Almost every magician disappears as part of their act.
Most of them reappear within seconds, but not if you’re Melinda Saxe. Better known by her stage name, “Melinda – First Lady of Magic,” she was the only female magician to have her own headlining magic show on the Las Vegas Strip during the 1990s. In 2002, she stopped performing to start a family with her new husband in California. After a 10-year hiatus, the First Lady of Magic has reappeared in Vegas. Now she’s performing as a featured act in “V-The Ultimate Variety Show” at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
“I was totally content just being mom, and that’s been the greatest joy in my life,” said Saxe.
Yet right after she had her first son Mason, who is now 8, Saxe said there were moments where she thought it was kind of sad in a way that her son wouldn’t get to see his mom perform. When her daughter Malory came along, she had those same feelings. Saxe didn’t think much of it until after showing Malory a video of her Disney magic special when Malory was only 2 years old. Afterwards, Malory was in awe of her mom’s talents.
“[Malory] said, ‘Mommy you have to go back to Las Vegas and do your magic.’ When she said that a light bulb went on, and I was like maybe this is a good thing for [my kids] to see what I do, not what I did,” said Saxe.
She contacted her brother, Vegas show producer David Saxe, and the two spent a couple years planning her return to the stage.
David first started working with Melinda when she was 19. After performing as a dancer in
“Siegfried & Roy Show” at the Mirage, Melinda decided to create her own magic revue, and her brother helped produce it. The idea to create their own show seemed like a natural progression for them. Their mom was a dancer in “Les Folies Bergere” and their dad was a band leader for the Rat Pack. David, only 17 at the time, became the youngest show producer in Vegas. He worked on her show for 17 years and continues to produce shows on the Strip at his venues the V Theater and the Saxe Theater, both in the Miracle Mile Shops.
Deciding on which illusions to do and how to format a show that was appropriate for Melinda now, took some planning. She relied on David’s expertise on what would be the best fit for her return. She said being able to work with her brother again as opposed to an unfamiliar producer gives her a sense of security. He also continues to have success in Vegas, meaning that his ideas have merit.
“It’s fun working with him because we’re trying to continue to build on dreams and maybe down the road we’ll do a full show,” said Saxe.
As far as the physicality of performing a show goes, Saxe wasn’t worried about that or being in front of a live audience again. She was already used to running around all day from being a mom. The former dancer said that she doesn’t go to the gym or have a crazy workout routine. Instead, she stays in shape primarily from eating healthy and constantly being on the move with her kids. Her lean physique makes it hard to tell she’s been gone for 10 years.
What did worry her was relocating her family to Vegas and changing their schedule. Fortunately, everything has been working out. Her kids come to the show a few nights a week and living in Vegas means they’re close to more family.
In her show at V Theater, Saxe performs three main illusions. She’s joined by female back-up dancers. Because her act is part of a variety show, she has the flexibility of adding in new illusions or tweaking things when necessary.
“We tried to think of things that would be strong, powerful and capture the audience’s attention in the short time that I’m up there,” said Saxe.
For now she’s focused on enjoying being back on stage. Since she left, there hasn’t been another successful female magician like her to have their own show on the Strip.
“When I stopped I thought someone will step in and take my place. I really thought that would happen, but I guess I took it as a message when it never did… It just felt like my destiny was going back,” said Saxe.