On Thursday, Jan. 15th, Broadway Series South will bring internationally renowned master illusionist David Copperfield to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium for two performances of David Copperfield: An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion. There will be one show at 5:30 p.m. and another at 8:30 p.m.

Routinely billed as “The Greatest Illusionist of Our Time,” Copperfield is famous for walking through the Great Wall of China, making the Statue of Liberty disappear, flying during his live performances, and making audience members disappear and then reappear in completely unexpected places. In his highly rated network television specials, critically acclaimed tours, and hit Broadway show, Dreams and Nightmares, he employs old-fashioned magic and sleight-of-hand and new-fangled state-of-the-art technical wizardry to produce an edge-of-your-seat program guaranteed to shock and awe even the most skeptical audience members.

“For magic to be relevant,” claims David Copperfield on his web site (http://www.dcopperfield.com/ [inactive 9/04]), “it has to evolve so it keeps up with, or even surpasses, the best film and theater. I want to base my work on what people really dream about. Most of us don’t dream of pulling a rabbit out of a hat. But what affects people is realizing personal dreams dreams almost everyone shares that they thought were impossible. In the cinema, the audience watches the characters’ dreams come true. In Grand Illusion, the audiences get to watch their dreams come true, live, before their very eyes and in three dimensions. It’s an interactive experience of wish fulfillment. Nothing like it has been done before. Grand Illusion deals with real people who dream of being reunited with a loved one they thought they’d never see again. And making it happen instantly in front of three or four thousand people who witness the event and see that it’s real.”

Copperfield adds, “Grand Illusion was partly inspired by an unfulfilled wish of my grandfather’s that a lot of people share winning the lottery, and finally owning that one special thing you always dreamed of. We call it An ‘Intimate’ Evening of Grand Illusion partly because it’s interactive. In one of the pieces, for example, the audience discovers how to predict lottery numbers that will come up that night. They get to participate in illusions that blur the line between magic and reality.”

Also according to the web site, the show’s highlights include:

Reunion: “In which a member of the audience takes the trip of his or her life. One of the most startling, affecting illusions ever devised, in Reunion a person who has longed for reconciliation with a loved one realizes their dream. While standing on a crane arm with David suspended over the heads of the audience, the person vanishes impossibly, only to reappear moments later in the freely selected location of their dreams. From Hackensack to Honolulu, the person’s ‘dream’ location is where they magically arrive. Reunion is an illusion so challenging Copperfield employs proof that would make Johnny Cochran envious.”

Killer: “In one of the show’s ‘unplugged’ moments of pure sleight-of-hand, Copperfield performs ‘close-up’ magic with a lethal, black African scorpion. In one of the most original, startling and dangerous effects ever, this unforgettable display of sleight-of-hand presents Copperfield with a true challenge to his will and dexterity. A test not to be tried at home. (The Scorpion is repped by Frank Frattaroli of William Morris, and is available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and light film work.”

Shortschange: “Shortschange has Copperfield stepping, hilariously, into the Victoria’s Secret catalogue, a dream of guys across the world. He persuades two (female) volunteers from the audience to lend him a ‘personal item of clothing’ for a magical exchange David never tires of performing. Perhaps most amazing of all: this is an effect suitable for the whole family. No Kidding.”

Squeezebox: “Copperfield takes liposuction to a whole new level as the six foot one King of Magic gets squeezed into a bite-sized piece that could fit into a Prada shoebox.”

The Lottery: “Inspired by David’s grandfather’s unfilled dream, Lottery is an astonishing epic of brain-busters. Copperfield involves the entire audience, and shares his secret technique for predicting the winning numbers of The Lottery.”

Man Versus Steel: “David walked through the Great Wall of China. This time, he will do it a little slower. Instead of walking, he floats through solid steel, proving that dreams can dissolve barriers.”

Thirteen: “One of Copperfield’s most heavily-requested creations. Thirteen audience members chosen entirely at random vanish, leaving friends and family wondering whether to applaud or put their loved ones’ faces on milk cartons. Their fears are allayed as the thirteen reappear, instantly, in the most surprising of places.”

Copperfield’s web site claims, “David Copperfield: An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion is an affecting, life-changing event that reaches into the audiences’ minds and hearts and takes them on a feast of wish fulfillment. Displaying his off-the-cuff brand of humor, Copperfield breaks new ground in Grand Illusion and takes his art to a grand yet intimate, personal yet universal dimension for an evening of wonders you’ll never forget.”

Broadway Series South presents David Copperfield: An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion Thursday, Jan. 15, at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the BTI Center for the Performing Arts, 1 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina. $37.50-$45.50. BTI Box Office: 919/831-6060. Ticketmaster: 919/834-4000 or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/803684. Group Sales: 919/231-4575 or http://www.priorityseating.net/. Broadway Series South: http://www.broadwayseriessouth.com/2003-2004/specials.html#copperfield. David Copperfield: http://www.dcopperfield.com/ [inactive 9/04].