Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimarães may look unsuspecting: two good-looking young guys, hanging out in Los Angeles; Guimarães sporting hipster glasses and DelGaudio spikey dark hair. But don’t be fooled by their nonchalant appearance – these two have more than a few tricks up their sleeves, literally.
Pardon the pun, but DelGaudio and Guimarães are two of the foremost up-and-coming magicians out there. DelGaudio has been practicing his craft around L.A. for years. Portugal native Guimarães was crowned the youngest-ever World Champion of Card Magic in 2006. Inspired by Penn and Teller, but quick to distinguish themselves from anyone who’s come before them, the duo work together equally on stage to create a magic show that focuses on artistry, illusion, and of course – cards.
“We’re magicians with two different focuses,” DelGaudio told EW. “Helder always focuses on the most perfect miracle and I always focus on the most meaningful one.“
In their first ever theater-length show, DelGaudio and Guimarães expanded a 30-minute production they first collaborated on at L.A.’s historic Magic Castle into a 70-minute show – with the help of celebrity director and magic enthusiast Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother). Nothing to Hide opened Tuesday at the Geffen Playhouse, a theater that the magicians noted during the show held about double the biggest audience they’d ever played for.
Harris, who serves as president of the Magic Castle’s Academy of Magical Arts Board of Directors, said he saw the original performance and had to bring it to a bigger stage. “It [the show] was so well received that magicians from all over started flying to L.A. to see it and still talk about it kind of as magic lore – like if you didn’t see it you missed out on something pretty extraordinary,” Harris told EW by phone over Thanksgiving weekend. “I’m excited to be able to showcase, in my opinion, maybe the best bunch of magic around.”
Do two magicians who created their own show still need direction? “It was unique,” DelGaudio, who the show, says of Harris’s guidance. “He was very respectful of the work that he’d already seen and appreciated, and he helped us adapt to the new space and the new environment.”
But what separates Nothing to Hide – and DelGaudio and Guimarães – from your run of the mill pick-a-card, any card-type show, is that it feels grown-up – not like a Vegas bit – and also manages to tell a bit of a story about what this pair feels magic means to today’s world. At one point in the set, Guimarães starts waxing poetic about dreams, only to be interrupted by DelGaudio who faces the audience and explains “This is the kind of quote that appears in every sh–ty magic show.”
These guys are on a different mission – it’s not to prove how cool they are or how fancy a trick they can pull off; they are already cool. Harris says of the show, “It’s not super feats à la David Blaine; it’s just… how to put it? When I saw the show, I wanted them to keep doing magic for hours and I wanted to quickly become best friends with both of them.”
But don’t get the two magicians confused. Guimarães, who only moved to L.A. from Portugal last January after meeting DelGaudio and starting to work together, rolls with the jokes about his accent and acknowledges that they each have distinct approaches to magic. “The fact is that we actually shouldn’t be working together because we can stand on our own,” he said.
Whether you’re a believer or not, DelGaudio explains that their version of magic is less about figuring out how they do it and more about how you feel while you’re watching them. “The show for me is about, instead of trying to force people to believe in magic, is giving them an opportunity to believe in magic. So watching people have that opportunity and struggle with it … for me, that’s the best experience you can have.”
Nothing to Hide is at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles through Jan. 6, 2013.