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Peter Samelson LIVE: Small Changes make a Big Difference (Penguin LIVE)

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“Peter Samelson in my mind is exactly what all magicians should strive to be. He is clever, inventive and has a keen sense of how to make an audience care. I am proud to call him a personal inspiration and a friend. No matter who you are, you will benefit from listening to him.” -Kevin James

"I've had the pleasure of producing several projects with Peter Samelson and have seen him perform his signature routines at least a dozen times in studio and in front of live audiences and his performances always move me - and I can't tell you the last time any magic performance or performer has ever done that." -Bill Abbott

"Peter raises our art form to new levels. He has an incredible ability to not only leave his audiences in awe, but to emotionally connect with them in ways I never knew were possible." -Michael "Six" Muldoon

“Peter Samelson understands how to amaze. His depth of thought and attention to detail are blended with beauty and whimsy -- a great combination!” -Max Maven

“Peter Samelson is giving an online lecture? I’m THERE! Peter is a master of good magical construction. His sense of theatricality, scripting, and fine-tuning every important detail makes for some strong, memorable magic. Don’t watch this unless you really want to make your magic better.” -Francis Menotti

“The first time I saw Peter Samelson I was blown away at how different he was than any other magician I had seen. He spoke well. He treated the audience with respect. He stood up! At the time EVERYONE was tossing things in their laps. In other words… he was way ahead of his time. Watching Peter CHANGED what I thought of performing and helped shape me into whatever I am today. Thank you, Peter.” -Chris Kenner

“When a magician claims to do ‘theatrical magic’ it often means amateur acting, hackneyed storytelling and badly diluted magic overshadowed by the lame attempt at theater. Peter Samelson does sophisticated, intelligent theatrical magic where the mystery is kept in focus, and the theatrical elements add emotion and relevance rather than detract from the magic. Listen to this man. He knows things.” -Eric Mead

“Peter is one of the hardest working magicians I know, he is never afraid of stepping out of his comfort zone and trying something completely new and perfecting it for as long as it takes.” -Asi Wind

What will he teach?

Everything in Theatrical Close-Up will be performed and most of it explained. All the presentations will be discussed… including:

Cigarette and Thimble

Mat and Thimble

Sponge Ball Snacks

In the Hand-Off
Shoelace with spectator’s ring

Mimetic Slo-Mo
A slow motion coin vanish

Ring of Truth
Ring and rope routine

New York Transpo
Spectator’s selected card ends up as the only blue-backed card in a red-backed deck. This signed red-backed card changes places with the performers signed card while both are under the performer’s hands. The performer’s and spectator’s signatures switch places on the selected cards .

There will also be work on a Ring Flite ending to the two previous Ring & Rope routines with a segment on how to handle and use the Richard Sanders AnyRing, and an ending using the Nick Einhorn Nest of Wallets for two different situations – walk around and formal…

Also, there will be performance and teaching of the Larry Jennings Cup Routine and Slydini’s Coins Through Table to talk about emotional justification…

Peter will explain some theatrical techniques and scripting concepts supported by performances of Body Snatchers, and his presentations of the Gypsy Thread and Snowstorm routines.

And, perhaps, we'll convince him to perform Smoke – his magnificent routine (set to music) with coins, smoke, and a wine glass.

Plus, there are certain to be some other surprises!

Who is he?

Christened the "soft-spoken conceptualist of sorcery" by the New York Times, Peter Samelson has performed atop the Great Wall of China, in the jungles of Bali and the universities of Tokyo. He has performed for Mexican peasants and Grand Prix race car drivers on the World Cruise of the Queen Elizabeth II.

He has entertained Princess Stephanie of Monaco, the jet-set of Paris and the fishermen mending their nets on the beaches of Cartagena. From Kenya to the Magic Castle, from television to trade shows, college campuses to commercials, the New York stage, night clubs and celebrity events, Peter Samelson has distinguished himself not only as a magician, but as an artist.

Peter performs and lectures at colleges, universities, and Theater and Performing Arts festivals. Peter has staged two one-man Off-Broadway shows; "The Magician" and "PaperWork." He also performs and designs for television, film and theater including: "What About Bob," "Whispers in the Dark," for Kraft Salad Dressing, host on a syndicated 13 part series on Magic, CNN's "Sonya Live!", Mabou Mines, The Bermuda Theater Festival, the new musical "Houdini" and the PBS Special, "The Art of Magic."

