Criss Angel's magic moment had nothing to do with being sawed in half, walking on water or floating in the air.
The 48-year-old illusionist and Mindfreak star said during a Jan. 8 phone interview that being on the stage of the State Theatre a year ago this month -- where he will return Saturday, Jan. 16, for two performances -- was the fulfillment of a dream he had envisioned since childhood.
Angel, born Christopher Sarantakos in Hempstead, Long Island, regularly visited Easton during his youth. His father, the late John Sarantakos, attended elementary and part of high school in the Easton area. (John Sarantakos died in 1998.) Angel is the cousin of Billy's Downtown Diner owner Billy Kounoupis; his uncle was an Easton firefighter.
"I think the moment was really encapsulated when I was on that stage. I didn't think about it and I bent down and kissed the stage because I was so grateful," he said. "I completed something I set out to do way back when I used to pass the State Theatre with my father. I remember looking up at the State Theatre and saying, 'One day I want to play there.' That day finally came."
This weekend, Angel will be joined by The Supernaturalists -- a group of nine magicians and illusionists, whose specialties run the gamut from street magic and card tricks to mentalism and dog conjuring. The Easton stop is the final date of the limited-run tour, which opens Tuesday, Jan. 12, in Rochester, New York.
The crop of performers includes former America's Got Talent cast member Landon Swank and escape artist Spencer Horsman. "I have the greatest performers and artists. They're hungry, they're incredibly, insanely talented and charismatic," Angel said.
Angel said he scoured the globe in assembling the Supernaturalists. He teased audiences will be blown away by what they see. "For me, to share the stage with them is a lot of fun. We push each other. It's about bringing out the best in each other," he said. "There's a camaraderie there and that's beautiful and wonderful."
Angel's 2015 trip the Lehigh Valley included a stop at Billy's Downtown Diner in Bethlehem to chat with local media and meet with fans. He said the human connection is sometimes lost amid the spectacle of performing shows in Las Vegas -- where he has held a residency for close to a decade. ("Criss Angel: Believe" debuted at the Luxor in 2008.)
The excitement of performing on the State Theatre's main stage, in a city with so much family history, Angel said, was overwhelming. "The relationship I had with the audience, that bond, that feeling that it was just this intimate evening with me and my friends and that was very charming to me," he said, likening Easton's historic Centre Square to that of a Norman Rockwell painting.
"That human emotion is the greatest magic you can possibly have or create. It goes beyond the tricks and that was never underscored more than at the State Theatre," he said. "Easton will always have that special place in my heart ... It never goes away, the magic of Easton, Pennsylvania."
Criss Angel and the Supernaturalists perform 6 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at the State Theatre in Easton. Tickets cost $66 and $56. Information: 610-258-7766, statetheatre.org