Magic Man Rusty

Comedy, Speciality and Non-Traditional Request Info

“As an only child, I found that television became my extended family. I loved the old reruns…Carol Burnett, Jack Benny, The Brady Bunch, I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, Gilligan’s Island, George Burns, Andy Griffith, The Three Stooges. I used to memorize scenes and spend time in my room playing the different characters.” These influences are clearly present in his performances today.  Rusty’s showmanship has been described by film actor Tom Savini as “the physical energy of Jim Carry, the quick wit of Robin Williams, and the dramatic flair of Rod Serling. Seriously, it’s like watching the Marx Brothers host the Twilight Zone.”

Working in an ongoing variety show at Bearcreek Farms Dinner Theatre in Bryant, Indiana. He did several magic-comedy spots during the 90-minute revue between the singers, dancers, live band numbers, and comedy bits.  The audiences were amazed by his magical feats, but—perhaps more importantly—they also liked his onstage personality.  Veteran vaudeville comic Buddy Graf produced the show, and he liked what he saw. “Buddy really took me under his wing. I learned more about performance and working an audience doing cabaret entertainment than anything I’ve done before or since. I guess you could say that Bearcreek Farms is where I went to college. (Laughs) Yes, I got my Masters in entertainment at Vaudeville University from Professor Buddy Graf.”

That experience led to booking agents, other dinner theaters, amusement parks, and tours to casinos, universities, and trade shows. Rusty has also presented thousands of elementary, middle, and high school programs, where he is consistently voted Best Show of the Year.

Rusty’s dynamic show even caught the eye of the U.S. government, and he was asked by the United States Department of Defense twice to take his show on the road to military bases across Europe. Well, as Rusty eventually realized, there aren’t any roads leading to Europe, so instead Rusty took his show to the air. “It may sound like a cliché, but I’ve never been more proud than the two tours I did, entertaining the brave men and women who defend us.”

To date, Rusty has performed in 43 states and 9 countries. He is an “Order of Merlin-Excalibur”  member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians, founded by Harry Houdini. He has even taught Magical Arts at Indiana University and the University of Indianapolis. 

Rusty’s goal continues to be to bridge the gap between magic and mainstream entertainment. “The ability to do a magic trick doesn’t make you a magician, and being a magician certainly doesn’t make you an entertainer.  Entertainment is all about how you make your audience feel.” 

So, is it okay for a performer to wear more than one hat on stage?  “Sometimes, after a show, some audience member will say to me, ‘You should be a comedian’ and I think, ‘Hey, why do I have to be either a comedian or a magician?’ I mean, can’t I be both?”

Indeed, he certainly is.