In 1997, magician Michael Chaut realized that New York—long the haunt of some of the world's most talented magicians—no longer had a live magic venue. Wasting no time, Chaut assembled a super squad of fellow tricksters and illusionists, together creating the weekly showcase Monday Night Magic. Now firmly installed at the intimate Players Theatre, the shows strip away such over-the-top distractions as pyrotechnics and live animals, who generally give away the tricks post-performance anyway. Their shows instead beguile audiences with up-close sleight-of-hand and mental tricks, and also enter the realm of variety-show-style entertainment with jugglers and sword swallowers. During intermissions, the performing magicians take a chance to stroll through the room, hunkering down at lucky audience members' tables to dazzle them with up-close trickery.