Tom Pesce, a lifelong resident of Ridgefield, has been fascinated by magic since he was a young boy. By day he is a middle school English teacher but his other career passion is as a magician. He mainly works in the corporate market now but also performs magic at resorts, and theater shows. He launched the first set of shows with Delamar Hotels in February with upcoming dates being announced soon. Talking to Andrea Valluzzo about how magic has shaped his life, Pesce explains how he works to keep audiences surprised.
Andrea Valluzzo: How and when did you get interested in magic?
Tom Pesce: For me, I found the magic the way I think many kids do when they are young: through the gift of a magic set that my sisters and I had. I was probably around 6 years old when we got it. I don’t remember it entirely, but I remember how it captured my imagination. The props, the little instruction booklet, the cover of the box … it was like unlocking a treasure.
AV: When was your first paying job?
TP: I was 12 or 13 when I did my first official paid gig. It was for my now brother-in-law’s niece, Tara’s 6th birthday. She’s somewhere around 30 years old today, so we don’t need to talk about that too much right now, but it was one of the best — and most nerve racking things I had ever done!
AV: Where do your ideas come from?
TP: I get my ideas from everywhere — especially failure. Failing is very important as an entertainer, or for doing anything we want to get better at. Failing is what allows for growth and innovation — if you let it teach you. So many times it’s from failing that a new way to approach a challenge is born, and I am often able to weave that experience into my presentations.
AV: Tell us what you are doing these days.
TP: I’m so thrilled to have partnered with one of the most exclusive hotel groups in the world, the Delamar, to feature the world’s most talented magicians and mentalists in rare intimate settings. The Delamar Southport, Greenwich, and West Hartford will all be hosting intimate parlor shows on Sunday afternoons where guests will be treated to a one-of-a-kind magic experience.
AV: You and your shows have been described as high energy and high octane.
TP: I have a lot of energy and I give that energy to my work. My goal is to make my audience feel that level of excitement and to be a part of it. You never know what’s going to happen in my show, but you can feel when you’re sitting there that this moment right now is unique and something special. If I can create that feeling in my audience, then I am happy. My magic is never just about coming to see me, or watching me doing things that you can’t. It’s about diving into an experience together that you will never forget.
AV: What is your most challenging trick to perform?
TP: Probably impressing my daughters. They are my best critics; especially Katherine, our oldest. She’s 11 years old and besides being a fantastic singer and actor, she is also a magician. If she is impressed with something that I show her, I know it’s going to be a success. And if she isn’t, she usually offers the most honest feedback and advice of anyone I know.
AV: What’s a crowd favorite?
TP: Crowd favorites are generally the things that the crowd doesn’t expect, so I have to keep a bit of that a surprise! But…the art of levitation has always fascinated me, and I think it’s one that elicits the most gasps from the audience. Another highly requested routine is one where I make the CEO of a company the star of the show. She or he soon has the entire audience laughing and clapping along with them for a truly show-stopping moment.
AV: Have YouTube and digital media changed magic?
TP: YouTube has definitely changed the game of magic. There are thousands of videos and YouTube channels that you can go to learn magic from. When I was little, it was pretty much the four to five books on magic that the library had. YouTube and digital/social media have also brought magic to people in new ways. Someone who may otherwise never have heard of me can see my videos online and follow me on Instagram or Twitter ... and they can be a part of the journey.