NS Kramer has always played the cards that are dealt to her – and the cards that she deals to you. Las Vegas’ only headlining magician made a deal with Westgate more than three years ago. His hand was a winner.
Kramer occupies the 3pm slot at the Westgate Cabaret, where she opened in May 2018. She is unique as a trailblazer among magicians and as a Yale graduate who makes the front page of the hotel where Elvis once stood. play.
We met 29-year-old Kramer this week as she had just had her 400th show at the Cabaret. Highlights of our discussion:
Johnny Kats: How do you remember your opening show at Westgate?
Jen Kramer: It was unbelievable. Some of my friends and family came to surprise me. My uncle Steve, who bought me my first magic book, was there, and it was really special for him to be a part of it. It was a longtime dream for me, ever since I was a kid, to play in Las Vegas.
How did you survive the COVID shutdown and get back on stage?
It made me realize how much I missed it, my family at Westgate and my performance. But it pushed me to make creative changes, to come back and re-imagine what the new normal would look like.
What was one of those creative changes?
We used to have a volunteer on stage during the “Game Show” routine, who would take a jumbo prize card and physically select it. But now we have a way to get someone in the audience to star in the routine from their seat and make a legitimate contribution to the show. It’s something I thought about during the pandemic, and I’ll keep it on the show.
What was your specialty at Yale?
Theater studies, and that’s only because witchcraft and magic weren’t an option (laughs). I always tell people, “I went to Yale because Hogwarts didn’t want to take me.
Guess you are a huge Harry Potter fan?
Yes. I have performed at many “Harry Potter” book release events at Barnes & Noble in Manhasset, New York which is just minutes from my hometown of Great Neck. In fact, my first regular gig when I was 14 was at Barnes & Noble. I cold called the local bookstore and asked if I could do a show there, as a volunteer. I contacted the manager, whom I had not met, and she was ready to meet me. She let me try it. It was really fun, and I performed every two weeks for a few years, on stage in the storytelling section.
You cold called the manager of Barnes & Noble for a concert?
(Laughs) I remember I had my first cell phone, and I was on lunch break at school, and I went out to a gazebo so I could make the call. Yes, I did that.
How did you get to Las Vegas?
While in college, I interned with (Vegas headliner) Nathan Burton at the Flamingo for two summers. I was figuring out how to make this thing I love so much a full time career. I called several hotels in Las Vegas, outside the Strip, and said, can do it. ”It was from my dorm room in New Haven, Connecticut.
Who first wanted to hire you?
There were a lot of no’s, believe me. But in the end, I got a yes from Wyndham Grand Resort. Then I had a weekly show at the Grand Desert Resort, and a month later I was at the Marriott Grand Chateau, and a month or two later I added the Cancun Resort. I was in the process of making a schedule of these shows and working on a template for what I could present to other hotels.
So Westgate found you?
Yes. I did a 30 minute show for the employees of the Westgate Cabaret, and it went really well. It has a lot to do with why they brought me in.
I know you are asked all the time to be a female magician, an area where men have dominated. What about you now that you’ve been gambling in Las Vegas for years?
There are a lot of wonderful women who do wonderful work in magic, and it’s exciting. I love when young girls come up to me on dates and say, “That was really cool.” I like the excitement. I joined Young Magicians Assembly No. 69 when I was 12 to 18 years old. There were still 15 to 20 boys, but only one girl regularly in the group. It was me (laughs). But I checked with them, and now there are several in the group. It is indicative of the current state of culture, and I am proud of it.
John Katsilometes column is published daily in section A. His “PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected] To follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @ JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.