A Webster freshman impresses his peers with magic.
Written by Natalie Martinez
Many magicians hide behind smoke and mirrors. Others perform daring stunts on the street. Freshman Marcus Neil Miller, however, performs his sleight of hand to break the ice when meeting new people.
“Do me a solid and hold this deck of cards for me. Place one hand on top of the deck and the other on the bottom,” Miller said to Webster University junior Alyssa Hegwood.
“Press down on the deck as hard as you can,” Miller said. “Can you still feel the deck of cards?”
With a look of confusion Hegwood shook her head. Miller asked her if she was sure. Like that, the deck of cards had disappeared. Hegwood’s jaw dropped as she glanced at his hands that contained a glass brick in place of the deck of cards.
Hegwood was one of the orientation leaders who witnessed many of Miller’s magic tricks during this year’s new student orientation. On Miller’s first day of orientation, he immediately made an impression on the staff with magic tricks. Groups of students surrounded Miller at lunch or in passing. Many were entertained, and some even cried from amazement. Soon after, he was hired by the First-Year Experience Program department to perform during orientation.
“It’s just plain fun. Magic makes the impossible, possible and the unimaginable, imaginable,” Miller said.
Miller was born on George Washington’s inauguration and Adolf Hitler’s suicide death: two facts that he enjoys mentioning. Miller is a musical theatre major at Webster who comes from Wiley, Texas. He carries six decks of cards on him and a few aces in his wallet.
Miller, now 18, was first introduced to magic when he was 11 years old. His mother, Annie Hall, attended a magic show in Las Vegas and bought Miller his very first Lance Burton magic kit. Miller said magic became an outlet for his acting.
“I think the reason I love it so much is because it shows such similarity with acting,” Miller said. “You have to act whenever you are a magician but a magician doesn’t necessarily have to act.”
Miller has also been invited to several performances and birthday parties. Miller said his grandfather was a Bavarian magician and did tricks such as catching bullets with his teeth.
“His grandfather would build boxes for some of Marcus’s tricks,” Hall said. “Magic was something Marcus and his grandfather really connected with.”
Hall said acting came before the magic. Miller began to act at the age of 4.
Miller said his long-term goal for right now is Broadway. After meeting Alton Fitzgerald White, who plays Mufasa in “The Lion King” on Broadway, he believes Broadway isn’t the end, but a stepping-stone to what an actor will want to do after.
“You don’t become an actor by becoming comfortable with yourself. You become an actor to convey the emotions people are too scared to feel themselves,” Miller said.
Musicals are one of Miller’s favorite genres of theatre. In high school, Miller played many lead roles such as Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray,” Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks in “Annie” and Nicely Nicely Johnson in “Guys and Dolls.”
“You can express things through song and dance that can’t be expressed in words. People don’t pay a hundred and something dollars to see an hour and a half long Broadway show. People pay to see ten seconds of the best emotional aspect of the show, and everything else just leads up to it,” Miller said.
Although Miller has been at Webster for a few short months, he loves Webster and is excited for what doors Webster’s Conservatory of Theatre Arts may open for him. In high school, Miller only belonged to the theatre clique. But now, Miller can walk up to anyone, perform a magic trick and instantly make friends. Many students greet him in passing as Magic Marcus, and he always returns a smile.