Master of illusion and Washburn alumni shares his life story

Suspended: Greg Gleason (left) hosting an episode of Master of Illusion on the CW in 2017. Performing an elaborate and eye-catching flying illusion.

Master of illusion reflects on his time at Washburn and, travels over career and Magic in a post-pandemic world

Starting his career over thirty years ago, Greg Gleason has been to over 114 countries, numerous performances and TV appearances. It was an extensive journey that started right after graduating from Washburn, where Gleason acquired a degree in Finance and Economics.
Gleason spent his time at Washburn University as a member of Kappa Sigma, where he worked in different positions and learned useful management skills. Little did he know, these same skills would be used to manage his successful career and multiple businesses. Gleason never dreamed that someday he would be traveling all over the world for more than 30 years.

As he dedicated his life to his career as a magician, Gleason was able to combine his passion and his hobbies. “Traveling is my hobby. But it’s wrapped up in what I do.”

He is also fond of music, and just like traveling, he gets to combine it with his work and include it in his performances. While traveling is exciting, Gleason’s favorite place to perform is Las Vegas, NV, where he resides. “I get to do my show, and go home and have a normal life.”

The world has changed tremendously in the past 10 years, and it wouldn’t be any different in the illusion universe. “We’re not doing the big illusions anymore… it has gone from the big illusions, like floating girls and cutting people in half, to stuff with cards, coins, dollar bills and smaller magic,” said Gleason.

When asked about what advice he would give to his younger self he offers this encouragement: “Just keep following what you love to do.”

Majoring in Finance, he could’ve gone into banking, as most of his fraternity brothers did. But for him, it was a backup plan in case his passion didn’t work out. Luckily, it did. Gleason recalls persisting despite hard times when he wasn’t sure if his dreams would come true. His drive to not give up is what got him to this point.

Gleason also shared his feelings on virtual magic shows. “It’s just not the same! Some of my friends got into it, and I said I would wait it out until this lockdown is over and will go out again.”

Without the interaction needed, and the emotion of being present with an audience, Gleason says that it’s hard for the audience to feel excited. “A lot of it requires interaction and you just can’t do it.”

To wrap up the evening, Gleason shared his advice with people who are interested in pursuing a career in magic. He emphasizes the importance of learning magic the old-school-way and going over earlier material and books that include details of techniques that are essential for any illusionist to know. Watching video tutorials without understanding the skills needed behind the magic can cause a lot of confusion.

He will soon be working on a new TV show, but he couldn’t reveal much about the new project. You can learn more about his career and future shows on his website:

As things slowly get back to normal, Gleason will also be hosting new magic performances, one of which will happen at the Topeka Performing Arts Center (TPAC) on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, at 7:30 PM CST.

You can get tickets and find more about it at

Edited by: Katrina Johnson
Edited by Ellie Walker