I sat down with local magician Peter Wood recently. We talked about his love of magic and his upcoming show in Baltimore
Talk about your childhood, where you grew up, etc
I grew up just outside of Frederick, Maryland. That turned out to be a very frutruois magician to be based because it’s almost equal distance to Baltimore and D.C. I would do local and neighborhood shows, but then realized I could serve both of those markets without a very long drive. I was able to have a presence in the Baltimore and DC areas.
How did you start performing magic?
Like most kids, I was given a toy magic kit when I was around five years old. That got my foot in the door. Once I wanted more tricks that weren’t in the kit, I found out there was a magic shop in Wheaton called Barry’s, which was 45 miles from where we lived. Up until age 10, every six months we’d take a ride up when I collected enough allowance money. I would use that money to buy more tricks. Shortly after my 10th birthday, my mom and I had a talk. She mentioned that people do this for money..she just tossed that out there.
How did you meet your show partner, Willard?
We originally met hanging out at Barry’s Magic Shop. He started a magic theater Willard’s Parlor of Mystery later on, which was in Arlington. He was going for a comedy club of magic, which would include a rotating class of performers. He asked myself and my brother to help him out time to time.
Do you ever get people at your shows that don’t believe in magic?
Oh yeah! We address that pretty squarely. There are two types of people that come to see a magic show: someone who comes to feel like a kid again, and feel something magical. The other is someone who want to know how the world works, and to see if they can figure out what Willard and I are doing. We embrace that and try to pull back the curtain a little bit for the latter group. But we always walk that fine line to keep people disillusioned.
What is your favorite Halloween- themed film and why?
Oh that’s such a great question! Oh man..
I’m a big fan of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” It’s on my shortlist of required viewing around this time of year. There’s just something about the stop motion that makes me feel magical and whimsical. Being a fan of both Halloween and Christmas, it’s cool that you can pick your favorite moments from each holiday from the film. I always wonder when you should actually watch it, Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving..
Are you guys excited for your show here in Baltimore this week?
Very much so! When we started in Baltimore, we weren’t really sure how it would be received and how successful it would be. But we’ve been really happy with the crowds. They’ve been wonderful. Working the hotel has been a joy to work with. We’re starting to really find out stride now. Part of what excites us on a monthly basis, is that we keep adding things to the collection. If you come in October, you’ll see some different things in January or February. It’s not a set in stone, it’s not the same old show.
Willard and Wood’s next show is October 28th at Hyatt Place!
Follow Peter on Twitter