For Mike Super, success seemed to be part of the plan since he was 6 years old.
"My magic influences as a child were Doug Henning and a newer magician at the time, David Copperfield, who was just starting out. Back then, my sister was my assistant because she didn't have to be paid. My mom was just incredibly supportive and even now, I end my show with a tribute to her," he said.
Super grew up in Clairton, Pa., a little town outside of Pittsburgh. "It was a steel mill town and everyone was supposed to grow up and work in the mill. The mind set back then was that if you didn't work in the mill, you were not going to have a good job. Back then, my dad was not excited about me wanting to grow up and work in show business. He would look at me and kinda just shake his head. But now, he is one of my biggest fans and it's great to hear him brag about me," he said.
"You have to realize with any show, bigger doesn't automatically mean better. I try to concentrate on many elements, most importantly my personality and relationship with the audience. If the audience likes you, they'll be amazed and entertained," he continued.
The main thing that you will always hear from an audience after a Super show is that they never expected to enjoy the show as much as they did. "Most of them are used to the typical magic stereotypes. With my show, the only thing the audience can expect is to not know what to expect. The show is constantly changing so on any given night you can expect the show to be different from the last time you've seen it. My thing is to involve the audience totally and that means the show must be continually re-invented," he said.
In an article in the Daytona Beach News, it reported Super had them on and off their feet. From levitation to standing ovation, the 27-year-old magician from Pittsburgh wooed, ooed and aahed a crowd at the city's Performing Arts Center with his distinctive mix of illusion and Jerry Seinfeld-like humor.
"He was excellent, one of the best I've seen," said John Michel, a New York City transplant living in Port Orange. A lifelong magic buff, Michel and his wife, go out of their way to take in magic shows, including one by the late Doug Henning on Broadway.
"I heard about (Super) a couple of years ago," he said. So there they sat in the audience, among mostly parents and grandparents with children, as the hip-hop and rock music blared.
Dressed in jeans and a casual blue shirt, Super performed even the old standards with a witty twist, using adults and children he picked from the audience as partners in his comedic routines.
"This is a different kind of magic," Super said, opening the show. "You don't just look at me. It's interactive. You experience the magic first-hand."
The pace of Super's 90-minute show was as quick and energetic as the performer himself. He's a human Vitamin B-12 shot.
"Magic used to be stuffy, guys in their tuxedoes with their assistants," he said. "That's why I use people from the audience as my assistants. It's where the comedy developed. Every show is different. I have even used hecklers."
But the bottom line remains the child-like awe that he creates when doing a seemingly unexplainable illusion.
That awe is what hooked Super on magic at age 6 during a visit to, of all places, Disney World's Magic Kingdom. "There was an old magician in a shop that I watched the whole day," Super recalled.
Back home in Pittsburgh, he did shows in his backyard for friends, charging a nickel admission and wearing a black cape. "I thought it would be a great way to become popular in school," he said. "I read everything about magic that I could get my hands on."
His mother, who died when he was younger, was his biggest supporter. She helped him learn a trick "and then acted like she'd never seen it done before" when he performed it as a little boy. Super closes the show with a moving tribute and trick dedicated to his mother. "I was always convinced that I would do this as a living," he said, after signing autographs in the lobby following the show.
But Super attended the University of Pittsburgh where he studied computer science, putting himself through school performing magic. Deciding on a career of confounding audiences rather than running computers proved easy.
"I just couldn't take the pay cut," he said, smiling. "And I realized I could live my dream."
The popularity of Super's show is signified by the number of dates he does every single year. If you're interested in a truly unique theatrical experience see Super on Friday, March 30 at 7 p.m. in the College of Eastern Utah's BDAC. CEU students free, non students $7 in advance, $10 at the door. CEU students can purchase a family pass for $20 in advance, $25 in advance. Adults are $10 in advance, $15 at the door; children under 12 are $5 in advance, $7 at the door. A family pass is $35 in advance, $40 at the door.
The Nikhil Korula Band "Music that Makes your Soul Groove"
The NK Band, one of Music Connection (LA) Magazine's "100 Best Unsigned Bands," and whose album "The Way Things Work," was voted 2nd Best Album of 2005 as well as being coined "feel-good music" by the LA Times, will play in Price on Friday, March 30th at 9:30 p.m. in the BDAC.
Blending the sounds of calypso, rock, reggae, African and Latin grooves, the Nikhil Korula Band has been gathering worldwide attention one fan at a time.
From their diverse backgrounds and musical influences, this unique sextet infuses extraordinary musicianship with irresistible dance jams, a combination that has been selling out such iconic venues as the House of Blues, Temple Bar, Knitting Factory and Viper Room.
Due to its ever increasing fan following, this vibrant musical act has traveled throughout Southern California, playing Soho in Santa Barbara and the Belly Up Tavern in San Diego.
In the three years they have been together, the NKBand has been honored to play with some of today's most accomplished performers as John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Los Lonely Boys, The Calling, Colin Hay (Men At Work), Les Claypool, Common Sense and the Dan Band. At the time of their inception, some band members even played in a tribute concert for rock legend Carlos Santana, featuring Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.
Classically trained in voice from the age of 5, founding frontman Nikhil Korula lent his dulcet tones to sing with the likes of opera giants such as Placido Domingo and pop stars Bary Manilow and the late Luther Vandross and even sang for one of Danny Elfman's film scores in addition to a performance at the 32nd Annual Grammy ® Awards with Mike and the Mechanics.
His creative talents drew him to the intense world of jazz and improvisation, which led to his playing many acoustic sets throughout Los Angeles. This experience in turn helped him to collaborate with some of the city's finest jazz musicians to form the Nikhil Korula Band (NK Band).
The music of the NKBand soars seamlessly across a world of influences, lifting listeners to a plane of joy and positivity. Through their electrifying concerts, the band pushes musical boundaries with improvisation, making each live performance unforgettable. As a result, the enthralled audience is left with a feeling that they will never forget.
In their first year of performing together, the band sold out of their first EP, a five-song CD that still makes waves on the college scene. This success propelled the NK Band to record a full length album at Ocean Way Studios in Hollywood, following in the footsteps of incredible recent recording artists, Beck and Radiohead.
The intricately crafted songs on their new album, The Way Things Work, underscore the band's message of love, honor, peace and promise, most needed in our troubled time. In the short time of its existence, several of the CD tracks ("If I Could, Till We Dance, Lift Your Head, Livin', Sunrise and The Way Things Work) have been played on college radio stations around the country and mainstream stations like KLOS in Los Angeles.
With dedicated fans, exceptional live shows, and consistently remarkable song writing, the NK Band continues to have a remarkable effect and amazing impact on their audiences.