BWW Interview: Magician Helder Guimarães Storytelling With His Magic Right Before Your Eyes

BWW Interview: Magician Helder Guimarães Storytelling With His Magic Right Before Your Eyes

The world premiere of world-renown magician Helder Guimarães' INVISIBLE TANGO has already begun previews at The Geffen Playhouse. A World Champion of Magic (among other titles), Helder has enlisted the directing talents of Frank Marshall and the musicality of Moby for his TANGO of storytelling and sleight-of-hand. Helder agreed to reveal some secrets of his magic success. (No, he didn't, but I was just hoping he would!)

Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Helder!

What cosmic forces brought you and Moby together for INVISIBLE TANGO?

Frank Marshall suggested Moby, and I thought it could be a great fit. Moby loves magic, and immediately said he was interested in being part of this ride - with one condition: he didn't want to know the secrets behind the magic. It was at that moment I knew he was perfect for this show.

How did Frank Marshall become involved to direct INVISIBLE TANGO?

BWW Interview: Magician Helder Guimarães Storytelling With His Magic Right Before Your EyesWe met through a common friend. Frank loves magic and storytelling, and when I described the concept for the show, he said he would like to be involved. We then started meeting and talking in more detail about how we would collaborate on the project. At the time, the Geffen had already shown interest in having me back, so we met with Executive Director Gil Cates, Jr. and Artistic Director Matt Shakman to pitch our vision for the show.

This isn't your first dance with the Geffen. You performed at the Geffen in NOTHING TO HIDE in 2012-13, directed by Neil Patrick Harris. You must have liked the Geffen enough to return to its stages. What were some of the highlights of NOTHING TO HIDE you remember?

My favorite moments from NOTHING TO HIDE were the ones I shared with the audience. In that show, there was a moment where a box was given to an audience member for them to hide outside. Later, the patron would be brought back in, and what they had hidden would be altered. We never knew what would happen in that moment, and that was part of the fun. One time, the box was hidden so well, it couldn't be found! We took the entire audience out to the patio and watched as the stage manager climbed into the fountain where the box had been hidden. It was completely impromptu and the entire audience got to experience it. It was magical.

BWW Interview: Magician Helder Guimarães Storytelling With His Magic Right Before Your EyesWhat is the significance behind your title INVISIBLE TANGO?

Well, you'll have to see the show. No spoilers.

What can Geffen audiences expect to experience in INVISIBLE TANGO? (sleight of hand? close-up tricks? disappearing airplane?)

Sleight-of-hand magic and genuine storytelling. That's been my style for the past decade and, for now, I plan to continue in that vein - developing unique performance pieces that illustrate compelling stories.

When did you realize you wanted to make magic your career?

I was probably 12 when I thought about it for the first time, but I kept it to myself for years because I thought it was an unrealistic goal. Having been born in Portugal, I was never really exposed to a good example of magic as a viable career path - there were no real role models in the genre. At 18, I made the decision to study theater in college as way to further develop my performance ideas for magic. It was then I really started to focus my energies on making a career out of my life's passion.

BWW Interview: Magician Helder Guimarães Storytelling With His Magic Right Before Your EyesWho was the first magician that ever wowed you?

It's hard to say, but I think the first magician to really wow me was my father, who was teaching me magic ? and had me performing ? when I was just four years old. When I turned 12, I saw one of my idols, Juan Tamariz, perform for about an hour with just a deck of cards. I was mesmerized. It was such a magical and memorable experience. It changed my life's path.

What were your parents' initial reactions to your magic ambitions?

They have both always been around magic and love it. When I first told them I wanted to be a magician, their initial reaction was one of concern - would I be able to make a living out of it? When they realized I was serious and this was my passion, they were incredibly supportive about me following my dream.

You're played in venues all around the world. Which city's audience was the hardest to win over? Which was the most easiest to mesmerize?

BWW Interview: Magician Helder Guimarães Storytelling With His Magic Right Before Your EyesI love performing and creating an intimate experience for an audience. The country or city I'm performing in doesn't make a difference, honestly. Of course, there are cultural differences, but it's the nature of the performance and the venue that impact the audience's perception of what they're experiencing. If all the puzzle pieces fall into place, cultural differences don't really matter.

Wikipedia lists your occupations as magician and illusionist. Can you explain to the uninitiated the difference between a magician and an illusionist?

I consider myself a magician. However, I use illusions to communicate and interact with an audience. My ultimate goal is for them to experience ? and believe in ? magic, pure and simple, for the duration of the performance.

BWW Interview: Magician Helder Guimarães Storytelling With His Magic Right Before Your EyesHow do you consult on movies and train actresses (i.e.; Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett in Ocean's 8) without giving away your magic secrets?

Who said I never give away my secrets? Seriously, though, I absolutely had to share certain concepts and techniques behind the illusions I was teaching. It's part of my role as a consultant, and I know the knowledge shared was for a good cause. I have always said, "I believe we are defined by the secrets we keep and by the secrets we share." I like to share secrets if there are good reasons to do so.

What's in the immediate future for Helder Guimarães?

Getting up on stage and performing INVISIBLE TANGO! For me, there is nothing more beautiful than sharing my passion with an audience that chooses to spend their time with me experiencing magic and storytelling.

Thank you again, Helder! I look forward to being wowed with your TANGO!

For ticket availability and show schedule through June 30, 2019; log onto

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories   Shows

From This Author Gil Kaan

Before you go...

Never Miss a Story
Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram instagram