How to win the DRAGON Award

By Marjorie L. Stuart, Honorary President of the J. Marberger Stuart Foundation

You cannot apply for the DRAGON Award, but you can win if you meet the criteria. Winners are selected each year by the DRAGON Award Committee. The identity of the Committee is kept secret so that its members are free to move about and observe the best acts in magic anonymously. Who knows, there might just be a member of the DRAGON Award Committee at your next performance!

The DRAGON Award Committee welcomes suggestions from the magic community and the general public. Please feel free to e-mail the Committee at While your input is appreciated, the Committee will make its own independent selection and the decision of the Committee is final.

What can you do to win the DRAGON Award? There are two steps to winning this prestigious award. First, you must be part of a team in the art of magic. Although usually this teamwork is best shown in a married couple, you do not have to be married to each other, or to anyone. You do not have to be a team offstage as well as onstage, but you must have a partner and you must work well together. The DRAGON Award recognizes excellence in magic partnerships. One of the objectives of the DRAGON Award is to acknowledge those whose contributions have sometimes gone unrecognized, such as those who work behind the scenes like the incomparable Arturo Montes or assistants who make it all seem effortless like Carol Roy.

Next, you must meet the six criteria. Only teams who excel in all six of the criteria are eligible to win.

First and foremost is DRAMA. The magic act should tell a story that engages an audience. The illusion skits of Mark Wilson & Nani Darnell are excellent examples of this. Blackstone put drama into his legendary buzz saw illusion. Duo Absolon's illusion skit of a witch and a jailer told an enchanting tale. Peter Reveen's commanding stage presence and Coral's natural flair make the team of Peter and Coral Reveen among the most dramatic in magic.

The second requirement is ROMANCE. The act need not be a love story. The Committee is looking for an act that touches the heart of the audience. Properly speaking, all great magic has an element of romance. The classic style of Mr. Electric & Carol exudes romance. Mike Caveney can make a connection with an audience using such unlikely tools as coat hangers or a chicken. Tina Lenert puts romance into a mop. The spirit cabinet presented by Frances Willard and Glenn Falkenstein holds audiences spellbound.

ARTISTRY is the next criterion. The Committee looks for ARTISTRY in both execution and performance. Petrick & Mia are artists with their ball routine. Fantasio & Monica demonstrate that same level of artistry with canes and candles. The Great Tomsoni & Co. are masters of the art of comedic magic. Their routine is among the funniest in show business. Mark and Nani Wilson took us to a Magic Land every week with their amazing artistry.

Another quality that the Committee looks for is GLAMOUR. Any truly outstanding magic act will have an element of GLAMOUR. The best example of this is Moi-Yo Miller, the most glamorous lady in magic. Lee Grabel and the lovely Helene brought glamour to their performance of the floating piano. Gay Blackstone's beauty and skill as a dancer added glamour to Blackstone on Broadway while Debbie McGee used the same qualities to enhance the glamour of the Paul Daniels Show.

ORIGINALITY is another key component of the DRAGON Award. Chuck Jones is the inventor of the Mis-Made Girl and his lovely wife Jan is the original Mis-Made Girl. John Daniels won acclaim as the inventor of the thin model sawing. He and his wife, Cathy, broke new ground with their Miami Revue. Ed Keener is the inventor of shooting through a balloon. Petrick is one of the most inventive performers in magic. Other winners have added an original twist to a classic trick. Alan Watson, assisted by his talented wife, Michele, has breathed fresh life into the classic cups and balls routine with the use of kiwi fruit. The Watsons charming style transport their audiences into the magical world of New Zealand.

The last requirement is certainly not the least. Winners must be accomplished in the art of NECROMANCY, by which we mean good old fashioned magic. Style and charm are important, but if you lack skill as a magician, you cannot qualify. The legendary Paul Daniels is the epitome of a great magician. Paul has both enchanted and fooled audiences on stage and on screen all over the world. All of our winners have been masters of the art of magic. Think of Johnny Thompson with his doves, Alan Watson with his cups and balls, Blackstone with his dancing handkerchief or Marvyn Roy with his light bulbs. This skill is the foundation on which all the other criteria are built.

It isn't easy to develop the skills to excel in all six criteria. Those who meet the challenge may consider themselves among the world's top performers. If you qualify, you may be privileged to receive the DRAGON Award someday. The DRAGON Award is given not more than once in a calendar year. The Committee looks forward to welcoming outstanding performers into the Order of the DRAGON for years to come.

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