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‘Magic on Broadway’ Opens off-Broadway

September 30, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ Magician Joseph Gabriel may be lost _ his show ``Magic on Broadway″ is really off-Broadway _ but he isn’t scary.

The evening of prestidigitation opened at the off-Broadway Lamb’s Theater on Sunday. For a viewer whose objection to magic shows is that they’re often scary _ fire erupting, women apparently about to be sawed in half, daggers flying through the air _ Gabriel’s low-tension performance is a pleasure.

His show is modest rather than flamboyant. But it’s entertaining, not boring. And nobody’s life is threatened _ even to be saved by sleight of hand.

A lot of white doves appear in Gabriel’s hands; he gives one to an attendant to carry into the wings and instantly another is flapping its wings in his palm. A white cockatoo and a parrot also appear and disappear.

Gabriel’s repertory of magic includes levitation, the use of colored scarves that sometimes turn into striped ones, a rope he cuts that becomes whole again, appearances and disappearances of women from boxes and from under big cloths.

The magician says he has been performing in Las Vegas for 12 years. That probably is why his evening includes dancing by five women, always appearing in different costumes and moving energetically on the Lamb’s rather small stage. Gabriel also has a spot on the bill for a juggler, Romano Frediani, 22, of London, who exhibited an engaging personality as well as considerable skill.

Frediani threw big silver rings into the audience then had people stand at their seats and try to toss them over his head. Even when there were bad aims toward the stage, the juggler ran like a tennis player to get his head in the right spot.

Gabriel’s wife, Lucy, is his assistant and trains the birds. She also appeared and disappeared _ and appeared again _ on stage.

Gabriel said his finale would be ``the toughest trick in New York.″ A platform with a railing was wheeled out and a big cloth put over it. When the cloth was pulled away, there stood a taxi.

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