French illusionist Xavier Mortimer has taken another big step in Las Vegas. After arriving in the Entertainment Capital of the World to perform in Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE production, the multitalented entertainer struck out on his own, opening a solo show at Planet Hollywood then moving to Bally’s while creating his own whimsical, musical brand of magic. During his time away from the stage in 2020, Mortimer expanded his online following with a series of slickly produced videos showing off new tricks and stunts, and now he’s taking that fresh approach to the Vegas stage once again in his new Dream Maker show at The STRAT, a bigger and more dynamic setting for his magical mission.
Were you planning to find a new home on the Strip before the pandemic?
We always wanted to make the show grow and I always had things I couldn’t perform in a smaller room, but you always have to start small and make your way. I’d been doing that for four or five years and then the pandemic hits and we closed, but I also got a lot of hits on social media, which made us think that might be the momentum we were waiting for.
You’re in a much larger theater at The STRAT but you’re also collaborating with SPI Entertainment, which has produced several successful shows in Las Vegas.
It’s amazing that they jumped in and offered this to us. Before, my (partner) Alex Goude was producing the show and making sure tickets were selling and I was putting the magic out there and going to see the right people, and now we have this extra strength behind us. I’m really looking forward to working with them.
Plenty of magicians and entertainers posted some new online content during the shutdown, but what you did was next level. You have 10 million followers and billions of views on your magic videos.
I believe social media is the next step for everything that is reality, and by reality, I mean us magicians and performers who belong to that world of unscripted shows. It’s just a great way to put magic out there. The big switch for me was I did something no one has attempted before: I produced a grand illusion for a three-minute video. No magician would ever do that because you think, I’m going to spend $5,000 for a video on Facebook that maybe 100 people will see? No. But I had building a (presence online) and thought, maybe this is the moment I should really invest and make these videos a little more produced. There’s luck involved, of course, but we found something and decided to keep moving. Having the show here is great and I’m a performer at heart, this is what I’ve been doing since I was a kid. But when I do videos, I dive into it for a week or two or maybe a month and there’s so much creativity. I like the process. It’s like, let’s create more magic, put it out there, this one is done and now let’s do the next one.
And you have taken some of those really popular video tricks and translated them into your stage show.
There are two of those. But onstage you have to have a different take. When filming, sometimes we stop the trick to show that we’re laughing, to show that we’re just friends playing around, and that’s the right kind of mood. Onstage is a different feeling because you have an audience in front of you and every step is different. We’ve been working on adapting it so there’s that same magical feeling while finding the best way to make it work.
You opened the same week two shows from Cirque du Soleil, your former company, returned to the Vegas stage. How does it feel to be part of this next wave of live entertainment welcoming audiences back to Las Vegas?
I’m just excited. It’s been a tough time and now I feel everyone is just so excited to go see live performances. I love doing those videos and stuff, but being live with an audience, gathering people together, making people smile, it’s something I was missing. It feels now like you have to think different and be different after (the pandemic), and maybe something different comes out of you because of that change and because you have to adapt.
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