Revisit The Magic Show, Stephen Schwartz's Other Huge '70s Hit | Playbill

From the Archives Revisit The Magic Show, Stephen Schwartz's Other Huge '70s Hit The Doug Henning-led musical with a score from the composer of Wicked and Pippin opened May 28, 1974, and ran for 1,920 performances.
Robert Brubach, Louisa Flaningam, Joseph Abaldo, and Christopher Lucas Courtesy of Gifford/Wallace Inc.

Wicked is still going strong, and Godspell and Pippin both received top-notch revivals in recent years. Even the short-lived Working received a West End production and a cast album last year. But there’s one Stephen Schwartz score that hasn’t been heard on a New York City stage since its original, Tony-nominated run: The Magic Show.

Part book musical and part showcase for magician Doug Henning (who earned a Tony Award nomination), The Magic Show was a one-act musical with a score by Schwartz, book by Bob Randall, and direction by Grover Dale that opened at the Cort Theatre May 28, 1974, and ran for 1,920 performances. It also boasts some of Schwartz’s songs most beloved by cabaret and concert performers, including “Lion Tamer” and “West End Avenue,” plus the catchy “Solid Silver Platform Shoes”—which you can watch Carol Burnett and Cher duet on in the video above!

The Magic Show (1974) Kenn Duncan/New York Public Library

In The Magic Show, Henning is brought in to replace an aging magician at a seedy nightclub, shortly before an agent comes to check out rock ‘n’ roll act Donna and Dina. Henning’s assistant, Cal, is in love with him, but as is usually the case, he doesn’t realize his feelings for her until it’s almost too late.

Built around Henning’s illusions (an initial incarnation of the show, called Spellbound, featured a book by David Cronenberg and music by Howard Shore; only Henning’s illusions remained when the show finally opened on Broadway as The Magic Show), a revival is unlikely. But revisit the show in the gallery below! To learn more, visit The Magic Show on the Playbill Vault.

The Magic Show Production Photos

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