July 20th, 2011 14:57 EST
Two Visionaries Come Together to Set the World on Fire! Jason Escape and Michael Mann - A Truly 'Magical' Team!
As all of you know by now, this particular performer is my absolute favorite to write about: Jason Gardner (A.K.A., Jason Escape)! Over the past few months we have all been getting to know this truly extraordinary man who has such a unique vision that audiences across the globe are heralding Jason Escape.
When we first met Jason Escape, we met a genuine `Houdini` who the Bostonians can claim as their very own. In the center of their historic city, at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, crowds of people have gasped in awe as they`ve witnessed a man who gives the most entertaining and in-depth performances ever seen.
Article after article, we went on to explore all the different sides of Jason Escape, and the one thing we have most assuredly learned is that his talent, motivation, strength, and mystical performances are unmatched by anyone who falls in any category of artistic expression. Jason Escape is a specialty; a performer who offers everyone he meets sheer pleasure. Magnificent, unforgettable memories are made when audiences are `gifted` with the myriad of illusions, escapes, stunts, and wizardry that Jason Escape provides.
Jason Escape has the sheer ability to make a person laugh and gasp at the same time, and is building a literal `realm` of followers from Australia to Singapore, rivaling the great Houdini, himself. One of the most incredible aspects of Jason Escape is the fact that the intense passion he has for his creations come through in each and every word he utters, and move he makes. Jason Escape also takes the time to tailor each one of his performances in order to increase the enjoyment of a particular audience. Jason Escape is always looking for that next height to ascend to in order to unleash the most dazzling performance yet.
Which is where we come to learn the latest truly exciting news. Jason Escape is teaming up with a stellar individual by the name of Michael Mann. And if your skin is not tingling with anticipation, then I can only assume you are working in a cubicle and can`t remember what true and utter excitement is all about.
I am about to introduce all of you to Michael Mann. An expert stage manager, performer, Magic and Grand Illusionist Consultant and, believe me, the list of his skills, talents, and attributes goes on and on. This is one of the most exceptional people I have met since I first met Mr. Jason Escape, himself.
So, please meet the other half of what will soon be the most unforgettable collaboration in the world!
You initially began as a performer when you were very young, on Broadway. Could you speak a little about that for our readers?
My mother and father were performers in the ballet and on Broadway. By the time I came along, they were a dance team in nightclubs. I traveled with them for all of my youth and went to school by correspondence. When I was eight or nine, they were doing a TV show in Montreal Canada, which is where I had my first performance on the Christmas special of that show.
When we came back to the U.S., I started studying ballet and singing - as well as tap dancing, which I got from my father. I started doing shows and acting on TV and radio - in those days it was live. And when I was eleven, one of my ballet teacher`s sons was in the Broadway production of Gypsy, with Ethel Merman. The day after the show opened, he went to his parents and said that he didn`t want to be a performer, so his parents recommended me for their son`s role; I auditioned and got the job!
Once I became part of the show I actually had to go to school - Professional Children`s School in New York City. That was a tremendous experience to be in that show. You have no idea at that age how much you learn just by watching people like Ethel Merman and Jack Klugman when they act. I was with the show for all of the Broadway run and the National Tour.
Your household must have been very musical and artistic?
My mother was one of the first three American dancers to join the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo; my Father taught himself to dance out of a book. He was the son of an oil field worker in Texas and Oklahoma. Along his journey, he rode a freight train to New York City and got a job with the Mordkin Ballet where my mother was a soloist.
Music and dance were a way of life. Books were the `anchor` of the household; I remember people coming to the apartment in NYC where my mother still lives, and discussions of the merits of Kahlil Gibron and Marcus Auralius would continue far into the night. I never even heard rock & roll until I was about thirteen.
I was wondering if you could tell our readers when you first became involved in the production manager/stage manager realm?
When I was thirty I got tired of being the really good dancer who they wouldn`t let act because I was to valuable in the dance numbers, so I started Stage Managing.
One of my first Stage Managing jobs was with Harry Blackstone, Jr. - the great Magician. I had learned many of the skills that I needed for the job while watching in the theatre and while I was in the Military.
Blackstone required a special set of skills that also involved some rigging work. I applied my mountaineering skills, also learned in the military, and continued to work with Blackstone off and on for more than twenty years until his death.
Being a "Magic and Grand Illusionist Consultant,` I would think, is not something a person simply falls " into. Can you tell readers how that came about?
Most of what I know about magic I learned from Blackstone and his consultants like Charles Reynolds, who passed away this year. These people don`t give lessons - you have to watch, listen, and ask the right questions. I was very lucky.
Are you a magician or interested in magic?
I am not a magician, myself, but I am interested in magic as an art form. If it is done well, it can be a fulfilling experience both for the audience and the performer; done badly, it is a disaster for both.
Out of your tremendous amount of skills, which is the one you particularly like the most? Such as, are you happier being a `behind the scenes` or a `front stage` man?
I recently went back to performing after a thirty year hiatus, and it was a tremendous experience. I had so much fun. But Theatre in any form is a way of life for me. Except for my time in the military, I have only made my living in theatre in one discipline or another, and all are equally rewarding. Theatre is truly an ensemble art form; the best performer in the world is nothing if there is no light to see them, or the proper stage environment for them to perform.
What is a stage combat specialist?
Stage combat is fighting on stage. It must seem real for the audience, but be safe for the actors involved. It can be as simple as a slap or a full-out sword fight or anything in between.
Jason Gardner (A.K.A. Jason Escape) is teaming up with you for some new - what sound like - incredible illusions. Can you give a sneak peek as to what this partnership will entail?
There is an unwritten law in Magic and Illusion that we never talk about the illusions that we work on. Jason would be the man to ask on that. All I can say is that they will be dramatic and pretty amazing.
Having a hand in the magic world, so to speak, do you get upset with how this particular realm is sometimes referred to as `side-show` tricks?
Because, as one who believes a great deal in magic, it is a sleight against all the people who work so hard.
People who make it a `side-show` only show how little skill and talent they have. There will always be a place for a truly skillful magician and illusionist.
Do you have any particular favorites when it comes to the productions you`ve done?
Naturally, Blackstone will always be my favorite, but I have to say that a pair of young men - Jarrett and Raja - are favorites of mine. Their act is unique. Raja is a concert pianist and Jarrett is a fine magician. They are great fun.
And, finally, I always end with the questions that readers and fans love.
What career would you like to try?
What career would you NEVER like to try?
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
And, finally, If Heaven truly exists, what would you like God to say when you enter the Pearly Gates?
You did the best you could.
Michael Mann has proven over a lifetime of truly amazing and wonderful experiences that he is the man who knows about Magic and Illusion, and helping magicians to realize and create their next `huge` moment.
Coming up in the next few months, I`ll be giving you even more information on the incredible team of Jason Escape and Michael Mann, as they continue on their quest to inspire. In addition, there are many other Jason Escape projects in the works - and each and every one of you will be fascinated by the `world` of Jason Escape that is growing ever larger by the minute!
Until Next Time, Everybody!
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