To some degree, all magicians have experienced what it is like to be a producer. Whether it’s arranging a magic show at the neighborhood library or producing a promotional video, most can relate to the frustration of turning a vision into reality – the cost, logistics, marketing, funding an audience, etc. What sets Tony Clark’s path to producer apart from others in the field is the variety and scope of what he’s produced. From his earliest showcases on his parent’s front porch in Stamford, CT, to countless instructional videos and manufacturing magical props, to theatrical plays, and "Phantasy" – the longest running show in Lake Tahoe history, Tony was producing credentials that would make even Jerry Bruckheimer envious. His current career path is focusing on more Hollywood-style endeavors – television and film to be specific, while simultaneously producing "Fusion 2" – another Lake Tahoe-based magical success story.
So how did he go from award-winning stage performer to impresario extraordinaire? Well it seems Tony always has had a knack for producing. To date, he (somewhat jokingly) still claims that his biggest profit margin was obtained in the 70’s as a child, when the then young Antonio Gublet, would produce neighborhood shows in Stamford for 10 cents admission (plus added revenue from popcorn and lemonade sales). These early gigs served as great training, and by age 18 Tony was already being recognized internationally for his magical talents. His career was further bolstered in 1986, when he had the honor of studying the art of magic and stage movement with the master of misdirection, Slydini in New York. (He was the last student Slydini mentored before he passed away.) That two-and-a-half year period of study took Tony’s magical abilities to the next level, and set him on a course to becoming one of the most renowned performers and producers in the world of magic.
|Tony’s First Promo|
Although many will remember the 90’s as the decade when Tony emerged as a top dove act, receiving accolades such as SAM’s World-Class Stage Champion and garnering regular contracts in Vegas, Hollywood at The Magic Castle, Europe, Japan, etc., in truth, this was really the timeframe when Tony the producer emerged – both in the worlds of prop manufacturing and show production. In 1990, Joe Steven’s was the first dealer to advertise and sell Tony’s products in his catalogue, literally jump-strating his now immensely-successful prop-producing business and keeping him financially afloat. "As a kid I could never afford to buy props, so I started making my own," said Tony. "I used to hang around Pat Mollo’s magic shop in Stamford, CT, and watch him make his products. That early exposure to the art of prop-making, and Joe Steven’s support of me and my products, literally put food on my table when times were tough. Today Joe is still one of the best promoters of my products."
Tony Promoting Phantasy
By 1992, Tony was producing his first large-scale magical production with Doug Molloi in Japan, entitled "Diversified Deceptions." "During this time I learned that the biggest challenges to producing a show are making the budget work with the show concept and then making the show concept physically work in the theatre. It’s a very painful process at first… kind of like giving birth." Tony’s production prowess really took hold with "Phantasy," his long-running hit show at the Horizon Hotel and Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. When Tony was first approached to do "Phantasy" in 1996 he had an award-winning bird act and some other routines-but not enough materials for an hour plus show. In just a few months time he had to produce a large-scale, Vegas style production complete with dancers, grand illusions, special guest stars, and an intensive marketing campaign. He was now really playing with the big boys. Thanks to extreme hard work and dedication, not only was "Phantasy" a success, but it soon made history being the longest running show in Lake Tahoe, with a four-year run, often to sell out crowds! In short, tenacity was the key ingredient to "Phantasy’s" triumphant stay in Tahoe. Tony and his talented co-collaborators used ingenuity, creativity and plain-old elbow grease to ensure the show would work. Tactics such as handing out $5 off coupons to patrons in the hotel’s buffet line the hour before the show, and providing gratis hand-made promotional table tents for smaller hotels to put in their guest rooms with discount coupon offers (credited to the hotels management to make them look good), are what set "Phantasy" apart from other shows. In addition, Tony made sure there was time to give back to the community. In fact, in 1998 the Lake Tahoe Boys & Girls Club presented him with the Volunteer of the Year Award for his work with underprivileged kids in the community.