“MARRIED IN MAGIC” article for Matthew Fallon and Vanish Magazine
Joe Givan and Carol Massie, aka “The Dream Masterz Theatrical Illusionists” of Theatre of Dreams in Castle Rock, CO
Our “story” is really two separate stories as to how you end up married to a magician…we were both accomplished magicians when we met.
Joe Givan got a magic kit at the age of 4 for Christmas and was instantly hooked. Carol always jokes..”be careful what you buy your kids as it may become a lifelong obsession”. Carol started in college….and the rest is history.
Joe Givan is a creator of original illusions. Honors for his innovative ideas and performing style include the World Championship of Close-up Magic at the 1988 FISM convention in Holland. He is only the third person in history to receive the Gold Cups International Award of Excellence from the International Brotherhood of Magicians. A worldwide lecturer on the art of creating and performing illusion, Joe has also written for many publications, and made numerous appearances on international television, including England’s “Best of Magic”, and “The World’s Supermagicians” in Tokyo.
He has designed custom illusions for major corporations – IBM, Xerox, Apple, AT&T, Pepsi, etc; his creativity has been sought by performers such as David Copperfield, David Blaine, Guns & Roses, as well as Alice Cooper’s “Brutal Planet” and Six Flags Amusement Parks.
He also consults for magicians worldwide and has recently been involved as a builder and consultant for the recent entertainment concept of clue/escape rooms.
Carol Massie was a college cheerleader and a Miss Ohio contestant when a magician asked her to work with him. She was athletic and used to being in front of large crowds. She agreed, but after a few shows, she told him that she felt “very old-fashioned” playing an assistant”and would like to learn more magic. He jumped at the idea of being a male and female team and they began to work on that. Once they graduated from college, they decided to look for a job performing on cruise ships. Carol had 2 college degrees and snagged an entry level job in marketing complete with company car, nice salary and health benefits. Once offered the ship gig, she looked to her parents for advice. The ships were offering just 3 months of work to start. Carol’s parents gave her their blessings and the 3 month job catapulted to five years on ships and a position of Cruise Director and lifelong career in magic. Who knew?
Joe believes that if there is one thing that has kept things alive and fresh in their relationship is what attracted him to Carol from the beginning: Humor! “We still have no problem making each other laugh after being together for 23 years!”, he says. Having his own quirky sense of humor, he recalls knowing they would be great friends when Carol jokingly proposed doing the “Trout -Tear”; a torn-and-restored-trout. “I knew this was an unusual, smart, clever woman I could really get along with!”, he says.
Joe and Carol met performing separate acts at Magic Island in Houston,TX in 1991. They became good friends but went their separate ways performing across the globe. The following year (as they believe fate would have it) they were booked at Magic Island together again! This time sparks flew as they spent lots more time together. Parting ways once again, they kept in touch when they could…long before 3 cent-per-minute phone calls, the internet, “cell phones” – (what were those?)! Carol was performing on cruise ships in Scandinavia and had a phone bill close to $1000. Ouch! So, one day when Carol was back in Atlantic City working casino showrooms there, Joe called and asked her to come and visit him in Colorado. She did, and the romance soon began. She soon completed her gigs on the east coast and moved to Colorado. Joe had been developing a show in which magic and illusion were tools to present “live dreams” onstage. His unique vision of magic presentation appealed to Carol and they conceived a story-line production called the “Dream Masterz Theatrical Illusion Show”. Joe’s character was trying to create the ideal woman in his dreams, with Carol’s character coming into the dreams and turning the tables on him. Joe was the person being mutilated in the illusions such as mini cub-zag, twister, etc. and the audience responded well to a strong female magical performer even though Carol did not have a speaking roll. Her character is mischievous and strong ( and a bit sexy), but not at all evil as she was simply “playing” with her role sort of tongue in cheek.
