So who is this guy,
'The Great & Powerful Dave'?
I was a shy kid who was quick with a wisecrack when, during third grade, I discovered that magic was the perfect way for a quiet kid to showcase their sense of humor. I’d regularly walk a mile and a half to the Elma Public Library (thirty minutes southeast of Buffalo), camp out there for hours, and pore over the kid’s magic books.
Using what I learned, I built a magic stand out of scrap wood and put on shows for the neighborhood kids. I have such happy memories of those times, it’s no surprise that, as an adult, I created an elementary school assembly program, ‘The Magic of Reading’, which combines my love of conjuring with my love of libraries.
Even in diapers, I seemed destined to entertain. That's my big sister, Diane.
After high school, I attended the University of Michigan, and then became a professional stage actor. I was hired as a resident actor with a small theatre company in Pennsylvania and, in my first season, they were mounting a children’s theatre production of the King Arthur tales and needed someone to play Merlin the Magician.
“Any of you know any magic?” the director asked the actors in the company.
No one responded.
“Well, um”, I hesitated, “I did when I was a kid, but I haven’t…”
“OK,” the director said, “you’re Merlin!”
And so it began – again. After creating the magical effects for that show and performing them as Merlin, my interest in magic was rekindled. I used the skills I had gained as an actor to create fun, interactive magic shows for kids, and soon I was not just a professional actor; I was a professional magician too!
In ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ at Pennsylvania’s Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble.
In my teens, I set aside magic when I discovered theater. I was in all the high school plays & musicals, and – a huge perk – I formed many friendships that endure to this day. (In my bullying-prevention show, ‘Stop Bullying Now!’, I talk about the importance of working to find ‘your people’; others who share your interests, give you a sense of belonging, boost your self-esteem, and insulate you from the worst effects of bullying.)
Ultimately, my interests as an actor took me to Hollywood, where I appeared in over 50 TV episodes and movies, including some of funniest and most-beloved: Seinfeld, Friends, Will & Grace, and Legally Blonde. During those years, I also performed kids’ magic shows at hundreds of schools, libraries, and private parties; sometimes for Hollywood A-listers and their children.
Over three seasons, I appeared as Ted Danson’s obnoxious next-door-neighbor, Mr. Grenquist, in his sitcom Becker. (My mom knitted that sweater, and I wore it on the show!)
When our daughters were born, my wife & I left Los Angeles to raise them in beautiful Ithaca, New York. Now, the girls have flown the coop – the younger one studies textiles in Sweden, and the older is a chemical engineer in New Orleans! – and I've moved to Manhattan. Here, I use everything I’ve learned – from those magic books at the public library, from being an actor on stage & screen, and from being a dad -- to entertain and educate young people at schools and libraries throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
Now, I look forward to speaking with you about bringing a
Great & Powerful show to your school or library!