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Lance Burton’s magical 14-year run at Monte Carlo concludes in September.
As I sit in the Lance Burton Theatre inside the Monte Carlo, watching what will be one of the Las Vegas entertainer’s final 75 performances, I fondly remember 20 years ago when I first watched this promising magician.
Starting at “Folies Bergère” for an eight-week engagement in 1980, he stayed on for nine years—a testament to his natural ability to captivate a showroom. That success carried over to the since-imploded Hacienda for a five-year run. His current show, “Lance Burton: Master Magician,” fills the house nightly. Over the last three decades, the master of illusions has performed upwards of 15,000 times for more than 5 million show goers.
Starting his show on a big screen, Burton demonstrates how he narrowly escapes death while chained to the track of a roller coaster. Later, Burton strolls into the audience and gets personal with viewers in the front rows—while pulling coins from behind ears and mouths and extracting white birds from scarves and ribbons—eventually drawing a few of the lucky people onstage. From the children he brings up to help move objects around to the adults who appear to levitate, all leave the stage with a smile on their faces.
With his seven female assistants, Burton disappears into a giant box hooded, chained, and covered, with seemingly no way to escape, only to emerge in a matter of seconds at the back of the showroom, while one of his assistants has taken his place in the box. He steps into a convertible and “drives” in the air across the stage and through a huge hoop. “Performing at the Monte Carlo and introducing over 5 million people to the world of magic has been a fantastic experience for me,” Burton says in entertainment writer Wayne Bernath’s May column. “I have loved every minute of this historic run.”
Performing in the same showroom for 14 years has given Burton the opportunity to perfect his craft. He has tried many new illusions, one of the most famous being “The Solid Gold Lady,” in which he makes $10 million in gold bricks and coins disappear. Five years of practice went into this single illusion.
Burton, who will perform for the final time at Monte Carlo on September 4, has been with the Strip property since its opening day on June 21, 1996.