a magician who is serving as Mistress of Ceremony. Her husband, magician Ben Nemzer, will also be performing as will comedian Harrison Greenbaum. Magicians Mike Patrick and Patrick Davis will also be performing.
Hostess, magician, and singer Cassandra Nemzer recently discussed this show and her role in it via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): What gave you the idea to develop this performance and why did you select the Playboy Club?
Cassandra Nemzer (CN): Throughout the years performing as a magician I have noticed that people have a specific perception of magic. Not only do they hear magic and think of bunnies, top hats, capes, and card tricks, they also very specifically think of men. If you see a talented, vibrant, attractive woman on stage during a magic show, people have become so conditioned into thinking they are an assistant. The idea of a female magician, I find, doesn’t exactly go with what is considered the “normal” “iconic” visual of a man standing on stage in a top hat and tails. I have been proud, over the past few years, to help shed light on the topic, to bring awareness, and break stereotypes. I have organized a few magic shows at various NYC venues in the past and knew I would like to do something exciting and different. And then I was contacted by the iconic Playboy Club in New York City. They actually approached me! They too have been dealing with how people’s perception of the Playboy brand. As we all know, Playboy, for years had been associated with the provocative. For many years Playboy carried the slogan “Entertainment for Men” therefore many people jump to conclusions about what the Playboy Club actually means. Playboy decided to change their slogan recently to “Entertainment for all” and has been seeking to bring female voices to the forefront of their lineup of high-end entertainment.
When you walk into this gorgeous venue you are hit with some good old-fashioned Hollywood Glamour and some modern New York sophistication. When you meet the iconic Playboy Bunnies you realize that you are in a room with incredibly talented women, many are incredible singers, aerialists, actors etc. who are rocking that gorgeous costume and owning their sexuality all at the same time. They are symbols of what fierce, modern, strong, sophisticated New York women are. And so I decided that becoming the leader of a group of magicians, and bringing Magic to the Playboy Club was not only a way for me to burst open the stereotypes of women in magic, but also to continue Playboys mission of showing that strong capable women can be at the helm of this new age of Playboy in bringing entertainment to ALL.
MM: You are married to Ben Nemzer and have been friends with comedian Harrison Greenbaum for years, so how did you select the other performers?
CN: When selecting the performers for the inaugural performance of “Magic and Mayhem” I was looking for accomplished magicians, who I knew would bring the house down for an elite group of people. Yes, Ben is my husband, and one of the most incredible, high in-demand magicians in NYC. Not only does he work an immense amount of corporate and private events in beautiful New York City venues like the Pierre and Eleven Madison Park, but he’s also performed magic on HSN TV, Fox Sport, and co-stars in a two-person magic show with me for Norwegian Cruise lines! There we perform for audiences of thousands around the world! Harrison Greenbaum, while one of my best friends, is the funniest person I know! From his appearances on “Last Comic Standing,” to “Americas Got Talent,” having him on board was a no brainer. The other two magicians are also two of my dearest friends, and their credentials are just as impressive. Mike Patrick is an award-winning sleight of hand artist who’s been featured on commercials, editorial campaigns, and has performed for an incredible amount of celebrities including Natalie Portman, and Lindsay Lohan. And lastly Patrick Davis is one of the most charming and highest in demand magicians in NYC. He performs for all of the top corporations and just SOME of his clients include Google, Yelp!, And Morgan Stanely. Not only do I trust all of these gentlemen with my life, but I trust them to astound the most decerning of NYC audiences and show attendees of the Playboy Club things they’ve only ever dreamed were possible!
MM: How different are all of your styles to one another?
CN: When talking to the heads of entertainment at Playboy we all decided we wanted to try and give New York City a little taste of what it would be like to be transported to the Magic Castle in Hollywood. We are covering three very different styles of magical performance, and each magician is an expert at genre they have been assigned to. We have Mike Patrick and Patrick Davis performing close up magic. Close up magic involves unbelievable sleight of hand. This kind of magic happens right in front of your face and sometimes even in your own hands. Patrick is the sophisticated trickster for sure, and Mike is the fun and hilarious joker who will blow your mind with his incredible skill. Then we have Parlor magic. Back in the day, when people would hold salon in their homes and invite performers to amaze their guests in an intimate setting, this is what they would do. Harrison brings his unique brand of comedy to his magic which will leave people in tears of laughter, and Ben’s ability to make a whole audience feel like his closest friends, while he astounds them with his comedy magic and mentalism is unlike anyone I know. And last but not least I am performing the largest scale and most visual magic, stage magic. I’ll leave what I do to the imagination, except to say I am known as Manhattan’s “Songstress of Magic” for a reason!
MM: What is the most appealing thing about watching a performance over the course of a diner?
CN: One of the great things about this event is how different it is in the sense that not many of the current magic shows running serve a three-course meal along with an interactive magic show. When we all organized the event, we thought about the idea of having magic performed along with the meal. As your enjoying a wonderful meal in the luxurious Playboy club, you’re also experiencing close up magic. Closeup magic is the kind where magicians perform amazing sleight of hand in front of your eyes. Following dessert you’re lead into the main theater for a spectacular magic show on the main stage. There is never a dull moment at this show, either your enjoying something delicious or something amazing!
MM: Will you be doing more performances like this in the future?
CN: This is the very first performance of “Magic and Mayhem” and we are so excited to see where it leads us. Nothing is decided yet but there is a possibility of more magical nights at Playboy in the future!
MM: Is there anything more that you would like to mention?
CN: This event is sure to be a fantastic night out! From the food, to the gorgeous and iconic ambiance of the Playboy Club, to the world class magicians you will get to enjoy, it is going to be a luxurious and mind-blowing experience!
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