Whether creating with daring innovation or mastering obscure and closely held secrets, there is no ordinary magic in the skilled hands of Chicago-based illusionist Jeanette Andrews. During her second season at The Seaside Repertory Theatre (The REP), this accomplished young entertainer, one of few women working in the complex world of magic, captivates audiences of all ages with awe-inspiring twists on the art of illusion.
Renowned for her elegant but edgy contemporary style, Andrews’ performances are a unique blend of sophisticated original illusions and painstakingly researched techniques dating back to 19th century “parlor magic.” From the moment the petite magician stands silhouetted against video projection that opens her show “Perceive — Modern Magic for the Senses and the Mind,” Andrews defies all expectations for entertainment as she leads her audience on an interactive journey of awe and wonder. One leaves the theater with a renewed appreciation for the beauty and mystery found in life itself. The same refreshing sense of joy and discovery is infused into family matinees, magic workshops for children and pop-up performances in downtown Seaside.
The story of how this extraordinary performer found her way to Seaside contains a little magic of its own. In a creative profession that is necessarily shrouded in secrecy and mystery, Andrews’ early career was mentored by magic greats Siegfried and Roy. After watching their spectacular Las Vegas show on television, 4-year-old Jeanette began practicing magic tricks. She initiated a long-standing correspondence with the duo and by age 10, Siegfried and Roy recognized her as one of the most promising young practitioners in the country. After more than 15 years of dedicated practice with intensive study of magic history, psychology and neuroscience, Andrews has claimed her niche by elevating magic as a theatrical art form relevant to 21st century audiences. She was recently recognized in Magic magazine, the industry’s largest international trade publication, in an article highlighting her performances at The REP Theatre.
Andrews was introduced to Seaside and The REP by the nationally recognized artist residency program, Escape To Create. The only magician and one of the youngest artists ever invited to participate in the multi-disciplinary retreat sponsored here since 1993, her 2014 residency was spent perfecting an astounding guided immersion into each of the five senses. Designed for site-specific presentation, “Thresholds — Unlocking Elegant Magic for the Five Senses and Beyond,” has sold out every engagement across the country since its spring 2015 commissioned premiere at the Pleasant Home Museum outside Chicago. For Andrews’ final appearance of the season on Sept. 6, East of Eden Retreat and Spa of Santa Rosa Beach will host a special performance of “Thresholds,” now uniquely integrated into the spa’s world-class amenities and architecture.
Like Seaside itself, the enduring magic of Jeanette Andrews lies in her gift for stirring the imagination and touching the heart with experiences that keep you under their spell for a long time.
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