They took Dream Masterz on the road for 7 years with 2 trucks and a road/stage crew of 4 working performing art centers, casinos showrooms, riverboat casinos, festivals and corporate events across the U.S, with occasional TV and convention appearances in Europe, Canada, and Japan A 10 foot albino python was a constant companion, both on and off stage! “We could write a book about the adventures of traveling with a large, exotic snake facetiously named “SPOT’!”, Carol says. They had their own show at the MGM Grand in Vegas.
Joe and Carol had certain “roles” on the road…similar to what they have now with owning and operating Theatre of Dreams since 2003. Joe is the creative, designer type and Carol is a business woman and detail oriented organizer. They each have separate offices at their home across the hall from one another. Carol is always early and prepared way in advance, where Joe gets things done just in time as he is good at “going with the flow” and the pressure of a deadline doesn’t get to him. Carol avoids last minute pressure, which sometimes drives her crazy waiting for Joe to “finish the last step” of something. This can lead to friction before a show as showtime looms closer and closer. Crew members see various frictions but know all returns to normal right away and the shows begin without a hitch. That’s the sign of 2 working professionals. “Even if things get tense before a show, that all melts away when the curtain goes up. We’re both so ‘in the moment’ when performing that you don’t even think about whatever rough moment happened earlier in the day,” says Joe. ” We actually have a lot of fun on stage that the audience doesn’t ever see; whispering funny things or singing goofy music or making comments that only we would laugh at, sometimes just to shock each other. It’s fun and keeps it fresh for both of us!”
Joe Givan and Carol Massie got married in August of 1994. Both are musicians and their taste in music is very similar. Joe plays piano, which he almost chose as a career, as well as trombone which he has used in their act. Carol also plays piano as well as flute which she has also used onstage in the Dream Masterz show. Their musical backgrounds have always made choreographing an illusion “relatively easy” for them as they seem to be literally “in tune” when it comes to the way they hear and interpret music. Although Carol is not a trained dancer, she has always had a knack for movement and enjoys it. Joe’s background in stand-up didn’t allow for much in the way of choreography, but when they teamed up to perform large scale grand illusion, “Joe was a natural”, Carol says. Joe’s expertise in sleight of hand technique as well as mentalism comes in handy when coaching Carol in the more intimate effects weaved throughout their routines.
As far as being married and working together, the key to the success is simply having your individual interests in addition to many shared interests. They both like movies, although Joe is into horror movies which Carol is not, but they both love adventure, animation and comedies. They love cooking. Both are pretty good at it, too as part of a gourmet food group for about 28 years. Carol is a distance swimmer, loves nature and is very active. The love to ride bikes.
They love to ski and play outdoor games like bocce ball and lawn jarts. “Carol is quite competitive and is a natural athlete on all levels – even football!” Watching football, by the way, is another passion they share. “Carol knows more about football than most men!”, says Joe. Joe plays tennis and roller blades, and used to participate in many extreme sports like skydiving and hang gliding.
Together they have taken on coaching magic as well as teach magic at Wizard Camp at their theatre for the past 12 summers to rave reviews. Joe is the technical and creative coach, while Carol’s strengths are in staging, movement, eye-contact and choreography. Together, they are quite a dynamic couple coaching acts of all kinds, not only magicians.
Carol and Joe are both very passionate about elevating the art of magic to be sure that it continues to get the respect this incredible art form deserves. They love to present the cream of the crop of professional magicians to the public at their theatre! Once Carol sent Stan Allen of Magic Magazine a list of the performers they’ve featured, Stan immediately called and said “ your list reads like a Who’s Who of Magicians” and we are doing a four page spread on your beautiful venue. They were featured in the June 2015 issue and are very honored. The intimate but elegant theatre seats 72 and because of private parties, fundraisers, team-buildling, magic wizard camp, etc. the theatre has managed to thrive in a town of just 50,000 people in a strip mall. It’s a labor of love. Joe is the maintenance man, the talent booker while Carol is the marketing manager and runs the tech for the shows and she jokes that she also is the janitor. Each has to pull their weight so as not to burn out. Running a theatre takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s gratifying when they see the delight on the faces of their audiences at the end of yet another “Amazing Show!” which is the name of their website: www.AmazingShows.com Imagine that?