My wife and I saw the show on June 22nd, after spending a delightful day out at Coney Island getting hosed down by firefighters at the 90+-degree Mermaid Parade. (Todd Robbins was goading the firefighters, "You wouldn't hose the Brooklyn Borough President, now, would you?" They did.)
The new Jay show was charming, and oh, how dialogue-filled. Ricky must have spent many months working on that material.
The card material at the start was impressive as always, except for one segment where he flat out blew the misdirection on a hand-mucking switch and you could sense it in the room ... there were audible mutters and a "change of energy" in the audience (I don't know how else to describe it).
The chain was wonderfully done -- much of it seems like David Roth's handling, except for the closing sequence, which appears to be original to Jay.
All the apparatus is gorgeous; the flea circus, apparently built by Steinmayer, looks like a god took a day off and built a flea circus. It's that beautiful. And the "Orange Tree" speaks for itself.
Although some magicians have expressed disapproval of "The Knight's Tour" (the singing, chess-and-cube-root-calculating part of the show) I thought it was one of the strongest segments.
On the whole, an impressive show in many ways, but I'm left with a lingering feeling that "52 Assistants" (which I only saw on video) was stronger in that the theatrical construct was more closely aligned to the actual show -- Jay and cards -- than this one, which "The Stem" is a device upon which much of the "plot" is hung.
For those collectors, the show had "52 Assistants" posters for sale, under a sign that said "Prove to your friends that you saw this show! Buy a poster!" proving that the posters will be on sale only at the show -- not by mail order or any other way. "On The Stem" posters had apparently sold out, as had the playing cards, at the time of our visit. The "Journal of Anomalies" posters were still available.
We did fork over five bucks for the "Ricky Jay Hundred Dollar Sweets," if anything, for the souvenir value. Later that night when meeting up with Todd Robbins and Jamy Ian Swiss we were amused to find out that a box of the sweets had gone on eBay the week before for $90. Ah, sweet irony.
And for those who are star-struck, Heather Graham sat two seats to my left in the row behind me. She and Ricky studiously never made eye contact throughout the show (even though she was on the aisle and he brushed right by her while selling the candy after intermission), but she was the first person in the room to leap to her feet for the standing ovation at the end of the show following the Malini Card Stab.
(For those missing the miniscule cultural significance of this, Graham played Rollergirl and Ricky the cameraman in "Boogie Nights.")
I understand the show has been extended into August (and subsequently sold out many of those performances). If you get a chance at perhaps single-seat tickets, I'd go for it. It's rare that you get to see magic treated this well on stage.