When the curtain rose at the Westgate Resort on May 16, Jen Kramer was alone – starring in her one-woman illusion show and alone as the only Las Vegas female magician to currently headline on the Las Vegas Strip. Her journey to the spotlight began at an early age—as many magicians often start—and has been celebrated by her industry and the public alike.
Jen’s first exposure to magic came from her uncle, a magic enthusiast, who gave her some magic books when she was a child. Showcasing her talent, she won first place in the junior close-up competition at Tannen’s Magic Camp. Jen graduated with honors in Theater from Yale University (Class of 2014), where she served as Founder and President of the Yale Magic Society.
A recipient of the prestigious Merlin Award, Jen was named Female Magician of the Year by the International Magicians Society. Among other media appearances, she has been featured on the Penn & Teller: Fool Us and Masters of Illusion television shows on The CW Network.
Her performances are full of comedy, audience participation, and jaw-dropping fun. She turns the impossible into the impossible-to-ignore, wowing audiences with her contagious smile and world-class sleight-of-hand.
Vegas Report: Who were your role models growing up? role models in magic? role models in Las Vegas?
So many! In the magic world, Penn & Teller, Lance Burton, David Copperfield and David Blaine are some magicians I’ve always admired – all so different in style but sharing the ability to really captivate an audience and create in people that powerful sense of wonder. Also, when I was 12 years old, I first met Tom and Janet Verner from an organization called Magicians Without Borders; ever since then, I’ve admired the wonderful work Magicians Without Borders does for people around the world. I was grateful to have the opportunity to perform with them last year in Mumbai and rural Gujarat, India.
Vegas Report: Describe your new Las Vegas show?
It’s a fun and upbeat one-woman show, featuring magic, mentalism, comedy, and audience participation. You’ll see dresses, lipstick, cards, drinks, puzzles, a giant social media page, and other magical surprises on stage!
Vegas Report: Who is your ideal audience?
Anyone who enjoys magic! The show is appropriate for all ages. I love how universal magic is; no matter how old you are, where you’re from, what language you speak or anything else, magic has an amazing way of connecting people. It’s something everyone can enjoy together.
Vegas Report: Do you want to be known as the only Las Vegas female magician on the Strip, or as the newest magician on the Strip, and why?
I’m happy and proud to be a female magician and also want to recognize the terrific female magicians working today, in Vegas and around the world. While it’s a male-dominated field, I see magic heading in a direction where more and more women are getting involved, and I think that’s a wonderful thing. Overall, I’d most like to be known as a magician who works hard, loves what she does, and puts on a show that makes people smile.
Vegas Report: Do you feel it’s necessary to market your show as the only female magician on the strip? And if so, why?
I think marketing is about focusing on the elements that set you apart, whatever they may be. In my case, being a woman in a male-dominated field happens to be one of those elements, so I think it makes sense to incorporate that in the marketing. Magic has been an incredible and meaningful part of my life, and I hope my show can contribute to inspiring more girls and women to develop an interest in magic.
Vegas Report: What’s the biggest accomplishment in your professional career? What’s the one you are most proud of?
I’m most proud of using magic to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Whether doing shows in India through Magicians Without Borders or performing close-up magic for pediatric patients at Sunrise Hospital through Win-Win Entertainment(also see VegasReport Feb 2017) combining magic and charitable work has been incredibly meaningful to me. Also, working with Penn & Teller and their terrific team on the Penn & Teller: Fool Us television show was an amazing experience. My first appearance on the show was on Season 2, doing card magic, and then I performed an act with fellow female magician AmberLynn Walker on the Season 4 finale, where we did magic while hanging upside-down in gravity boots. Penn & Teller created the original act in the 1980s, and we had a blast working with them and their team to develop the version we performed on Fool Us. I’ve admired Penn & Teller since I was a kid, so was very honored and excited to have this opportunity.
Vegas Report: How does being female add to the dynamic of magic and the magical experience for an audience?
I believe diversity in magic (of all kinds – gender, age, nationality, etc.) is valuable because it brings different perspectives to the table. For example, magic has traditionally been created with men’s clothing in mind to accomplish the effects, so being a woman brings opportunities to be creative and develop different ways of presenting magic. Since being a female magician provides a different perspective, this creates a different dynamic and experience for the audience.
Vegas Report: What makes your show different as a Las Vegas female magician from other magic shows?
Being a female magician does create a different dynamic at the show. I incorporate magic with traditionally feminine objects like dresses and lipstick in the performance, fun elements that set the show apart. It’s also a 6:00 pm show and one that everyone in the family can enjoy together. It’s high-energy with lots of audience participation, and I hope people will check it out to experience the show for themselves!
Vegas Report: What kind of advice did other magicians give you as your career was taking form?
I remember hearing Lance Burton’s valuable advice about getting as much “flight time” performing as possible. Since I was a kid, I’ve done my best to perform as much as I could, whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, performing in the waiting room at the doctor or dentist’s office, or doing a regular show as a young teenager at the local Barnes & Noble. That experience performing magic in different situations has been so helpful to me, and to this day, I’m a big believer in the importance of “flight time.”
Vegas Report: What advice would you give up-and-coming performers, more specifically magicians?
Be proactive and persistent. I’d also echo the great advice to do what you love, be kind and work hard – but I think an important factor that can sometimes be overlooked is going out into the world and making things happen. If you want to do something, find a way to do it. It may be really challenging, but rather than hanging back and waiting for things to happen to you, get creative and take actions to make them happen.