Homegrown: He’s a magic man
Published in Sun Sentinel By Beth Feinstein-Bartl, August 25, 2011
It’s been 40 years and Gary Goodman’s childhood promise to pursue a career in magic is going strong.
Even in harsh economic times, when changing jobs has become a national pastime, Goodman continues to be a South Florida fixture with his blend of large-scale illusions, sleight-of-hand and mind-bending mentalist skills.
“I’ve been very lucky,” he said. “I’ve never done anything else.”
Goodman, of Boca Raton, became mesmerized by magic at age 8. The Harry Houdini Magical Hall of Fame was a quick bicycle ride from his home in Niagara Falls, N.Y., he said.
Having a showbiz family (his dad was an orchestra leader and music store owner; mom was singer-dancer) added to the allure of being onstage. Watching his parents perform, Goodman said he quickly became fascinated by the footlights.
At 12, Goodman turned pro, doing parties using grand illusion sets that his dad would build. His fate was set.
The deal was further sealed after moving here in 1980 to attend Florida Atlantic University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and was about to enter law school.
“But I decided to keep doing what I love,” Goodman said. “I love to make people laugh. Magic is a way to make people feel good and, in a sense, make their problems disappear. They enter a wonderful world.”
Audiences are treated to a full production with assistants, props, lighting, sound and costumes for acts that are infused with illusions such as falling snow and Houdini-style escapes.
The business is also a family affair. Jamie Goodman, his wife of 22 years, does marketing, runs the office and occasionally assists onstage. The couple have a son Gable, 14, and daughter Sunny, 6. Gable works as a stage hand.
When he’s not entertaining, Goodman passes along his expertise with an instructional DVD and book.
Fall is shaping up to be a busy time for Goodman. He’ll be returning to do his 14th Annual Spooktacular, Oct. 27-29 at the Willow Theatre in Boca Raton. Tickets arer on sale now.
Goodman is also hitting the big screen. He said he’ll be appearing as a magician in the Adam Sandler comedy, “Jack and Jill,” coming out this November.