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March Mania

Shock illusionist brings his work home to west central Minnesota

Litchfield native Dan Sperry performs a broken mirror act as a part of his show. Sperry has performed before hundreds of crowds and more than 60,000 people, and is bringing his act home to Litchfield tonight.(Submitted photo)

In searching out entertainment for a Watercade fundraiser, organizers decided to go with one of their own.

Shock illusionist Dan Sperry -- a 2003 graduate of Litchfield High School -- will take the stage tonight at Bernie Aaker Auditorium, 114 N. Holcombe Ave., in Litchfield. Show time is 7 p.m.

Tickets are $20 per person and will be available at the door, based on availability. All proceeds go toward the general fund for financing the city's summer Watercade festival July 7-10, 2011.

In past years, the committee has hosted a banquet with some entertainment, according to Karla Lundin, Watercade board member and co-chair of tonight's event. This year they decided to go with something different.

Anti-Conjuror: Dan Sperry has been described as David Copperfield meets Marilyn Manson and is the only illusionist to ever be awarded the title of most original magician on Fox's "World Magic Awards."

"His name is out there," Lundin said of Sperry. "He's been doing shows in Las Vegas ... it's pretty cool ... we're very fortunate to get him here."

Sperry said: "Because I tour so much throughout the year, it seems I go all over the world except to Minnesota, so any reason to get back to Minnesota -- especially Litchfield -- to see family and friends is great."

Based out of Las Vegas, Sperry just kicked off his first U.S. tour Friday night, with a performance in St. Louis, Mo. He'll be performing back home in Litchfield tonight, and then it's off to Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday; Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday; Sioux City, Iowa, on Friday; and on to performances across Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona -- and that's all in the month of March.

Lundin said ticket sales have been going well, with more than 300 tickets sold by Wednesday of this week. That's more than enough to fill the lower-level seats of the auditorium, and they have now been working on selling enough tickets to fill the balcony seats as well.

Sperry, who grew up in Litchfield, is more than willing to help out his hometown: It's great "when I can perform as part of a benefit or fundraiser for events such as Watercade," he wrote in an e-mail this week.

About Dan Sperry

At the age of 4 Sperry went to see famed illusionist David Copperfield with his grandparents and left the showroom in tears from the shocking acts on stage. The Copperfield performance stayed with him for many years as he started to try his own hand at magic. At the age of 10, he performed his very first show in front of an audience at a hometown picnic in Litchfield.

From there his career took off as he began to perform at parties, including a private party for Johnny Depp's children, universities, state fairs and much more.

At the age of 17 he was already an internationally recognized champion with honors including being the youngest illusionist to headline the famed Magic Castle in Hollywood, Calif., and 13 appearances on the hit TV series "Masters of Illusion."

Sperry was also the youngest illusionist featured in "The World's Greatest Magic Show" for three years in Las Vegas.

After spending several years touring throughout Canada, Greece, Italy and numerous other destinations, Sperry appeared on season five of NBC's "America's Got Talent" in early 2010. After receiving more than 1 million views on YouTube, he captivated voters and sent judge Howie Mandel running into the stands with his offbeat performance of making a lifesaver appear out of his throat.

Within 24 hours after performing on the show, Sperry was one of the Top 10 most Googled people as fans tried to search out more of his shocking talent.

In October 2010 Sperry headlined at Fright Dome, Las Vegas' premiere Halloween attraction, which was voted among the top five Halloween attractions in the nation by AOL Travel. During his month-long stage show, Sperry entertained numerous celebrity guests including a private performance for his childhood influence, David Copperfield.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, as well as on the "red carpet." He's performed more than 250 performances each year and headlined shows for more than 60,000 people.

Embarking on his first tour, Sperry said: "I'm excited to take on my very first U.S. tour. The response from fans since being on 'America's Got Talent' has been amazing. It's a great thing to be able to do what I love and entertain people at the same time. This new show is going to blow my fans away. It's nothing like they have seen before."

His full show combines illusion and the bizarre with satirical macabre humor. It is non-stop mayhem set to an industrial musical score with razor blades, buzz saws, voo doo, blood and more.

"We've taken Dan's stage show to a whole new level with this tour," said Jason Egan, who often shares the stage with Sperry and is executive producer and manager of Sperry's tour. "This isn't your average magic show. Over the past year we have worked with some of the top illusion builders in the country and have a full-scale production combining magic, special effects and so much more."

-- Includes information from his website at

Sharon Bomstad

Sharon Bomstad is the features editor at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minn., and is the editor of the newspaper's Live it! Magazine. She has been an employee of the West Central Tribune for more than 35 years.

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