Edgar Allan Poe already has a bar, a beer and a football team named in his honor in Baltimore. It’s about time he added a theater to that list. And a magic one at that.
Poe’s Magic Theater, holding shows twice monthly out of a space in the Lord Baltimore Hotel downtown, plays host to its first show on June 1 with a performance from mentalist Alain Nu, billed as “The Man Who Knows.” Beginning then, the theater will host 9 p.m. shows on the first and third Saturday of every month.
For one of his first tricks during a September show, magician Spencer Horsman revealed his girlfriend, Caroline Gayle, huddled in the bottom of a box on the stage. It was the tenth proposal during a show at Illusions Theatre & Bar, albeit the only time when Horsman was the one doing the asking.
“We’re only going to have the very best magicians,” said manager Vince Wilson, a magician himself who plans to book not only established acts, but new faces as well. “We’re going to have auditions, and we’re only going to pick the ones that we feel have the most to offer.”
The shows will take place in the hotel’s 125-seat Baltimore Theater, a multi-purpose venue with stadium-type seating that is mostly used for presentations and other meetings. “It’s a perfect setup for these types of performances,” Wilson said.
Naming the theater for Poe was a no-brainer, he said. The 19th-century poet, author and one-time Baltimore resident was an early pioneer of literary horror and is often credited with inventing the detective story; he died and was buried in Baltimore in 1849.
But picking a black cat for the theater’s logo, in honor of one of Poe’s most famous short stories, took a little more thought — especially when it involved passing over a certain black bird more commonly associated with the author’s Baltimore connection.
“I just felt that the Ravens — at this point, everyone’s doing a raven,” Wilson said, “and I didn’t want there to be any confusion.”