A Magical Life: Suzanne the Magician

Dr. Vail Hour Vail Place

A Magical Life: Suzanne the Magician

Suzanne’s successful career as a magician is no illusion

After starting her career as a computer programmer, a performing artist known professionally as Suzanne the Magician, transformed her life…with magic. Suzanne recently celebrated 33 years as a professional magician, and now says she realizes that “if there is a destiny, I was destined to do this.”

It was puzzles and not magic tricks, which first attracted Suzanne’s attention. “I always loved solving puzzles when I was a kid. I’d get those Mensa books and spend time trying to figure out the puzzles,” she said.

In college, Suzanne was drawn to computer programming (“That’s a puzzle, too, isn’t it?”) but in the mid-1980s, she took an informal magic class for a few months from a local magician. In 1985, her then-boyfriend (now husband) was playing in a band on the weekends, so Suzanne started working magic gigs at two Ground Round restaurants in the Twin Cities.

“I would perform for four hours on Friday night at one location, and four hours on Saturday night at the other,” she said. “Eight hours a week of practice for a magician is a lot, especially for someone just starting out.”

Still working as a computer programmer, Suzanne expanded her schedule to include regular appearances at the American Café, now The Metropolitan. In just a matter of a couple of years, she was in high demand with corporate clients and had accumulated enough regular gigs to quit her day job and do magic fulltime.

Brush with Fame

In 2010, Suzanne was the first woman to be named Close Up Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts. And in 2015, she was selected to appear on the magic competition television program “Penn & Teller: Fool Us.”

On the show, she performed one of her trademark tricks, using two Band-Aids, and by “fooling” the popular magicians, was invited to perform with them several weeks later in Las Vegas. (You can see her TV appearance at suzmagic.com.)

For Suzanne, one of the best parts of the experience was the fact that her son, who is now 28, was there in the audience.

“For me, that magic trick really represents how, as a mom, I was able to use Band-Aids to heal my son when he’d get hurt as he was growing up,” she said. “I wouldn’t have thought of that trick without my son. Band-Aids have always seemed magical to me.”

Around Town

In addition to corporate events and private parties, Suzanne performs weekly at three restaurants in the greater metropolitan area: Birch’s on the Lake in Long Lake on Fridays, Lord Fletcher’s in Spring Park on Saturdays and Rockwoods in Otsego on Mondays.

Once a month, she also participates in “Sunday Night Magic” at Theatre in the Round in Minneapolis. “For the most part, I’m the director and stage manager for the show, but I do occasionally perform,” she said.   Two or three times a year, Suzanne takes her act to Hollywood, where she performs at the famous Magic Castle, which has played host to some of the world’s top magicians since 1963.

“I like performing there. It’s a very intimate room – it only seats about 25 people,” she said.

Suzanne has also started working with young magicians, teaching them the tricks of the trade, at magic conventions across the country.

Magic at Vail Place

Suzanne said she’s eager to serve as the emcee for this year’s Dr. Vail Hour, aptly titled  Do You Believe in Magic and Mental Health? on Thursday, October 25. Dr. Vail Hour is the annual fundraiser breakfast and lunch for Vail Place, a non-profit that provides community mental health services to adults with serious mental illnesses. Dr. Vail Hour features Vail Place members who share real stories of mental health recovery during the performance.

“I’m so interested in the organization – helping people with mental health issues is very important to me,” said Suzanne. “I’m excited to be there!”