Stage Show Showstoppers/Grand Finales?

I was just curious as to what you performers out there who do stage shows do for your closers? This includes menatlists, hypnotists, illusionists, manipulators, etc.

Now in my opinion, a good closer, or a "showstopping " effect would be something you could write a good newspaper headline out of, get alot of publicity out of, or at the very least, get more people's attention, & therefore be able to get more people to come to the show.

For example, "Come Watch Magician Perform The Impossible At ### Theater" (yawn) vs. "Come Watch Man Die On Stage & Live To Tell About It." etc.

For example, a popular choice for many magicians wanting to get into stage use the sub trunk as there closer, which in my opinion is not a showstopping effect, & even worse, does not sound exciting, & on top of that, everyone is doing it. & of course since Copperfield started doing Snow as a finale, every magician & there mother started doing Snow in one form or another as there finale. So these will certainly never be on my list of closers no matter what type of show I do.

So in my opinion, the showstopper doesnt have to neccesarily be an expensive, super big grand illusion, even if the majority of your show is grand illusion.

For example, the moment I saw Wayne Houchin's Control, I knew that would be an example of a great closer/showstopper, with of course the advantages of not having to have huge or expensive props to pull it off, then follow that with an encore of a quick vanish from the stage to the middle of the audience for a great lasting impression.

So what do you guys think would be good ideas for closers?
 
Dec 18, 2007
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WRONG. . . I did big illusions for nearly 20 years and the show stopper had nothing to do with a big trick but rather a big routine; something that all of the big names have used for generations. The most assured positive closer is always Patriotic and if you're American, it means using the Elvis Medley of Anthems as well as a hint of gospel -- you'll get a standing O every show and lots of high energy from you patrons, just remember to unroll a huge flag as your back-drop and produce a few more on flag poles.

The other closer I used and many others (iincluding Blackstone) is a Circus act. . . as you've suggested, this is where you bring in big effects like a Girl to Lion, Vanishing Elephant, Girl & Canon, etc. but the big deal is lots of stage activity, schtick by the clowns (like the old water bucket gag), etc. you ENTERTAIN folks while raising the energy of the room be it through a Side Show type encounter or a series of large & small effects.

Yes, you can do a more sedate closer such as a grand levitation. . . I've even closed with a floating ball routine in which I & the ball vanish at the end, but they do not leave the audience on their feet, which is what you really want in a finale'

As a Mentalist there is just one closer as far as I'm concerned -- the Q&A in which ever variation you choose to execute.

The public enjoys your other bits, but they actually attend a Mentalist program in the hope of getting a Reading that is why the Q&A is the epitome of all things fantastic in a Mentalist's program be it in the form of Psychometry, a traditional Billet styled session or something akin to what Jerome Finley encourages (or my own Thoth's Wisdom, due out in about 10 days and counting).

I've tried other type of endings in a Mentalism program and they all pale by comparison.
 
WRONG. . . I did big illusions for nearly 20 years and the show stopper had nothing to do with a big trick but rather a big routine; something that all of the big names have used for generations. The most assured positive closer is always Patriotic and if you're American, it means using the Elvis Medley of Anthems as well as a hint of gospel -- you'll get a standing O every show and lots of high energy from you patrons, just remember to unroll a huge flag as your back-drop and produce a few more on flag poles.

The other closer I used and many others (iincluding Blackstone) is a Circus act. . . as you've suggested, this is where you bring in big effects like a Girl to Lion, Vanishing Elephant, Girl & Canon, etc. but the big deal is lots of stage activity, schtick by the clowns (like the old water bucket gag), etc. you ENTERTAIN folks while raising the energy of the room be it through a Side Show type encounter or a series of large & small effects.

Yes, you can do a more sedate closer such as a grand levitation. . . I've even closed with a floating ball routine in which I & the ball vanish at the end, but they do not leave the audience on their feet, which is what you really want in a finale'

As a Mentalist there is just one closer as far as I'm concerned -- the Q&A in which ever variation you choose to execute.

The public enjoys your other bits, but they actually attend a Mentalist program in the hope of getting a Reading that is why the Q&A is the epitome of all things fantastic in a Mentalist's program be it in the form of Psychometry, a traditional Billet styled session or something akin to what Jerome Finley encourages (or my own Thoth's Wisdom, due out in about 10 days and counting).

I've tried other type of endings in a Mentalism program and they all pale by comparison.

Where am I "wrong"? I have stated several times that these are all my OPINIONS, & Ill confess right now that I have NEVER done a stage show, but do plan on it soon. So I am far from being an expert, as I have ZERO experience in this department, but I HAVE been performing for small to large groups of people for almost 20 years, in just about every situation- b-days, strolling, restaurants, busking etc... just about everything EXCEPT for stage.

& I already pointed out that In my opinion I believe that you dont need a "big prop illusion" to close a show with, & I also agree with having a finale that will have them on there feet, as I already mentioned teleporting from the stage to the middle of the audience, a tried & tested formula used several times by Copperfield that is a gaurunteed standing O piece.

