Magical Mishegas At Southampton Arts Center

One of Allan Kronzek’s posters illustrating “Magical Jews” at his July 22 talk at the Southampton Arts Center. Independent/Courtesy SAC


It’s probably the most famous magicians’ catchphrase — but did you know its origins are Hebraic?

Learn this and much more when Sag Harbor magician and author Allan Zola Kronzek (“Grandpa Magic”) discusses the history of “Magical Jews” at the Southampton Arts Center on Monday, July 22, at 7 PM.

From the 1840s through the 1930s, stage magic was an enormously popular form of mass entertainment. Among its most inspired practitioners were an exceptional number of famed international stars and pioneers of prestidigitation were many people of Jewish origins. Kronzek will offer up an intriguing mix of history and mystery celebrating these iconic performers.

This illustrated talk and performance will focus on the lives of eight unique performers and the impact they had on the culture of their times, and the world of magic.

“The emphasis on Jewish performers is due to two factors. First, I am one,” he joked. “And second, ever since magic became a popular mass entertainment in the 1850s, Jewish performers have been disproportionately represented among the all-time greats, given our small numbers in the general population. This is a curious fact, and one that I’ve been researching for several years.”

Among the oddities explored will be how a Polish immigrant launched a national craze for sawing women in half, how a Renaissance engineer helped shape the art of card magic, and how the son of a rabbi became the most famous, highest-paid entertainer the world.

To get tickets, visit To learn more about Allan Kronzek, visit his website at

[email protected]

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