Magic takes Crews to the stage
It wasn’t pure magic that brought Farmville native Shane Patrick Crews to want become a mentalist, or a mind reader, or someone who can bend spoons and guess cards.
It was a book his then-girlfriend gave him.
“I loved it,” Crews, a graduate of Fuqua School and Longwood University, said of the magic trick book. “I got known for doing it in high school,” he said of magic.
The Midlothian man, who touts himself as Virginia’s only corporate entertainer and mentalist, used magic to meet people as a young adult at Longwood.
Crews said his family moved to Farmville when he was only 10-years-old.
“Well, first we lived in Rice,” he said. “My aunt, Frances Hazelwood, she lived right in town behind Days Inn.” His grandmother, Jill Walthall, lived beside her.
“We’ve been around a long time,” he said of his family, citing his grandfather, Tubby Walthall, who worked at WFLO Radio Station.
“He had like a swing music show everybody listed to,” Crews said.
Crews, like Tubby, has a zeal for entertainment. Two years ago, Crews started his own entertainment company.
Little did he know that hypnosis, mind reading and magic would be up his sleeve.
“It’s interesting,” Crews said. “Most magicians start at like 7-years-old, and they get a magic set. And, at 12-years-old, they do a professional show and that’s all they’ve ever done. I did not go that route. I think I had a magic set when I was, like, 6-years-old, but, when I was 15, I saw a guy on TV named Lance Burton. And he was producing cards out of the air, and I said that was amazing.”
Crews’ career would lead him down various paths, but, magically, he’d eventually return to his passion.
After graduating from Longwood, he began bartending, and eventually began performing magic tricks behind the bar. “I bent spoons and hypnotized people at the bar and did card tricks at the bar.”
Crews and his cards remained confined behind the bar for nine years.
“Last October, oddly enough, two things happened within two days of each other,” he said. “I had a non- profit in Richmond, called Comfort Zone Camp, reach out to me and said they were doing a fall bash … and said ‘Hey … can you come do magic for us?’”
Crews used to work and volunteer for the camp when he was younger.
Two days later, says Crews, Creative Mornings, a topic-based speaking series, came through Richmond. The theme for the month was magic. Crews agreed to perform tricks for people before the event at a breakfast.
“‘This is meant to be somehow,’” Crews thought to himself.
After that event, an entertainment agent came to him in need of a corporate entertainer. Crews said no.
“I think this is the world telling me that this is something I need to get back into it … I jumped full force back into it,” Crews said, noting his reluctance to continue saying no.
He said it’s been a 20-year-dream of his to perform at his own professional theatre show.
“It’s just crazy how this has come about,” Crews said, adding people have always encouraged him to go professional with this talent. “Now, it’s come to look like it’s going to be a professional thing.”
His favorite talent is hypnosis.
“I just use (the senses) and meld those together to create the illusion of a sixth sense,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s real, but I’m not saying it’s not real,” Crews said, noting he uses body language and social psychology, influence and persuasion “to put you into a state where it’s pretty inconceivable. It’s a fine line between reality and not reality.”
Crews credits his family’s support for his success. “Magic’s the only thing that really stuck over the last 20 years,” he said.
Crews called it “bittersweet” that his mother, Alice Crews, died just three months before he’d host his first professional show. He said it’ll be in her memory.
The show will be held Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Firehouse Theatre in Richmond.
Crews urges those interested to visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mentalistshanepatrickcrews, where people can find information about the show, behind-the-scenes footage and updates on future shows.