Joel Ward dazzles IWU students with his unique marriage of magic and mystery

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Tanya Gupta, Staff Writer

 

On Friday, Jan. 30 at 8:00 p.m., magician Joel Ward took the stage at the Hansen Student Center, hosted by the Wesleyan Office of Student Activities.  Ward is magician, comedian and actor from La Holla, California.

He became a World Champion teen magician at age 15, after placing first at the International Brotherhood of Magicians annual competition. Since then, he has appeared on such shows as Tosh.0 and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and has performed for Johnny Depp and John Mayer, among others.

The Hansen Center was packed for Ward’s performance – somewhere around 150 students came to see his magic.

The magic show seemed to be a refreshing change of pace from the usual Hansen entertainment fare, and the environment was exceptionally energetic.  The magician wasted no time in starting his act, as Ward materialized small white doves from balls of fire.

A blue dove was also materialized, put in a “bird bath” and made into a white dove with the help of some Dove shampoo.

Ward’s act evolved throughout the course of the night, with a mixture of pyrotechnic tricks, elegant close-up magic and the occasional clever joke.

He began by showing the audience a revised version of the first trick he ever learned, in which he cut a rope in half and promptly, magically repaired it.  “I’m gonna start here, and the show will keep getting better and better as the night goes on,” Ward said.

Audience participation was a large component of the show, as nearly every trick involved the crowd in one form or another.  The audience favorite was certainly when Ward asked for a volunteer’s wedding ring and made it disappear, much to the dismay of the volunteer.

Luckily though, Ward donned a chainmail glove, opened a vacuumsealed tube of tennis balls, and proceeded to cut a tennis ball open with a knife.

To the amazement of the audience, out came the ring! As if that weren’t fascinating enough, Ward also made and audience member’s $20 bill appear in the core of an orange.

Mind reading was also a big component.  Ward was able to guess which playing card audience members were thinking of and was even able to get the audience to think of the numbers in his personal phone number.

“Joel Ward is an amazing entertainer. He captivated my attention from the minute he started,” said sophomore Marissa Cozzi. “I think the way he involved audience members on so many of his tricks is what really made the show so enjoyable.”

Ward himself had some great things to say about performing at IWU. “I had a blast performing at IWU! Did you see those epic fog machines? The crew was super professional,” Ward said. “The students were really warm and I had a blast performing for everyone! I hope I get the opportunity to visit the campus again,” he said.

Here’s to hoping his wish comes true!