Genre: Comedy, Kids, Festival, Solo Performance
©Brian McConkey
Ben Whiting, Alexander "Sandy" Marshall

Straight from a sold out run in Chicago, MAGICMOUTH THEATRE presents the New York premiere of AMERICAN GYPSY, written and performed by Ben Whiting and directed by Alexander “Sandy” Marshall, at The Kraine Theatre (85 East 4th Street).  The production is part of the 14th Annual New York International Fringe Festival.  Whiting, whose magic was hailed by Artview Magazine as “better than Copperfield,” has performed magic all over the world for diverse audiences ranging from Viennese street crowds to Dr. Maya Angelou.   For tickets and performance times please visit  

A blend of theatre and sleight of hand magic, AMERICAN GYPSY is a charged and inspiring tale of friendship, separation, and ultimately, connection.  Based on the life story of the legendary Jim Cellini, the play follows a brash young magician as he is apprenticed to his idol and then forced to choose between a life of human interaction and a life behind the fourth wall.  Cellini, as a young man, earns a coveted spot to study with legendary magician Tony Slydini which is the surest path to a career of fame as a professional magician in the 1960s.  While first attracted to large-scale stage illusions, Cellini finds himself seduced by the poetic possibilities of humble street performance.  What he calls the “connection between two human beings that arises out of the impossible” temps him from his studies, forcing a rift with Slydini that will change both their careers and lives forever.

While writing AMERICAN GYPSY, Whiting visited the master magician’s workshop and spent time with his family to further develop his portrayal of Cellini’s signature style.  The story that emerged from this experience, Cellini’s story, explores the powerful decision some people make to stand on a sidewalk every single day in an effort to genuinely touch people’s hearts, tickle their funny bones, and make their day just a bit more magical.  

BEN WHITING (Performer) is an actor/magician based out of Chicago, Illinois. Selected acting credits include: Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Steppenwolf Theatre) The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Victory Gardens) Much Ado About Nothing (First Folio Shakespeare Festival) Regional credits include: Romeo and Juliet (Montana Shakespeare in the Parks) Woman in Black , Our Town (Twin City Stage), Awakening, Rubber Doves, Virtual Reality (MagicMouth Theatre). He is a 2007 graduate of the Chicago School at Steppenwolf.  As a street performer he has busked in over 15 different countries around the world.

ALEXANDER “SANDY” MARSHALL (Director) has more than forty years of experience as a writer, director, producer, and actor. A two-time Emmy Award-winner (seven nominations), he has also won the Clio Award, Golden Eagle, Gold medals at the New York Film & TV Festival, and a dozen international awards. Sandy’s play, And in the End: The Death and Life of John Lennon received critical acclaim for productions in Great Britain and Australia. No stranger to magic, Sandy is related to two Deans of the Society of American Magicians: His grandfather, Al Baker, and his father, Jay Marshall. His recently released biography about his father’s life, Beating a Dead Horse: The Life and Times of Jay Marshall has garnered international rave reviews. His column, “Sandy’s Rants” appears in The Newest Tops (

MAGICMOUTH THEATRE is a Chicago-based theatre dedicated to the development of a new theatre genre that combines the art of drama with the art of illusion, while educating fellow artists and communities in both art forms. Previous productions Awakening and Rubber Doves garnered a Kauffman Fellowship as well national media coverage. GoTriad Magazine says MagicMouth “inspires audiences of all ages” and Entrepreneur Magazine proclaims “It’s the right time for MagicMouth Theatre.” Rubber Doves ran in both North Carolina and Chicago, winning the New Horizons Playwriting Competition and a spot in Magic Chicago.  Sheldon Patinkin, Co-Founder of Second City, called the company’s work “wonderfully inventive” while Steppenwolf Theatre Company Ensemble Member, Alan Wilder, found it “engaging, humorous and personal.”  AMERICAN GYPSY is MagicMouth Theatre’s third all-original production.

AMERICAN GYPSY plays this August: Sun 22 @ 6:45  Tue 24 @ 5  Thu 26 @ 11PM  Fri 27 @ 7  Sun 29 @ NOON 

For more information about the company or this production, please visit  

Open:   08/22/10
Close:   08/29/10

Sun. 8/22 @ 6:45PM; Tue. 8/24 @ 5PM; Thu. 8/26 @ 11PM Fri. 8/27 @ 7PM Sun. 8/29 @ NOON
Theater:   The Kraine Theater
Address:   85 E. 4th Street
New York, nb p;NY 
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Cost:$15 in Advance, $18 at the Door
Buy Tickets Online or Call: FringeNYC at 212-279-4488
Company: New York Int'l Fringe Festival         Official Web Site: