LAS VEGAS – Criss Angel, who took over Las Vegas 14 years ago with his illusions, is back at Planet Hollywood where it all began — but he isn’t stopping there.
“To have this show here at Planet Hollywood, which is where I started MINDFREAK to begin with the television series, and to come back here, you know being back home is full circle,” Angel told Fox News. The magician filmed the first two seasons of his show MINDFREAK at the venue in 2004.
The fully immersive show called Criss Angel MINDFREAK debuted earlier this year and has “more lights than all seven Cirque [du Soleil] shows combined — over 2,000 lights,” he said. “People are going to come to this show even in the entertainment capital of the world and they are going to see a show that will blow their mind unlike any show in the world of entertainment,” he added.
For the first time, Angel will also be taking the stage on Broadway in New York City in July for his theatrical experience called "RAW – The Mindfreak Unplugged."
“The Broadway show is another goal that I’ve had since I was a kid and now I'll be accomplishing that July 2nd — doing eight shows at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre that once housed Doug Henning, my childhood inspiration,” he said.
The magician described the theatrical performance as the “stripped-down version of getting to know Criss Angel, as if I was in your living room hanging out having a beer,” adding that the experience will “make you feel like you can go out and conquer the world, especially after you see me levitate in pure light in a way that no one has ever done in the history of magic.”
Despite being one of the most well-known performers – he is the most-watched magician of all-time on the Internet – Angel said he is working harder now than ever before.
“My dedication and the amount of hours I put in working today is far greater than the hours I used to put in when I was trying to get a break because it's a lot more difficult to remain on top, and to remain relevant,” he said. “In order to do that, you got to have the future of magic today.”
Angel said he has a “60,000-square-foot laboratory” and a staff of nearly 100 people who work with him every day to help develop new tricks and illusions — some of which take “almost 20 years to bring it to life because it's that special.”
The illusionist also noticed an evolution of magic since David Blaine, who did more close-up magic, came onto the scene.
“They want instant gratification. They want to do something for a viral clip, but they have no chops to be able to do a show,” Angel told Fox News, adding that there is even a different level of appreciation when it comes to learning and understanding new tricks.
“I didn't have the Internet back in the day, I went to the card catalog … Now you know if somebody wants to learn a secret they go online and there's no real work to understand what that secret really means to make it something valuable and to make it your own,” he said.
When he’s not performing, Angel dedicates his time to a cause that has directly impacted his life.
“I think the reason why I've been so blessed with success beyond my wildest dreams is because I have been put here for a greater cause and that cause is children — one child every two minutes is diagnosed with cancer and cancer is the leading cause of death among children by disease,” Angel said.
The magician’s son, Johnny Crisstopher, was diagnosed with leukemia at 2 years old. Now, Johnny, who is 5, is in remission.
“It really underscored what it means to really be a voice for these kids. And, so for me, my life's commitment is these kids. I've dedicated a lot of my time, my money and just my focus to using my success which I've been blessed with to really raise awareness and be a voice for these kids,” he said.
Whether it’s developing new illusions, taking the stage on Broadway or helping fight cancer, Angel is always looking toward the future.
“You just can't rest on what you did yesterday," he said, "you have to think about tomorrow.”