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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Life + Arts

Magic show for charity

The Cullen Performance Hall will host a magic show, benefiting kids at Texas Children’s Hospital and performed by magician and former patient Robby Bennett.

Bennett spent two years as a patient at Texas Children’s Hospital. In this time, he learned to do magic.

‘I was actually a patient with them between the ages of 9 and 11,’ Bennett said. ‘That’s when I started doing magic – when I was sick and home from school. When I got back to school, I started performing for my friends. I turned professional when I was 12 and started doing corporate shows at 13.’

Since then, Bennett has gone on to gain recognition as a performer. His Cullen Hall performances will be a preview of his show Where’s the Rabbit, which he will perform in some major venues.

‘I’m previewing events I’ll be doing in 2010 on Broadway and in Las Vegas,’ Bennett said. ‘I’m also previewing work I’ll be doing for a major television network.’

The event is being held to benefit kids at Texas Children’s, a group that is especially close to Bennett’s heart.

‘These kids have become the best part of my life,’ Bennett said. ‘When I need my second wind, they’re what keep me driven. I keep in touch with the kids regularly through texts and phone calls and they’ve become like family friends.’

Bennett says proceeds from the event will go directly to the children.

‘This is especially for the patients and not the hospital,’ Bennett said. ‘We’re actually going to go to the patients and ask what they want – if it’s an Xbox or vacation, or something like that. It’s kind of like (the organization) Make-A-Wish, but we’re not being preachy about being out there.’

Bennett is particularly focusing on the children on the eighth floor of the hospital.

‘The eighth floor is specifically for the kids awaiting bone marrow transplants,’ Bennett said. ‘Those kids are there from 3 to 8 months, and they don’t have as many amenities as the kids on the cardiovascular or heart floors – I want to make it a more fun environment up there.’

Andrew Linn, a business junior, has known Bennett for most of his life and is acting as a partial financial backer for the event.

‘I’ve known Robby for 10 years,’ Linn said. ‘I’ve known him since childhood (and) I met him back when he was at the Children’s Hospital. He’s a great guy.’

Linn says Bennett’s performances are a mix between magic and comedy.

‘It’s called, Where’s the Rabbit,’ Linn said. ‘It ends up being kind of funny; every illusion has a comedy base to it.’

Though the act is aimed at college students, the decision to have the event at the Cullen Performance Hall was also made with Texas Children’s Hospital in mind.

‘(Bennett) wants to bring in students and money-wise, if you do things at a university, it costs less,’ Linn said. ‘The money we save can in turn go towards the Children’s Hospital. The money we save doing smaller venues, the more money we can put towards that million.’

The million Bennett refers to, is a challenge he created that will go further in raising money for charities.

‘It will be the first show in the $1 Million Charity Challenge, where a new group does a college tour to get exposed to the public,’ Bennett said. ‘We’ll scout the talent and develop each show for a different cause. We’re acting as a middle man between the public and whatever cause we’re bringing awareness to.’

Bennett’s performances will take place at 8 p.m. on April 17 and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on April 18.

Tickets range from $23 to $32 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster- another organization that has joined Bennett’s cause.

‘Ticketmaster is donating all of their fees from the ticket sales to Texas Children’s,’ Bennett said. ‘They’ve been incredible with us.’

Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster. More information about Bennett, including his bio and tour dates, can be found at http://www.myspace.com/magicandmuscle.

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