Illusion, Manipulation and Sleight of Hand
The life of a magician’s assistant
Stacey Suarez never set out to be a magician’s assistant. It just kind of happened that way.
The 34-year-old Albuquerque native has been involved in theater in one form or another for three decades. She started off as a dancer and worked in the Duke City as a professional dancer for several companies. But she knew there were opportunities in other cities that just didn’t exist here. So at 19 she left for Los Angeles.
“It was really hard to leave, but I did,” she says.
Suarez is bringing it all back home with four upcoming shows at the South Broadway Cultural Center. She’ll perform alongside three magicians—one of whom is her husband Danny Cole, who performs tricks that involve manipulation. He changes the colors of his clothes and floats in the air. The other two magicians, Joel Ward and Tony Clark, are an illusionist and sleight of hand man, respectively.
“This is our first time producing a show,” she says. “There’s a small magic community in Albuquerque and they have been super supportive.”
When she went to L.A., Suarez got an agent and scored a few bit parts in films and music videos. Suarez appeared in a dance sequence in Be Cool starring John Travolta. It’s not prominent, but you can spot her if you know her. She also had a small role in one of the Deuce Bigalow films.
In addition to looking for movie work, Suarez also kept dancing, appearing at the Playboy Mansion, Universal Studios and Disneyland. She went to audition after audition. Suarez says you don’t really know what you’re going to; you just go. It was at one of these auditions where Suarez found her calling: magician’s assistant.
The 34-year-old Albuquerque native has been involved in theater in one form or another for three decades.
“I booked the gig,” she says. “I didn’t understand everything about the magic, I was just happy to book it, get a paycheck. But I just fell in love. I liked the secrets. I liked the magic. I liked knowing the secrets.”
She ain’t telling the secrets either, and we decided I’d rather not know anyway.
“If you find out the truth, it’s pretty disappointing,” she says.
Not that she could spill the beans to this greasy reporter, even if she wanted to. She signs a secrecy agreement with any magician she works with. It lasts for life. Even her own mother can never know.
She says dancers make perfect assistants because they tend to be petite, flexible and limber. They are an integral part of the show. She says the assistant helps make the tricks happen. The most important thing is to smile and make it look easy.
“It’s challenging, but I like being challenged,” she says. “It’s a good thing. The payoff is in the audience’s reaction.”
Suarez’ career choice has allowed her to travel the world. China, Egypt, South America, Australia, Europe. She has worked with many magicians, including Ed Alonzo, also known as Max on “Saved by the Bell” (a show I categorically deny ever having watched). Alonzo set her up with her husband, she says.
The international magic community is tightly knit (Suarez says Albuquerque’s own Neil Patrick Harris is heavily involved in it). You can go to China and wind up seeing someone you just worked with on another continent just a few days earlier. She loves being a part of it.
“I’m a lifer,” she says. “I definitely love magic.”
Saturday, Nov. 20, 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 21, noon and 3:30 p.m.
South Broadway Cultural Center
1025 Broadway SE
Tickets: $20 adults, $10 children (or $5 with purchase of an adult ticket) Available at the SBCC or at albuquerquemagicshow.com