OCEAN CITY – A family friendly, Las Vegas-style illusion and escape show will premiere in Ocean City this weekend.
On Saturday, April 20, Extreme Illusions and Escapes, starring Josh and Lea Knotts, will make its debut performance at the Ocean City Performing Arts Center.
Featuring stage illusions, death-defying escapes and an abundance of audience participation, event promoter Todd Ferrante said Extreme Illusions and Escapes is for individuals of all ages.
“Whether you are 3 or 103, you can still enjoy this show,” he said.
Performer Josh Knotts said the show features one of the largest collections of large-scale props in the nation.
“We do an act where I’m hanging upside down from a claw in a straitjacket and I have to escape before the claw closes,” he said. “We also have an act where I vanish from an ejection chair 9 feet in the air.”
Unlike most illusion and escape performances, Knotts said his 90-minute show offers a comedic flair and relies heavily on audience participation.
“We use people from the audience to levitate them in the air and we have individuals get involved with the escapes …,” he said. “This is a good chance for the community to come out and see their friends or other community members star in the show.”
Joining Knotts on stage is his wife, Lea, a trained escape artist.
“One of her best tricks is where we put her in a box and keep folding her up until her head is sticking out of a one-foot cube,” he said.
While it is their first show in Ocean City, Knotts and his wife are no strangers to the industry.
“I’m now in my 16th season performing my illusion and escape show,” he said, “and we perform between 300 and 500 shows annually.”
Josh Knotts is also the recipient of the Merlin Award, the industry’s top honor for those magicians who have achieved the highest level in their craft, both on the national and international stage. Other notable recipients include David Copperfield, Penn & Teller and Criss Angel, to name a few.
“If you came to see the show once, and came a second time, chances are you won’t see the same thing twice …,” Ferrante said. “I think Josh has illusions that other entertainers don’t have, and I’ve seen a lot of them. That’s what makes this special.”
“I think it’s different in the way we perform it …,” he said. “It’s very high energy and the punchline is always based on the participant’s reaction. The fact that I can’t predict what someone is going to do on stage is what makes it fun.”
Ferrante said the show will start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, with doors opening at 3:30. He noted the show will follow an Easter Kids Fun Fair being held at the convention center.
“Because it’s a family oriented weekend, we wanted to bring in family entertainment …,” he said. “They can go to an Easter egg hunt and then walk right over and see the event.”
To purchase tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or the Ocean City Performing Arts Center box office. For more information on Extreme Illusions and Escapes, visit illusionsandescapes.com.
“Everyone should come out,” Ferrante said, “because they can be entertained by something they wouldn’t normally see on any given Saturday in Ocean City.”