Magician shares thrill of performing while in Waynesboro
Peter Monticup was 7 years old when he fell in love with magic after meeting a magician and his wife, a ventriloquist, who hired Monticup’s father to repair their TV.
The young Monticup tagged along with his father on the job, and remembers the magician playing a wooden ball trick on him, and the ventriloquist throwing her voice to make it seem like there were people inside the TV clamoring to get out.
Before he knew it, Monticup, who performed Saturday at the Wayne Theatre Alliance’s Gateway in downtown Waynesboro, had found his gift. He was hired to do his first show when he was 12 years old.
“That was a big thrill,” recalled Monticup, who has performed for more than 50 years.
He opened a magic shop in Albany, N.Y., in 1971. In 1994, he moved to Virginia, taking his magic shop with him, and opened a store in Charlottesville called Magic Tricks. In 1996, he shifted his focus to the Internet, creating the online site MagicTricks.com, one of the more visited of magic websites.
“The Internet got so busy, we closed the shop in 2001, and now I operate Magic Tricks online,” he said.
With computers and video games, Monticup said live audiences are not as involved as they once were.
“Years ago, before all that, you went out and saw shows,” he said. “People don’t even know they have to applaud anymore. I don’t think people know what theater etiquette is.”
With a little nudging, though, Monticup can still get the audience involved.
“I get them going and actually start asking for applause,” he said. “Then all of a sudden you see the audience say, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s live.’ And then you got them.”