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Sep 25, 2006 - Darren Romeo, The Voice of Magic, a rising star at Reno's Eldorado Hotel
By Jack Neal
"The Voice of Magic," starring singer-magician Darren Romeo, opened its second stand (Romeo was here a year ago) at the luxurious Eldorado Hotel Casino Showroom last week (9/13/06).
This up-and-coming star is a formidable talent, both in singing and magic, and an engaging, highly entertaining performer. Like most entertainers who want to make it big, Romeo's persona is at times somewhat overbearing. His penchant for including exiting audience members in his dialogue in a "why are you leaving" way (no matter how much they might deserve it, nor no matter how good-naturedly done) when the reasons for leaving might deal with health or emergency, can backfire on a show. My advice? Don't do it.
Presented by Siegfried and Roy of Las Vegas fame, it's clear that Romeo has their backing because he's multi-talented. They are absolutely right. With the right honing (pacing and costuming, especially), Darren Romeo has all the gifts an entertainer needs. He's good looking, moves well, executes illusions of magic with flawless timing, sings splendidly, does a host of top-notch singing impressions, and has a beautifully produced show.
The show, just 15 minutes short of two hours, is too long, but judicious trimming can take care of that. The problem is, what to take out? It's all great stuff. But if he doesn't want to wind up actually sounding like Louie Armstrong, "Wonderful World" being one of his impressions, he's going to have to take better care of his voice by singing and talking less.
"The Voice of Magic" is too heavy for one performer to sustain night after night without sustaining permanent vocal damage sooner rather than later.
There were signs when I saw the show just after it opened, that his voice - in Reno's high, dry climate - was already showing strain. Unfortunately, the loud and murky amplification doesn't cover the problem, it only makes it more noticeable.
But the show as it is is quite wonderful and is strongly recommended. His singing of "The Music of the Night" from "The Phantom of the Opera," interwoven as all his singing is with magic, is magical. Romeo is assisted by his gorgeous cohort in magic, song and dance, Kristy Michelsen, who makes Romeo's illusions of the night even more memorable.
The great coup of the production is the floating light bulb illusion invented by the late, great magician Harry Blackstone, Jr. It's been passed on to Darren Romeo by Blackstone's widow as a passing-of-the-torch-of-magic tribute to an up-and-coming star. The video presentation to Romeo by Mrs. Blackstone and the staging of the illusion itself is the kind of poignant show-business moment money can't buy and the icing on the cake for a very special evening of song and magic with America's new star of music and magic, Darren Romeo.
"Darren Romeo, The Voice of Magic," can be seen at the Eldorado Hotel Casino, 345 North Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada, Tuesdays through Sundays at 7 p.m. with an additional show Saturdays at 9:30 p.m. Through the middle of November. For information call 775-786-5700 or 800-648-5966.
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