If you could ask ONE question to one of the world's most creative professional magicians, what would it be?

If you've never been to a magic lecture, there’s never been a better time. Sunday March 9th at 7:00pm, we're live-streaming Peter Samelson LIVE in a spectacular 2-hour interactive online lecture. Watch, ask questions and learn things you won't find in any book or DVD.

Want VIP access to EVERY FUTURE Penguin LIVE we film? Check out the new Penguin LIVE: All Access Pass!


  1. Purchase the Peter Samelson LIVE “product”. This is your ticket.
  2. On Sunday March 9th, anytime before 7:00pm Eastern, click the “MyPenguinMagic” area at the top of the Penguin site. You'’ll see the livestream appear 1 hour before showtime. At 7pm sharp, Peter will hit the stage and begin his JAM-PACKED professional lecture.
  3. Sit back and watch over 2 hours of DVD-quality live streaming magic from the comfort of your own home.
  4. Ask Peter questions and discuss the tricks DURING the lecture.


Reserve your seat anyway. Within 24 hours of ending, you’ll be able to download and/or watch the full lecture on-demand, and go over all the great routines and subtleties as many times as you want. It’ll be waiting for you in your “MyPenguinMagic” area.

Magicians flock to see “workers” give talks. Why? Because these guys see and learn things that you won’t find in any book or DVD. Yes, you'll be learning some incredibly powerful A-material, but the INVALUABLE stuff will be the insight you learn along the way.

This lecture is for everyone, from the beginner to the professional and for magicians and mentalists alike. Don’t miss it!

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One of Penguin's BEST lectures! Report this review
Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on March 9th, 2014
Peter Samelson brought his "A" game and tipped the real work on magic you WILL use!

Anytime and actual full time, working Professional shares his secrets of connecting with an audience, you will become a better performer yourself. That's exactly what happens with these lectures when you incorporate not just the tricks, but the thinking behind presenting magic, whether one on one, street, strolling or on stage.

HIGHLY recommended!
4 of 4 magicians found this helpful.
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Phenomenal lecture! Report this review
Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on June 25th, 2020
I believe he needs no introduction. What? You don’t know him?

He is one of the busy and seasoned professional magicians from New York City for the last 35 years. He performs his unique brand of magic around the world and appears many theater festivals and national TV shows. He is one of the producers at Monday Night Magic in New York City—New York's longest-running magic show. He was one of the first to use the word "Theatrical" for contemporary magic Many noted magicians have praised his book “Theatrical Close-up (Edited by Jamy Ian Swiss, Published by Mike Caveney’s Magic Words [The Magical Publications], 1984) as one of the important books in magic and it became one of the really hard to find books. According to The New York Times, he is a “soft-spoken conceptualist of sorcery.”

You also have to read a wonderful essay about him by Jamy Ian Swiss.

I sometimes feel many magicians misunderstand “Theatrical Magic” (In fact, even one of the very famous comedy magicians from England said to him “Oh, you’re that artsy-fartsy guy.")
This word often means a boring magic act, sugar-coated with amateurish acting and poor, old-fashioned storytelling. I can never hear a performer’s “voice” from these performances.

He has written and starred in 2 off-Broadway shows in New York City and worked for many theaters and movies as a consultant. Yes, he knows a real thing about theater. Once you watch his variation of “Snowstorm” or “Lady Fair and Mr. Smooth (Google it and watch on YouTube)”, you’ll understand what I mean. His performance is a great example of “Theatrical Magic.”

At the beginning of this 4 hours lecture, he sets the goal of this lecture. He said he will teach 2 important concepts in magic. The first one is “Small Changes Make a Big Difference”, the second one is “Creating A Context.”

This is the great lesson for “Use your head” that Dai Vernon said time to time again. He teaches “How to use our head in detail” with some wonderful examples including his beautiful coin piece “Mimetic Slo-Mo Show’n Vanish.” These concepts are great for close-up magic as well as stage magic. He also adopted these concepts for classic Tony Slydini’s “Coin Through Table” and Larry Jennings’ “Chop Cup.” You’ll be amazed by the results of him. Don’t miss his “Special Effect” for movie and theater. It looks so amazing.
In other words, he teaches “How to grow up in the magic.” Because we have to grow up as a “Magician” in real terms, for the real world—not just as a "Magic Guy."

He teaches many his classics from his book like “Cigarette and Thimble”, “Sponge Ball Snacks”, “Ring of Truth (One of great Ring and Rope routine, I believe), and “New York Transpo” in detail.

Whenever I’m studying magic with seasoned professionals, I’m always impressed by their attitude toward magic. They NEVER stop thinking about their works. They always keep improving and polishing their works. This “New York Transpo” is a great example. Since he created this amazing variation of “Chicago Opener” in 1974, his original handling still works well. 3 powerful climax jam-packed in this 3 minutes routine. I still love to perform this original routine since I was a high teen. But he’s still working on this routine and his improved handling pushes this routine to the max! If you already know his original routine, you’ll be amazed by his cleanest handling. Now, I’m switching to new improved handling. It’s worth the price of the lecture.

And don’t miss his talk about “Why, What, Who” and “3 types of Justification.” If you always think about your performance with these 2 topics, you’ll become a wonderful magician (at least, you can become a better magician than now.)

He also teaches his new works. One is “Small Change Prediction.” This is an amazing new concept of mentalism. You can use this concept from close-up to stage performance and looks fair. Collected coins from the audience are put in a Starbucks paper cup. They are shaken and mixed and a random selection is dumped out into one spectator’s cupped hands. Coins are hidden from sight, but the performer can tell with certainty both the total of the value of the coins being held and what the individual coins are. I believe this concept opens up new opportunities.

The other is “Ring to Wallet.” This is a really practical, powerful routine that can be used in any situation and great climax for any “Finger Ring and Rope” routine. His tips for vanishing ring with a handkerchief was marvelous.

“Heartstrings (His beautiful handling for Gypsy Thread)” is a thing of beauty. A great presentation and wonderful handling weave into a masterpiece. There are many great works by Gaetan Bloom, Richard Hatch, Eugene Burger, Javi Benitez, Max Londono, Gene Anderson, etc., but his handling is as good as these masterful routines.

Nonetheless, that is not by far! You also can enjoy his beautiful performance— “The Smoke”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, and “Snowstorm.”

His Q and A session with lecture host, Dan Harlan also gives us so much food for thought (Especially, talk about production value on theatre is a really interesting one for me.)

I’m very satisfied with his lecture. Once we return to a normal and safe life, I highly recommended attending his live lecture when he visits near you. One day, I want to attend his 2 days workshop! 

This is the lecture where we can learn real things from a real professional. Whenever I read or study professional work (like this lecture DVD) from a real professional, I always straighten my back and study everything carefully.

The camera work is well done and his explanation also really clear, so you can learn everything from this lecture (For further study, I also highly recommended reading Genii magazine June 1995 and September 2014 issues. You can enjoy his interviews and essays.)

$30 is a bargain price, I believe. I highly recommended for every serious student of magic who wants to become a better magician. Before his big book release, we will be busy studying this lecture DVD.
3 of 3 magicians found this helpful.
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Great lecture for real workers of magic. Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on March 10th, 2014
If you perform effects with rings, rope, cards, coins, flowers, imps, coins again because there is a lot of great work with coins, thimbles, cups, handkerchiefs, cigarettes, or you want to consult on theatre or movies, and you are or want to be working for real audiences and getting paid...Watch this lecture. The title truly says it all. Peter shares his personal effects, his take on classics, and in each he shows the little changes he makes that make them more magical, that justify all the moves, and that entertain.

This lecture is chock full of great ideas and little moments to add to anyone's work. I have taken away many subtitles that I know I will use, and I usually perform mentalism. Peters material is tried true and tested on literally thousands of audiences. And he even shares some new thinking for a mental piece that he is still working out.

Also, Peter performs his classic work from Theatrical Close Up as well as sharing the rebirth of "Smoke" which is a beautiful routine with coins, smoke and a glass that he hasn't shared for a very long time. Peter ends the lecture with a performance of his classic snowstorm (the one that inspired most snowstorms performed today). Go watch it, you will earn something...
3 of 3 magicians found this helpful.
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Really good! Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on November 21st, 2016
I really like this lecture. Peter has some really good stuff on here. Well worth the money.
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
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Small Changes Theory! Report this review
Verified buyer Pro Privacy ON (login to see reviewer names) on May 31st, 2014
not mind-blowing magic in here, but Peter's theory of Small Changes is OUTSTANDING, it worth the price.
1 of 1 magicians found this helpful.
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