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Michael Carbonaro brings new show, ‘Lies on Stage,’ to Morgantown


Frank Ocean once said, “There’s just some magic in truth and honesty and openness.” In his new show, “Lies On Stage,” playing Friday at the Metropolitan Theatre, magician and comedian Michael Carbonaro hopes to display the kind of magic that comes from deception.

When asked why he chose the title “Lies on Stage,” Carbonaro said, “I thought it was a really fun play on ‘Live on Stage.’ People really do love to hear me lie. I was a little hesitant because in our world, lies are kind of an evil thing. But with that, magicians are really noble liars, because they tell you they’re lying. So it’s kind of like there’s an agreement between me and the crowd, that we’re both in on this together. I think there are good lies and bad lies, and magicians are the good liars.”

In 2014, “The Carbonaro Effect” debuted on TruTV. It is part prank, part magic, part comedy show where Carbonaro dresses up as various characters to astound and amaze people in common situations. The Dominion Post asked him about the difference between the up-close magic that has been featured on the television show and stage magic.

“In the live show, it’s kind of a mix of both. We have IMAG (image magnification) to get in close for the parts that you really need to see, but I try to only use the screens when we really need to. I was trained in theater, so for me, I was trained to be large, to perform, and to project, so I had to hone it in for television. I’m back in my element getting to be more theatrical.”

Restrictions with COVID-19 made live shows difficult for a season, and Carbonaro is happy to be back on the road and performing for audiences.

“I didn’t realize how much I needed to perform,” he said. “I had been on stage and performing and having fun with people every week, so to be disconnected from that really was a giant piece of me missing. So, to be back up there and feeling that energy in the room and playing with people and seeing the smiles – there’s just nothing that beats that experience.”

His new show is an all-ages show, and Carbonaro hopes everyone comes out to enjoy a night at the theater. When asked if there was audience participation, he was excited to talk about that.

“I love coming out into the crowd and doing stuff right there in the aisles. I’ll bring kids up on stage, adults — anyone who’s there. I love a whole range of ages to play with. It just inspires a ‘you never know what’s going to happen, ring-of-fire’ moment. That adds to the fun and really keeps me on my toes. It keeps the whole thing vital and alive.”

Carbonaro may deal in lies, but those lies are still grounded in a kind of openness that he hopes will be magical for his audience.

Tickets for “Lies on Stage” can be purchased at morgantownmet.com and prices begin at $25.