Daniel Martin did it all last Thursday.
Because he gave his production assistant the week off, he set up all his gear by himself for a show at Missouri Southern State University — everything from speakers and mics to a DVD player and screen. That setup came after the university shifted his performance location from an auditorium to a ballroom.
He rolled with the changes: Because he was performing on a flat ballroom floor instead of a stage, he stood on a chair for several routines, including his silent card trick, so that everyone could see. He handled a crowd of about 300 like it was a group of friends — high energy, on his toes and handling seven-year-old hecklers brilliantly. He handled his own props, sound and video like a master, but was always a top-notch performer.
His performance went over incredibly — a long line of audience members waited after the show to get an autograph and shake his hand.
He did it all like a pro, and it went over big.
In a way, the MSSU show proved what he told us after the show in an interview: College magic is hard. The presence of kids, the lack of a stage, the loss of an assistant yet the power of the performance happened only because he’s been working on his performance for more than 18 years.
Martin also does full theatrical shows and corporate appearances. He’s appeared on NBC, CBS, VH-1 and ESPN. He took some time to talk to us after Thursday’s show about how he got started, how many shows he does a year and exactly why college magic is the toughest field out there.