Star, Writer and Director
Criss Angel has single-handedly brought about a major resurgence of magic in popular culture. Today, Criss is recognized as one of the most provocative artists in the world. He first became interested in the art at the age of seven. As an adolescent he studied mysticism, music, martial arts and dance and two of his biggest influences were Aldo Richiardi and especially Harry Houdini.
Criss emphasizes the importance of establishing an intimate relationship with the audience. "Houdini was a pioneer in a lot of ways," he says. "When he performed his straitjacket escape in front of enormous crowds, people identified with him. They felt that if he could escape from a straitjacket maybe they too could escape from their constraints and achieve their dreams. Like Houdini, I like to create moments of wonder. Magic is an art that should provoke and touch people."
In 1994 Criss made his prime-time television debut in the ABC special Secrets. In 1998 Criss Angel: World of Illusion headlined Madison Square Garden's annual Halloween spectacle. The sold-out 12-day run attracted an audience of over 80,000. His next major project, 600 performances of his critically acclaimed Criss Angel Mindfreak brought a new kind of entertainment to Broadway.
In October 2002 the television special Criss Angel Mindfreak debuted on ABC Family channel, in which Criss submerged himself – chained and shackled – in a 220-gallon water torture cell. His third one-hour television special, Supernatural, aired on the Sci Fi Channel.
The undisputed master of street magic, Criss Angel is currently the star and creator of the A&E Network series Criss Angel Mindfreak which premiered in 2005. The illusions have included walking on water, levitating above the Luxor Hotel, floating between two buildings, making a Lamborghini vanish and cutting himself in half in full view of an audience. Mindfreak is the most successful magic show in television history. With it Criss has performed more hours of primetime magic than anyone in history. Criss has received numerous awards and is the first five-time recipient of the coveted Magician of the Year Award (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008). Criss has also recently been named "Magician of The Decade" by the International Magicians Society.
"With CRISS ANGEL Believe, the live show experience will be unlike anything that anybody's ever seen before," says Criss. "It's an experience that truly represents the magic of emotion that members of the audience can connect with and reflect on in their own lives. The images on stage will ignite responses that cause people to reflect – and I think that's the truest form of magic. This show brings to life beyond my wildest dreams an original concept that I created over 15 years ago."
Criss Angel was born in Long Island, New York.