Randy Sinnott is in the middle of what may be the most complex magic trick he has ever executed — making Magicopolis reappear.
Once a Westside institution for illusions that drew Hollywood stars and famed magicians like Penn & Teller, whose handprints and signatures can still be found in the concrete floor of the 150-seat theatre's lobby, Magicopolis fell on hard times following the great recession of 2008 and never fully recovered.
Its founder, Steve Spill, a respected comedic magician, and his wife and performance partner, Bozena Wrobel, recently retired, leaving Sinnott, an amateur magician and attorney by trade, and his business associate, Dan Trapp, with the task of resurrecting Magicopolis so that the mesmerizing art of magic can live on for a new generation.
Amongst paint swatches and empty cardboard boxes, Sinnott,who first fell in love with magic as a teen in Missouri when he stumbled upon a biography of legendary illusionist and stunt performer Harry Houdini, walks through the theatre located in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica, pointing out the improvements he is making to the space. They include a renovated bar featuring imported and domestic wines and beers, and a fully-stocked concessions stand and magic shop that offers kits for beginners and adults, as well as supplies for professional magicians.
Randy Sinnott is the new owner/operator of Magicopolis.
"When Steve retired, his main goal was that this space not become another restaurant or retail," Sinnott said. "It has incredible potential to be a showcase for great magic and I want to take it to that next level."
In addition to making physical upgrades and offering close-up magic free of charge to those who just stop in for a drink at the bar, now open five days a week, Sinnott is bringing in a rotating cast of magicians featured on shows like "America's Got Talent," and Penn & Teller's "Fool Us," and are regulars at the iconic Magic Castle in Hollywood.
Sinnott, a former president of the Academy of Magical Arts, is actually credited with helping save the Magic Castle after a fire broke out in the century-old Victorian mansion in 2011, using his experience in insurance litigation to advocate for an increase in the amount of business interruption coverage the Magic Castle carried. That extra cash helped keep it afloat while repairs were made. So it seems Sinnott, who was the Magic Castle's treasurer at the time, has a track record in saving institutions of illusions.
Entertainers Penn & Teller left their mark at Magicopolis and have been supporters since the theatre's inception.
"For me the love of magic is founded in imagination," said Sinnott, who in addition to being a successful attorney is also a decorated Marine, having been awarded the Purple Heart for his service in Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. "I often say that the best audiences for a magician are those who are well educated because they think, 'I have two eyes, the magician has two hands, all I have to do is watch and I'll find the secret.' And then they don't and it takes them to a place that they really can't get to any other way in terms of sparking their imagination."
Magicopolis, which Sinnott plans to re-brand as Illusion Magic Lounge, is available for parties of all types and presents shows Friday through Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at https://magicopolis.com/
If You Go
1418 Fourth St.
Downtown Santa Monica