Kid magicians mystify audiences

(From left) Aria Grossenbach, Micheal Sager Wissner, Oscar Grossenbach and Anthony Sager Wissner perform head twister illusion. (Scott Fraley/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Crowds gathered at the Ramsdell Theater to see magic through the eyes of children on Tuesday.

The young performers of the Kids Magic Show dazzled a packed house with two performances of mesmerizing illusions and family-friendly fun. The nearly 90 minute magic show featured over a dozen impressive illusions, including several magic tricks encompassing the full stage.

For magicians Aria, 10, Lennon, 9, and Oscar, 7, Grossenbach; and Anthony, 9, and Michael, 12, Sager Wissner, performing is a family affair. All five young illusionists were trained by their grandfather, Wayne Wissner — a retired, professional magician.

“I started when I was 7 years old and just kept going from there on,” Wayne said in a previous interview. “I used to perform at all the little places like the Eagles, Elks, American Legion. I ended up in Kentucky working at a theme park for years and years, and I did three shows a day.”

At first, the kids started out with family performances in their grandfather’s barn, in which he built a stage just for the occasion. Now, they are performing at the Ramsdell.

“We started just having family members coming over and then we eventually started inviting the public,” said Aaron Wissner, Wayne’s son, whose children are Anthony and Michael. “We built a stage in my dad’s barn but we just couldn’t seat everybody that wanted to come.”

Wayne’s daughter, Marissa Grossenbach, whose children are Aria, Lennon and Oscar, said each year the shows benefit local charities for children. Proceeds from this year’s show will benefit the Manistee County Teen Center.

Marissa said she is happy her children are carrying on her father’s passion for magic.

Retired magician, Wayne Wissner warms up the crowd with a classic illusion. (Scott Fraley/News Advocate)

“I like that we are passing on the legacy that my dad gave to us,” she said. “When I was a kid, I was his assistant at a lot of local shows in Manistee and Ludington. Now, I get to see my kids actually being the performers. It’s pretty exciting.”

This is the fifth appearance of the Kids Magic Show, which brought laughter, gasps and applause from the magic-lovers in attendance.

“Your feedback is what drives their performance,” said Aaron. “The more you give to your actors and magicians the more they give back to you.”

The Ramsdell will present a magic show on Oct. 3, featuring illusionist Bill Blagg.

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