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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Making hometown magic

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Morgan Strebler
SIKESTON -- llusionist Morgan Strebler hasn't performed in his hometown in about nine years -- until now.

On Thursday the Sikeston native will have a chance to once again show the area his love for magic when he performs at the Albritton-Mayer Cultural Center in Sikeston. "Magic of Morgan" will begin at 8 p.m. with all proceeds benefiting the Sikeston Area Humane Society.

"It's about making the magic about them," Strebler said. "I know a lot of people in town, and it's going to be fun to do a show with them."

Those who attend the show can expect some crowd interaction in an intimate setting, said Strebler, who is visiting for the holidays.

"It's going to be a lot more of audience," said Strebler about the show. "For example, I'm going to have a random spectator fire a paint ball and I'll catch it in my teeth."

The paint ball trick alludes to the trick Strebler's best known for -- the Bullet Catch" trick, in which he appears to catch a bullet in his teeth.

Strebler described the upcoming show in Sikeston as fun and very kid-

friendly. A typical show for Strebler requires two semi-trucks full of equipment so he won't be performing any of his large-scale illusions, he said.

"When you're home, there's nothing like it. It's really, really nice to come home and perform here -- you don't have the politics like you do in Vegas and around the world," Strebler said.

At the request of his parents, Brenda and D.J. Strebler of Sikeston, Strebler agreed to conduct a show to benefit the Sikeston Area Humane Society. "The thing about animals is they can't really speak up for themselves," Strebler said.

Mary Ann McSpadden, president of the Sikeston Area Humane Society's board of directors, said she thinks Strebler's performance will be great for the humane society.

"I can't imagine anything more exciting than a famous illusionist being in our little hometown," McSpadden said. "To have him here and to think we're important enough to take his vacation time, really means a lot to us."

With the show taking place between holidays, McSpadden said she thinks many families looking for something to do for their children or out-of-town guests will benefit from the show.

Proceeds will be used to help the humane society with various expenses such as costs to spay and neuter animals, purchase food supplies and vaccinations and other items, McSpadden said.

"We're flattered that he picked us to do this for and it will help us immensely," McSpadden said about Strebler.

Admission is $5 for children 10 and under and $10 for adults. Tickets are available at the Sikeston Bootheel Humane Society, Feeders Supply, Lambert's Cafe and the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce.

"If we do sell out, we'll have a matinee," McSpadden said. "And I thought that was particularly generous of him to offer to do that."

Strebler graduated from Sikeston High School in 1994 and relocated to Las Vegas in July 1999 to pursue his magic career.

Strebler said his interest in magic began after seeing illusionist David Copperfield perform. He also credited local magician Jeannie Williams for inspiring him to perform.

"I was 11 and played around with magic. It was a hobby. She (Williams) really inspired me and told me if this is what I wanted to do for a career, there's nothing that could stop me," Strebler said.

In addition to performing in Las Vegas, Strebler has performed at celebrity events, including one at Michael Jackson's house about a year ago.

Most recently Strebler returned to the United States after performing about 450 shows over a three-month period in Seoul, South Korea.

"It was awesome. It was a totally different experience. They enjoy magic a lot more than over here. They're really big on Western entertainment," Strebler said.

Up next for Strebler is a casino gig in the Middle East, and he will also perform at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino when he goes back to Las Vegas in January.

In March, Strebler said he hopes to begin working on a TV special in England; the special is slated to air sometime around October. Strebler is also slated to appear in documentaries to be aired on VH1 and Bravo and possibly E!.

Strebler and his wife, Mikala, who is also his leading assistant, are expecting their second child in June. The couple also have a 9-year-old son, Caleb, who practices magic.

"It's not about money," Strebler said about his profession. "The success is getting to do what I love every day -- and it's really something I love to do." For more information about Strebler, visit his Web site: www.magicofmorgan.com.