RUMFORD — Scot and Cindy Grassette’s debut magic school is turning out to be way better than it appeared on paper. They also wish they’d done it much earlier.

Ten children ages 7 to 13 from Bethel, Rumford, Mexico, Dixfield, Peru, Canton and Lewiston are 49 Franklin’s School of Magic and Showmanship’s first students. Classes for this year’s session are two hours long on Monday and Wednesday nights from Feb. 9 through March 18.

The students are taught stage illusions, standup and parlor magic, stagecraft and more, 90 percent of which come from the 503-page book, “Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic.” It contains hundreds of tricks and advice and is the world’s most popular book of magic instruction.

Graduation is what Scot calls “The Big Show,” because it’s packed with magic acts the students have learned and will perform for an audience. It will be held starting at 7 p.m. Friday, March 20 at 49 Franklin.

“It’s been far more rewarding than I ever expected,” Scot Grassette said Wednesday night following class and a rehearsal for the show. “And I learn more, too. I’ve been honing my skills.”

There will be mind reading, levitation, tricks with rope, coins and cards, appearances and disappearances, big illusions and more, all performed with the aplomb of a master performer.

“I think it’s fun,” Lucas Malley, 13, of Bethel, said. “You get to make things float and do cool stuff.”

“There will be good comedy,” Scot Grassette said. “Some of the parts are going to be hilarious, like 9-year-old Adam Benson is going to be reading minds.”

Cindy Grassette has also been helping the students learn choreography by showing them how to choreograph their moves on stage. A dress rehearsal will be held on Thursday, March 19.

The show features the talents of Malley; Benson, of Lewiston; Anthony MacDonald, 8, of Canton; Bradley Sirois, 7, Brielle Flynn, 9, and Caleb Frisbie, 12, of Rumford; Brooke Brown, 9, of Dixfield; Jade Kubic, 12, of Mexico; Drew Quirion, 7, and Travis Ryerson, 12, of Peru.

“It’s not just a class you do, and then put it away,” Grassette said. Ryerson has taken his lessons to heart and already started booking his own shows at other venues.

“I’m pretty proud of the whole shape of the show,” he said. “There will be times when they are working together and alone. They all have their strengths.”

Like most magic shows, there will be audience participation, such as a magician asking to borrow a dollar bill for a trick or a volunteer to tie up a kid with 100 feet of rope.

“There’s probably a lot of times when a parent would like to confine their kid, but we’re actually going to encourage the tying up of a 12-year-old kid, Travis, by an adult,” Grassette said. 

“The challenge is for him to escape in less time than it takes to tie him up. We’ve gone over some techniques and some methods to have him liberate himself from 100 feet of rope.

“There’s going to be a levitation of a person — Brooke is actually going to levitate,” he said.

After the two-hour class on Wednesday night, Scot Grassette watched a group of boys trying to master throwing playing cards like a Frisbee. “Hit the back wall,” he said. “You’re going to take and boomerang that thing so you hit the back wall.”

When they couldn’t, he went on stage with them and began showing them how to hold the card and the throwing motion to achieve maximum distance.

Later, talking about classes, Grassette said they learned about history and some famous magicians.

“Each time, we learned about theater techniques, theater language, how to get applause, the applause stance — how to stand so that when you’ve done the trick and people know you’ve done the trick, they applaud — and that’s a big part,” he said.

“The whole rest of the lessons are all about the showmanship part of it. We’ve done the tricks and now they’re learning the showmanship part — the ability to use your magic effects and entertain them — is different than just showing a bunch of tricks. It’s presented in a way that’s entertaining, so when you’re done with the show, you’re thinking, ‘That was a great show.'”

Doors for the 7 to 9 p.m. show open at 6:30 on Friday, March 20, at the Grassettes’ Mystic Theater inside their reception hall, 49 Franklin on the street by the same name in Rumford. Admission is $8 tickets for all general seating. Tickets are available at All That Jazz or Bartash’s or 49 Franklin, all in Rumford.

Theater snacks, popcorn, drinks and candy will be sold, cash only. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/events/787554974658132 or www.49franklin.com.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: