Kevin Spencer loves what he does. I spoke with him yesterday and he was talking a million miles an hour right out of the gate (good thing my j-school skills taught me how to keep up). Sometimes, interviewees can be nervous, but not Kevin. Good thing, because his job isn’t something that can be done while hiding behind a desk.
“I was 5 years old when I told my mom I wanted to be a magician,” he said, and he hasn’t looked back since. But it isn’t enough to just perform magic, Kevin wanted to add a new element to the time-honored tradition.
“Magic was never presented in a theatrical environment, which is the perfect place for a magician. So we take great magic, wrap it in great theatre and totally engage the audience,” he said. To the Spencers, which is made up of Kevin and his wife Cindy, engaging the audience is more than just asking one or two people to come up on stage.
“There is one trick we perform where we ask everyone in the audience to do something and everyone can leave the show saying that they participated in the show,” he said, adding that when a magician uses people who audience members know, they know that it wasn’t a set up.
But for Spencers, it isn’t just about the tricks. With their Healing of Magic and Hocus Focus programs, they help patients going through physical therapy and those with learning disorders, respectively.
“It’s much easier to engage in therapy when that therapy is fun,” said Kevin. He would know, having gone through therapy himself a few years ago.
“We have 40-50 simple magic tricks that help patients reach specific therapy goals, and they’re done with all the same moves that traditional practices have,” he said. This program has been put in place at over 2500 hospitals and rehab centers, as well as at the University of Alabama where Kevin is an assistant occupational therapy professor.
How many times have you seen a magician who teaches at a university? Come over on Sunday and you can say you have!