Gary Ferrar was in kindergarten when he performed his first magic trick for show and tell day, wowing his classmates and teacher. From that moment on, he knew what he wanted to do the rest of his life: perform magic and bring joy to others. Today, he's still leaving audiences of all ages in awe as he performs magic and mentalism in the New York City area, going by the stage name Gary the Great, still occasionally demonstrating the same trick that started his career.
According to Ferrar, the key to being a successful magician goes way beyond knowing how to perform the tricks. A great magician connects with their audience and uses the element of surprise to their advantage.
"I have a background in theater which is a big benefit in this industry," he explains. "A lot of magicians focus so much on the method that they forget to also entertain and engage the audience. I also create the illusion that the show has gone outside of my control. As soon as the audience realizes that something unplanned might happen, they're immediately captivated. Of course, I know exactly how everything will work out, but the possibility that things might go wrong brings everyone to the edge of their seats."
Ferrar has performed at events of all sizes, from birthday parties to product launches. Prominent people including Tom Brokaw, Michael Bloomberg, Robert De Niro, and Ivanka Trump have all witnessed Ferrar's shows. He gets booked for over 300 events per year and proudly states that he has never performs the same show twice. "My shows are legitimately improvised and unique to each audience," he says. "They immediately sense that it's being created for them, and that gets their attention quickly."
Ferrar performs "strolling magic", where he works a room entertaining smaller groups of people at a time, and parlor shows on a stage for adult audiences. Children are treated to interactive performances that can include any combination of card tricks, balloons, juggling, comedy, and more. Online testimonials attest to his ability to keep children of all ages spellbound and enjoying themselves for the entire length of a show, even at school performances with hundreds watching. Add-on features for kids' parties include balloon artistry, face painting, and trick workshops where children age 7 and older can learn simple magic tricks first-hand.
Ferrar has also built relationships with several area DJs, catering companies, photographers, psychics and more and can make recommendations for clients that need reliable services for their event. A member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, he is also a resident magician for the Brooklyn Public Library, About.com, and several New York pediatric units, where he brings smiles to the faces of young patients. He also serves as the director of summer magic programs at SUNY Old Westbury, SUNY Purchase, and the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.
For Ferrar, one of the best things about his job is creating the human interaction and seeing audience members put away their mobile device so they can focus and be entertained, something which is truly magical in today's tech-heavy society. "I sometimes perform in old Catskill hotels and get the feeling that what I'm doing allows people to go back to a simpler time," he explains. "No one has their cell phone out. No one is worried about what they're doing after the show. It's a rare experience these days, and I love that I get to consistently be a part of that face to face interaction that is so often missing from our digital lives."