World-traveling magician delights families, in Gateway

See why a sold-out crowd at the All American Magic Theater clapped and cheered when master-mystifier Jay Scott Berry took the stage …

To the delight of this youngster, master magician Jay Scott Berry somehow brings a ribbon into existence.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Folks are discovering one of the “best kept secrets” in the Hazelwood Neighborhood – live family entertainment at the All American Magic Theater located in Mall 205.

The afternoon of February 2, world renowned magician Jay Scott Berry performed his full two-part show to the delight of parents and children – and even of some local magicians who came to watch.

Jay Scot Berry prepares backstage for his performance in Gateway District All American Magic Theater.

During the intermission, Berry took a moment in his dressing room to speak with East Portland News.

“It’s true,” Berry began. “I’ve traveled around the world, and ended up in Australia for the past six years – in a magical sort of way: My wife is Australian! We decided to have a nice place ‘away from it all’ to raise the children.”

Gateway’s All American Magic Theater was the second stop of his ten-week, ten-country tour, Berry said. “It started at the Magic Castle in Hollywood last week, and I’ll be going on to perform, and teach the art of magic, at some of the top magician’s venues in the world.”

Calling for the creative spirit he says runs through the universe to appear in a goblet, a magical glow signals its arrival.

He came to Portland, Berry explained, because, “For years, this theater’s impresario, Mark Benthimer, has been telling me about his dream of having a magic theatre. When he let me know the theater was up and running, I said I will put it on my tour schedule.  It’s a pleasure to be here in outer East Portland”

Berry said he benefitted from belonging to the “Magic Castle Juniors” in Hollywood, during his early years. “Skilled and knowledgeable professionals help bring up and encourage young people to become magicians.

“Interestingly, last week was a celebration of the Juniors at the Magic Castle,” Berry continued. “They picked some of the premier performers from each generation. It was nice seeing these performers, the ‘cream of the crop’, many of whom have gone on to take their place among some of the top professional entertainers in the world.”

About the theater in Portland, Berry’s comment were three words: “I love it!”

A silk handkerchief does the magical bidding of Jay Scott Berry.

How he gauges his performance, Berry added, is audience response. “We have a great group of families and kids here today; they’re lots of fun.”

He creates many of the magical effects and all the presentations he performs, he said.  “Like any artist, you’re sort of driven to create. In my case, it’s striving to create new ways of sharing the art of wonder and enchantment.”

After years of entertaining, giving thousands of performances, Berry said he’s learned to “Surrender and ‘enjoy the dance’.  Young entertainers go on stage feeling a lot of stress, anxiety and fear.

Berry teaches magical ways of tying knots in ropes, with the help of this youngster.

“I think as you get a little more seasoned as an entertainer, you just want to have fun,” Berry elucidated. “My young spirit tends to come out with a ‘Peter Pan’ kind of energy, to remind everyone of the magic that is in each and every person’s heart.”

All-American Magic Show returns on February 23
Mark Benthimer and Scott Davis and company present another two-hour family show featuring mind-bending illusion, music, dazzling assistants, and audience participation, starting at 2:00 p.m. on February 23.

> See our story about this great monthly show: CLICK HERE.

The cost is comparable to going to the movies – but features live, lively entertainment.

Purchase tickets in advance (these shows sell out) at All American Magic Shop in Mall 205 (9994 SE Washington Street), or by calling (503) 995-7379, or see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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