Today, ChiIL Mama was ChiILin' just north of Chicago in the charmingly diverse Andersonville neighborhood, for the groundbreaking of a new, art deco home for Chicago Magic Lounge at 5050 N. Clark St.
Chicago Magic Lounge, Chicago’s home for close-up magic, today broke ground in its new home. The multi-million-dollar renovation, designed by Morris Architects Planners, will usher in a new wave of entertainment, bringing back “Chicago Style Magic” under the leadership of Donald Clark, Jr. and Joseph (Joey) Cranford. From magicians to mind readers, Chicago Magic Lounge will provide guests the unique, one-of-a-kind experience of seeing wonders up-close and personal.
“Chicago Magic Lounge expects to open its luxurious new entertainment center in Chicago in early 2018,” said co-owner Donald Clark, Jr. “The newly renovated building will be an art deco-style magic lounge featuring secret entrances, a performance bar—replete with craft cocktails and decadent small bites—and an approximately 100 seat cabaret theater with a mezzanine overlooking both the stage as well as the bar underneath it. In addition, the space will feature a separate, exclusive close-up performance room, the “654 Club" (named for a classic Chicago card trick story, where guests will have the option to get an even closer look into our world of magic.” He added, “You truly won’t believe your eyes.”
The renovation, which will transform what was once a commercial laundry facility into a state-of the art venue, plans to be completed by late 2017 and will be in the heart of the Andersonville community. Prior to the completion of Chicago Magic Lounge, the show will continue to run at the Uptown Underground (4707 N. Broadway) where a community of 35 magicians entertain audiences every Thursday and Saturday night.
Chicago Magic Lounge will continue to delight audiences with close-up magic as they engage with guests by breaking the fourth wall and thrive on pure audience interaction and reaction.
As stated by Thrillist, “The Chicago Magic Lounge isn’t so much a physical structure as it is a reality that magicians have invited the audience into. The whole evening is essentially one big performance, and during it, magicians must believe in what they’re doing for it to feel real for the spectator. And when the spectator gets lost in the moment completely, even for a second -- that’s it. That’s the real magic.”
“Chicago Magic Lounge brings back a style of magic unique to the Windy City, which once hosted over 15 bars, restaurants and lounges all dedicated to what would become known as ‘Chicago-Style Magic,’” said co-owner Joey Cranford. "Dating back to the 1920s, magic bars and lounges were wonder-filled places of mystery and prestidigitation. One by one, the magic bars seemingly disappeared. Gone were the sleight of hand card tricks at the bar. Gone were simple, elegant illusions that made you wonder if you had one too many cocktails, and with it, Chicago forgot about a style of entertainment that it had created,” said Cranford. “Well, now the magic is back.”
About Joey Cranford
An actor, director and marketing executive, Joey Cranford founded the Chicago Magic Lounge in 2015. Cranford moved to Chicago to train with The Second City in 2002, and began performing with I.O. and the Annoyance Theater while traveling with a national touring improv group. He transitioned into Film and Television with credits including “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman,” “Chicago Fire” and “Better Call Saul.” Cranford began his career in magic directing a local show called “Bending Minds and Bending Dreams.” He now works with a dedicated team of the best magicians in the country.
About Donald Clark, Jr.
Donald Clark, Jr., who recently retired from his successful career as an attorney, has always been appreciative of the art of magic and is now immersed in the entertainment business. Clark’s producing credits include “The Encounter,” (winner of a Special Tony Award, an Outer Critics Circle award and a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Sound Design in a Play), as well as the upcoming “Bull Durham: The Musical” on Broadway. Clark has served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Adler Planetarium as well as the Chicago Theological Seminary, where he is now the Acting President and General Counsel.
About Chicago Magic Lounge
The Chicago Magic Lounge reinvents the classic "magic bar" that once dotted Chicago's nightlife landscape, bringing cocktails and card tricks back together again. Shows include magic performance at the bar, on the stage and in true Chicago-Style magic form, at the tables of the guests, providing the classic "Close-Up" tradition Chicago-Style magic is known for. Chicago Magic Lounge is also the home of the Chicago-land magic community, showcasing over 30 local professionals, and serving as a networking hub for working magicians from all over the world.
Renderings for the new space: