JOLIET – Every Wednesday night for the past year, Anthony Stockton, now 15, of Joliet, has performed magic – tableside – at the Old Fashioned Pancake House in Joliet.
But this isn’t a cute kid who knows a few card tricks.
This is a young man serious about pursuing a career as a magician.
“I can cut a lady into six pieces if I wanted to,” Anthony said. “I can change a balloon to a dove, make a bird cage disappear and put a lady into a box and make her disappear.”
His bucket list trick? Making a real helicopter appear onstage.
Lest one think he’s overestimating his skills, Anthony’s mother, Kerri Stockton, said Anthony actually is very humble and rarely talks about the awards he’s won in competitions.
“In 2016, he took first place at the Chicago Magic Competition,” Kerri said. “He competed with people twice his age and older, and he was the youngest and the youngest ever to win it, too.”
Where did this love for magic originate?
“My parents bought me a magic kit when I was only 3 years old,” Anthony said. “Ever since then I have dabbled in magic, although I didn’t really get much into it until I was 9. ... I’ve been working as a magician for the last five years.”
For the past three years, Anthony also has attended a one-week magic camp in Pennsylvania. Other than that, he reads as much as he can about magic, in addition to the tricks that come to mind during odd moments, such as when taking a shower.
The few times he’s messed up a trick, he’s either covered it or turned it into a joke, he said.
Anthony said he is prepared for any type of gig, from birthday parties (of which he does many) to a full stage show. He previously has shared the stage with other magicians, but he has yet to host a stage show that’s all his own.
“But I can do a full stage show if I ever got the opportunity to do one,” Anthony said. “I like the concept of being able to interact with the audience and not having to worry about going overtime and running into someone else’s act.”
And preferably a stage with lights and sound; in short, “everything you see on TV,” he said. In the meantime, he also performs at fairs, festivals, nursing homes and magic venues. He’s also filled in for other tableside magicians when they can’t make a gig.
So he really wants to make magic his career?
“It is my career,” Anthony said. “I hope to get it big enough so I can live on my own and pay my bills.”
Why magic?: “I think it’s the mystery behind the way things work...and the awe on people’s faces. I enjoy seeing that.”
David Copperfield: “He’s pretty cool. I haven’t met him yet, but I’d love to one day.”
Words of wisdom: “Keep practicing. Go to the library or buy books from magic stores. Learn it from other people and don’t imitate other magicians; be yourself, and just try to entertain the best you can.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Table-side magic
WHEN: 6 p.m. Wednesdays
WHERE: Old Fashioned Pancake House, 2022 W. Jefferson St., Joliet
INFORMATION: Visit astocktonmagic.com.
• The Harold Martin Stage Award (August 2014)
• The Houdini Club Junior Award of Excellence (2014)
• Second place at Abbott’s Magic Convention Competition. (August 2014)
• Third Place at Ace’s Magic Club Stage Competition. (April 2015)
• Chosen to perform his stage magic for the Society of American Magician’s National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (July 2015)
• First place at Tannen’s Magic Camp Stage Competition (July 2015)
• Second place at Abbott’s Magic Convention Competition. (August 2015)
• The Houdini Club Junior Award of Excellence. (September 2015)
• Abra-corn-Dabra’s Kernels Young Magicians Showcase (May 2016)
• Second place at Tannen’s Magic Camp Stage Competition (July 2016)
• First place at Abbott’s Magic Convention Competition. (August 2017)
• First place at Society Of American Magician’s Chicago magic Competition (September 2016)
• Abra-corn-Dabra’s Kernels Young Magicians Showcase (May 2017)
• Jeff Hepburn Award of Excellency in Magic (May 2017)
• Third place at Tannen’s Magic Camp Close-up Competition (July 2017)