Spotlight Productions hosts magician Daniel Martin to finish semester

By Meghan McBrady | 4/19/17 10:27pm

​GVL/ Hannah Zajac- Daniel Martin uses a student in one of his first acts of the night, in Cook Dewitt Center, on April 17th, 2017​

With magic, it must be believed to be seen.

As part of the annual Laker Traditions ExtravaGRANDza, the weeklong event at Grand Valley State University to promote the Laker for a Lifetime initiative and honor graduating seniors, Spotlight Productions hosted magician Daniel Martin Monday, April 17, in the Cook-DeWitt Center.

Martin’s “Incredible Magic, Sarcastic Improv & Cons” has been featured on CBS, NBC and ESPN. Having performed thousands of magic and standup events worldwide, Martin was also named the 2015 “Entertainer of the Year” by the Campus Activities Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

Emily Sergent, the special events co-chair for Spotlight Productions, said a great thing about Martin was that he brought a lot of joy and high energy into his magic and comedy acts.

“The comedy side of him was wonderful,” she said. “He loves our campus, he loves the students here, and having him with us has been such a great, great time. We would love to have him back in the future.”

Standing center stage in the Cook-DeWitt Center, Martin looked out and interacted with some of the students in the audience, making jokes about the perils of college and even inviting a few of the students onstage to help with several of his tricks.

“I won’t sing, I won’t dance, I do one thing that I do really well, and that’s mag-ish,” Martin said over the laughter of the audience. “Let’s get started right now."

Beyond doing his own spin on the standard card trick and disappearing act with inanimate objects and people, Martin also demonstrated his impressive pickpocketing skills.

Having been “arrested” by his grandparents at the age of six for pickpocketing, Martin demonstrated how to outwit his target using a student from the audience.

Taking a dollar from the volunteer, Martin seemingly hid the note in a small envelope and placed it in the volunteer’s wallet, then zipped it up in the student’s pants pocket.

“One of the steps is to make them as uncomfortable as possible,” Martin said, as “Hello” by Lionel Richie started playing and the audience started laughing and the volunteer started edging away. “He’s also watching what I am doing, so you have to distract him heavier."

By making him uncomfortable and telling stories, to the general amusement of the audience, Martin revealed his pickpocketing skills. In addition to pickpocketing the dollar, Martin also continued to pull out the volunteer’s student ID, his cell phone and his credit cards throughout the rest of the show.

As part of the finale, Martin used three two-dollar bills that his grandfather left for him in his wallet after he passed away and called an audience member’s grandmother on the phone and successfully guessed what card she was thinking of using another hand-written note his grandfather had left in the wallet.

“With his pickpocketing skills, I was blown away, and the card trick at the end with his grandfather was like ‘wow,’” Sergent said. “I’m starting to believe in magic because of him.”

For more information about Spotlight Productions, visit

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