So I guess to be more specific, what would be a good showstopper, than a good curtain call/closer? Like I mentioned in my example, the showstopper I plan to use is Control, something I can really build up to as I mention at the very top of the show that I will attempt to die on stage & come back to life later on, so that by the time I get to it, they will assume that THAT is the finale, & hopefully get a standing O after. If not, no big deal, as just when they though the show was over, I would have 1 last chance to do so by hitting them with the teleportation. Copperfied uses this same structure- for example, setting up "Portal", & even saying "Time for our final illusion" before performing it, but then when he finishes Portal, says "You want some more?", & hits them with an encore. Same thing with this old show. First, he did "Flying", & just when most people thought the show was over, he did Snow as an encore, so he's basically doing "Two" Showstoppers/Grand finales, while making it seem like hes giving you more.
 
Dec 18, 2007
1,610
13
61
Northampton, MA - USA
Franz Harary used to do a teleport similar to what you speak of but it was used as misdirection, something you might think of. . . he'd jump up waving a banner and blowing a whistle while his team set his appearing airplane on the stage. . . it's a technique similar to what Blackstone, Sr. did with his Elephant Appearance. . . He'd produce a little donkey on one side of the stage and then point as the light rose and puffs of smoke went off and voila! there was an elephant!

You don't have to do big props to do big magic, please understand this. . . but it does help to have one big something. . . you could simply roll a car out on the stage while everyone is looking at you in the audience. BUT. . . not all stages can support the weight of a car nor do all have sufficient backstage room for holding the car out of sight until you're ready. . . maybe a motorcycle then? or a group of bikes?

Exploit the foam snow machines. . . the snow fall ads to excitement because of how it incites the little kid in us all. To embellish this, turn on a mirror ball light or two. Launch a couple of confetti loads (canons) all of this will build excitement, it all packs relatively small but gives you big production value. Another trick is to use micro-strobes around your stage, it looks like flash cameras going off.

When I said "wrong" I was referring to the fact that one big illusion won't make your finale' or at least, it rarely will. One of the things I've done in the past is done a false close and then in the encore, present one last large scale marvel. It doesn't have to be physically huge, it only needs to play big. My buddy Jon Stetson closes with Final Flashback in slays the audience with it, so find your own pet piece and use it in thsi manner.

The point being, how do you want your audience to leave the room? Do you want them jazzed and filled with high energy or a bit more sedate contemplating "art" vs. a Busby Burkley production number?

I used to close one of my Mentalism shows with the Kevin James Snow Storm which anchored to something I did in the opening of the show. It left people in awe, gave me the second standing O for the night and had them feeling "full". it was a daring move on my part but because of how I'd used the Blizzard machines earlier, it worked.

To do a relocation such as you're talking about, you've got to pull the audience into a crescendo which means channeling your best cheerleader and swiinging those pom-poms.
 
Franz Harary used to do a teleport similar to what you speak of but it was used as misdirection, something you might think of. . . he'd jump up waving a banner and blowing a whistle while his team set his appearing airplane on the stage. . . it's a technique similar to what Blackstone, Sr. did with his Elephant Appearance. . . He'd produce a little donkey on one side of the stage and then point as the light rose and puffs of smoke went off and voila! there was an elephant!

You don't have to do big props to do big magic, please understand this. . . but it does help to have one big something. . . you could simply roll a car out on the stage while everyone is looking at you in the audience. BUT. . . not all stages can support the weight of a car nor do all have sufficient backstage room for holding the car out of sight until you're ready. . . maybe a motorcycle then? or a group of bikes?

Exploit the foam snow machines. . . the snow fall ads to excitement because of how it incites the little kid in us all. To embellish this, turn on a mirror ball light or two. Launch a couple of confetti loads (canons) all of this will build excitement, it all packs relatively small but gives you big production value. Another trick is to use micro-strobes around your stage, it looks like flash cameras going off.

When I said "wrong" I was referring to the fact that one big illusion won't make your finale' or at least, it rarely will. One of the things I've done in the past is done a false close and then in the encore, present one last large scale marvel. It doesn't have to be physically huge, it only needs to play big. My buddy Jon Stetson closes with Final Flashback in slays the audience with it, so find your own pet piece and use it in thsi manner.

The point being, how do you want your audience to leave the room? Do you want them jazzed and filled with high energy or a bit more sedate contemplating "art" vs. a Busby Burkley production number?

I used to close one of my Mentalism shows with the Kevin James Snow Storm which anchored to something I did in the opening of the show. It left people in awe, gave me the second standing O for the night and had them feeling "full". it was a daring move on my part but because of how I'd used the Blizzard machines earlier, it worked.

To do a relocation such as you're talking about, you've got to pull the audience into a crescendo which means channeling your best cheerleader and swiinging those pom-poms.

Thanks for all your insight CB!

As for using snow machines... I did come up with howd Id use it, only it wouldnt be based around Snow in the traditional ways its already been presented- childhod dream, xmas, etc. I thought it could be used to enhance a water into ice/snow effect, where a spotlight would be lighting just me, as I turn water into ice, & talk about how that is related to how snow is actually created, & while all this is happening, the snow machines would be filling the theater, only almost no one would see it, then by the time I get to the end of the routine, all the lights would come up so that all the snow would be visible, giving the end of the routine an extra punch, making it almost seem as if the snow just appeared out of nowhere.
 
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