Criss Angel and Franco Dragone are names known for the way they revolutionized entertainment on the Las Vegas strip. They made history again over the weekend, bringing Amystika - The Mindfreak Prequel to a packed audience in Vegas. It was an extraordinary multi-sensory experience that brought the best of Vegas showmanship back to the strip - and promised an ethereal, electric, euphoric experience that it then delivered - in spades, as they say. CELEB chatted with Angel and Dragone as they triumphantly brought their collaboration to the Vegas stage at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino's Criss Angel Theater. Here's a look at the evening.
Amystika Wows Crowds
The evening was more than a spectacle, more than a premiere - it was an experience. In a statement, the Amystika team describes the evening as a performance that, "unleashes a visual feast of hope and triumph -- proving that anything is possible when you believe in your dreams. This euphoric, enigmatic world pushes the boundaries of reality like never before as a real firestorm ignites and engulfs a human body, a tornado rages through the theater and a blizzard of snow falls so heavy it challenges the audience to see their own hands."
Friends and celebrities who attended the premiere were numerous, and included:
- Mark Davis, owner and managing partner of the Las Vegas Raiders
- Flavor Flav, world-famous, Rock N Roll Hall of Fame rapper and reality star
- Eric Singer, drummer for KISS
- Tommy Thayer, lead guitarist for KISS
- Anthony Pettis, MMA fighter and former UFC Lightweight Champion
- AJ Mclean, singer of Backstreet Boys
- FOODGOD, social media star
- Stephen Pearcy, founder and singer of RATT
- Omar Sanham, pro basketball player
- Carrot Top, stand-up comedian
- Plus many more.
With an audience like that, it would normally be hard to know where to look - the audience or the stage. However, with Amystika, it's impossible to look away.
It was an extraordinary collaboration between Angel - the artist behind MINDFREAK, RAW and "The Supernaturalist," and Dragone - creative mind behind Mystère, “O” and Celine Dion’s “A New Day."
Criss and Franco Talk 'Innovation' with CELEB
CELEB had a chance to catch up with the duo the night of the premiere, talking about innovation and the wonder that is the Amystika show.
When asked about innovation in Amystika, Dragone responded, "Innovation is a word that is used very often after the innovation is already somewhere else. We are always behind the new things." Dragone explains that they are not calculating by what will be the most innovative, and that in order to ground himself when he's lost in front of a stage, he goes back to his experience at theater school. Dragone continues, "Because in the theater process is where you find solution and innovation. When I'm lost and I don't know what the best thing to do is, I go inside of me - or inside of [Criss]. And I try to find specificity. Innovation means being specific."
Angel adds, "I think to Franco's point, to create theater is to create emotion. And you have tools in order to create that engagement with the audience. Those tools happen to be over 2,000 lights, over 31 different flame effects, half a billion pixels of video, 165 speakers of surround sound and probably the most sophisticated theater without question not only in Vegas, probably the world. So we started off with all of the latest greatest technologies to innovate an experience that is truly immersive, truly one of a kind, and something that I believe will define how people will experience theater." The artist and father of two continues, "But it all starts from the emotional connection and the intent of what we're trying to create in our tableaus and how we are trying to engage the public with that emotion."
Dragone adds, "How to trigger the imagination of the audience. There is a friend of mine that said, 'the most visual media is the radio.' Because when you listen to radio you are with yourself in your imagination. What's been challenging is to do a show with the same." Amystika and MINDFREAK share some similarities, but they are very different shows, Angel explains. "Even though they have connective tissue they are completely difference experiences. Mindfreak is a concert, but this is a theatrical immersive experience. It's not a show, it's an experience."
Both Dragone and Angel are legends for how they present entertainment to audiences, in Vegas and around the world. The collaboration for Amystika means that they're creating something from the best of what is - to make the best of what will be. The duo explains how they worked 18 and 20 hour days to bring this together, not taking a single audience for granted because the audience will never again be the same - it's always different. Every performance has to be the best, so every audience member gets the best of what they have to offer.
And doing so has come with a lot of dedication and hours spent. Angel explains, "I'll be doing about oh - almost 500 shows a year by the time you take my touring and these two shows into account. I am so excited about this. I Dreamt in the 80s to meet this man, and work with this man. And to have this opportunity with such an incredible cast, and to be able to perform in a show that we created together. We did this all out of love and passion. It's like a baby that's born, this is our new baby. And it is born out of love, passion and respect, and wanting to put something into the world that would give people hope and instill the values that we feel are important to live your dream."
Angel continues, "We're all on this Earth and one thing COVID has proven to us is we can never take a moment for granted. We don't know how many moments we're going to have. I have a son who battled pediatric cancer, and it underscored that more than anything else. And then COVID happened. So we must value every moment and what we put out there. It's made me grow as an artist and as a person, and this show really embodies everything that I believe we are today and the best of our abilities to provide."
Angel concludes, "As Franco says, if there were more artists in the world, we wouldn't have what's going on in Russia and Ukraine. We need to have that love and positivity in the world. And let's start here, in the entertainment capital of the world."
It's clear that both men - top of the industry and true artists at their crafts - are thrilled to be working together, and believe wholeheartedly that the passion they brought to the stage will sweep the audiences up with it. For more information on Amystika or to plan your evening, visit CrissAngel.com.
Criss Angel Releases a Documentary About his Son's Battle with Leukemia
Although everything is coming up roses for Angel now after so many months of hard work, very recently his family battled dark times. Earlier this year, the artist and illusionist released a documentary that followed his family as they battled a Leukemia diagnosis for son Johnny Chrisstopher.
The documentary was released in celebration as Angel shared the news that his son was declared cancer free. CELEB took a look at the documentary when it was released; "The 54-year-old magician and illusionist announced on Monday that his 7-year-old son, who has been battling Leukemia, was officially in remission and rang the bell at the hospital declaring victory. Angel marked Johnny’s incredible milestone by releasing a documentary titled 1095 – which is the number of days his son was in treatment. The documentary is a soulful and emotional journey through what it’s like to watch your child battle cancer – and what other families are going through right now."
It's a heartfelt and touching look at the experience of pediatric cancer, and the juxtaposition of two such extraordinary life events brings that much more depth to Angel. When going to see Amystika and experience the passion, multi-sensory aspects and feel the story in your soul - you know it's coming from an artist with a heart of gold who recently overcame great struggles to take the stage for this new performance piece. To purchase tickets and feel the experience that is Amystika, visit this website.