IN & OF ITSELF: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

IN & OF ITSELF, the spellbinding, introspective show created and performed by three-time Academy of Magical Arts Award winner Derek DelGaudio and directed by four-time Emmy Award winner Frank Oz , recently announced a third extension (through May 6th) to the show’s New York Premiere….and it’s no great surprise.

To say that DelGaudio is a triple threat somehow seems an understatement.  His solo performance is stirring and compelling on various levels, and his skill is not limited to magic.  He is a more than able storyteller and mind reader and has an ability to engage earnestly with the audience in a way that is both deeply personal and mind-boggling. He shares a range of emotion (including tears), and we are continuously pulled in through his ongoing reveals.  At one moment, as he waltzed through the audience, he stopped by my friend sitting on the aisle, and there appeared to be an eerily silent, yet knowing connection between them shared through a smile.

On the magic end….his card trick grew a bit wearisome, though ultimately impresses.  He also makes a symbolic gold brick disappear, presents an audience member with a personal letter from a family member, delivers a grim monologue about a Roulettista (who earned the title playing Russian roulette) and shares a touching story about seeing his mother with another woman and how he came to the realization that he would not have a dad actively in his life (something he wrote about in New Yorker magazine).

DelGaudio wrote and starred in the critically acclaimed show Nothing to Hide, which played sold-out engagements in LA and NYC. He was selected to be the Artist in Residence for Walt Disney Imagineering and co-founded, along with Kaino, the performance-art collective, A.BANDIT.  In April 2017, DelGaudio became one of the youngest artists to receive the Academy of Magical Arts’ “Magician of the Year” award, joining the ranks of such luminaries as David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, David Blaine and Ricky Jay.

Glenn Kaino is Artistic Producer of this production, which also features Original Music by Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh, and Production Design is by A.BANDIT.

Frank Oz is a four-time Emmy Award winner, whose directing work includes such feature films as Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, In & Out, The Score and Death at a Funeral.  As a performer, he has voiced such iconic characters as Yoda in the Star Wars franchise, Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear on “The Muppet Show,” and Grover and Cookie Monster on “Sesame Street.” Oz is a recipient of The Art Director’s Guild Award, The Comedy Award, Saturn Lifetime Achievement Award and George Foster Peabody Award, among others.

If you are a fan of magic, this will no doubt appeal.  But, the appeal is much greater.  The show plays the card of identity, quite literally.  Not only does it question the notion of how we see ourselves and are perceived….but audience members are asked to choose a card on their way into the theatre that they identify with, and the final act of the show involves DelGuadio and the cards (don’t want to give it away). The audience is dumbstruck and left with the more upbeat message of the potential for meaningful human connection.

In that way, in its last moments, the show becomes all the more satisfying, and DelGuadio makes himself available for conversation and photos with audience members afterwards, and we feel all the closer to this affable, young talent who wears his heart on his sleeve, when he’s not hiding something up it.

IN & OF ITSELF runs 75 minutes, no intermission, and is playing at the Daryl Roth Theatre in Union Square.