Sean Masterson masters 'Timeless Magic'

Magician Sean Masterson visits The Acorn Theater on Friday afternoon.

THREE OAKS, Mich. —Sean Masterson believes some magic is timeless.

Whether it’s using sleight of hand with a deck of cards or doing a classic escape, there’s still something, well, quite magical about the art itself, which is what the Chicago-based magician hopes to prove in his latest show, “Timeless Magic.”

Masterson, who got his start after receiving a deck of Marshall Brodien TV Magic Cards for his 7th birthday, has been performing his up-close and stage magic shows in and around Chicago for more than 25 years.

His latest stage show not only includes his own illusions, but his take on some deceptive and rarely seen 19th century magic effects originally created by Harry Houdini, P.T. Selbit and Alexander Herrmann to name a few.

In a recent phone interview, Masterson, who presents “Timeless Magic” on Friday afternoon in his annual after-Thanksgiving performance at The Acorn Theater, talked about his act. 

Q: I thought we’d start with the act itself. Can you tell me a little bit about what you will be doing for us when you come back to town?

A: Sure. There’s lots of audience participation in this show. I do some sleight-of-hand magic using cards and coins and balls. I also have a couple of puppets that perform magic themselves. There will be a levitation, just not of a person, but I will keep that a little bit secret. I’m going to be doing an escape that Houdini did in the early part of his career, and a magic trick that was invented over 100 years ago by the same guy who invented sawing a woman in half.

Q: That’s cool. What can you tell me about it without giving too much away?

A: He was a British magician whose name was Percy Thomas Tibbles, but his stage name was P.T. Selbit, which is his name spelled backwards. It’s called the bewildering blocks. He uses six solid wooden blocks that all go into this wooden tube, which sounds like a magic trick from 100 years ago, but this one is so beguiling that it is people’s favorite thing in the whole show.

Q: Now, what Houdini escape are you doing?

A: That one uses a single piece of rope that’s 3 feet long, and then a spectator comes up and ties my legs and my wrists together. It usually has a good 10 knots or so, and then I must escape, but I don’t want to give away the end.

Q: I know you started magic as a kid, but what was the catalyst for you?

A: Well, when I was 7 years old, on my birthday, I received a deck of Marshall Brodien TV Magic Cards. He was a Chicago guy who performed at Riverview, which was like a permanent carnival in Chicago. He was a sideshow barker who did magic, and he was sort of a Chicago institution. So that’s where it began. Actually, years later, about 10-15 years ago, I ran into Marshall Brodien at the magic get-together in Colon, Mich. I said, “Hey, when I was 7 years old I got a deck of your magic cards and I became a magician.” And he said, “Let me give you my sincere apologies.”

If you go

Who: Sean Masterson’s Timeless Magic

When: 2 p.m. EST Friday

Where: The Acorn Theater, 107 Generations Drive, Three Oaks, Mich.

How much: $15, $10 for students ages 18 and younger

Contact: 269-756-3879 or

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