July 13 2016 09:45 AM

Michigan natives open magic show in Guam

Michigan natives Chris (left) and Ryan Zubrick opened their latest magic show, "ZUBRICK!" at Guam's SandCastle Dinner Theatre last month.
Courtesy Photo

Double bookings are usually a nightmare for performers. But in 2005, when magicians Chris Zubrick and Ryan Makowski showed up for the same gig at Michigan State University, they made the best of it. The two solo acts improvised a duo show, and they felt an immediate chemistry. They decided to form a duo — but the professional relationship quickly developed into a romantic relationship.

“We’ve officially been together for 11 years,” Chris Zubrick said.

The couple held a marriage ceremony in October 2013 — Makowski took Zubrick’s last name — and were legally married the following summer.

“We had our wedding ceremony on the island of Saipan, because same-sex marriage wasn’t legal then,” Chris Zubrick said.

“We traveled to Honolulu to become legally wed,” added Ryan Zubrick.

Chris Zubrick, 33, grew up in Laingsburg. He fell in love with magic as a child after finding a magic trick prize in a cereal box. At 7, he asked his parents to buy real doves to train for his routine. Ryan Zubrick, 30, had a similar experience. Growing up in Edwardsburg in southwest Michigan, he received a magic kit as a birthday present when he turned 6 and was soon hooked. By age 10, he was performing at birthday parties and events. The two worked as solo acts for several years until the serendipitous double-booking.

“We found each other,” Chris Zubrick said, “And our relationship has given us the chance to do everything together, including take the stage.”

The duo launched its newest show, “ZUBRICK!,” last month at the 500-seat SandCastle Dinner Theatre in Guam. The Baldyga Group, which operates several tourist attractions on the island, invested over $1 million in the ambitious show. The Zubricks’ feats of illusion are bolstered by a cast of acrobats, dancers, Bengal tigers and doves. The show’s production team includes designers who have worked with David Copperfield, Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil. Baldyga Group CEO Mark Baldyga, who opened the theater in 1991, describes “ZUBRICK!” as “by far the best show we have ever presented at the SandCastle.”

“There is truly something for everyone, from romantic interludes to fastpaced, cutting-edge sequences,” Zubrick said.

In addition to feats of illusion, "ZUBRICK!" features a large cast of dancers, acrobats, tigers and doves.
Courtesy Photo

But behind the extravagant trappings, the Zubricks’ motivation goes back to their early days of magic making.

“It is our passion to continue sharing our magic, stretching smiles, and dropping jaws with the young and young at heart.” Zubrick said. “As cliché as it may seem, we love bringing magic into people’s lives and sharing with them that what may seem impossible can be possible.”

The show, which combines illusions, humor and Broadway-style spectacle, is designed to provide a respite from everyday stresses.

“There are too many unfortunate and sad current events,” Ryan Zubrick said. “If we all can escape, even for a moment, and bring back that wonder we experience as children, that’s the real magic.”

“We want our audience to enjoy live entertainment,” added Chris Zubrick. “It’s a great opportunity to disconnect from social media by putting down the iPhones and iPads and connecting with your family, live and in person.”

The Zubricks encourage aspiring magicians to do their research and to read books on magic and theater. The couple’s favorite book on the subject is Mark Wilson’s “The Complete Course in Magic.” While magic is entertainment, it’s also business, and making connections is important.

“Find a mentor,” Chris Zubrick said. “And also attend magic workshops and conventions.”

Before relocating to Guam, the Zubricks performed their show for seven and a half years in Saipan. While the couple loves living on tropical islands, it has been hard being so far away from their family in Michigan. The engagement in Guam is open-ended, but the Zubricks are already thinking about what’s next.

“The future has a lot in store for us,” Zubrick said. “We want to start a family of our own.”