The Rhapsody Theater, 1328 W. Morse Ave, Chicago, is an elegant, spacious, and comfortable
venue for owner Dr. Ricardo T. Rosencranz’ show, “Physician Magician”. A graceful double-
roomed bar serving themed drinks and bar food lets into an old-fashioned space with raised
stage, wooden seating, and café tables. Catchy varied-era tunes served as a relaxing
background for the polite capacity crowd last Saturday night, February 25th, 2023- the absorbing
show will continue on weekends through April 2nd .
The good doctor is a prestidigitator and sleight-of-hand adept performing with amiable patter
and a good-natured modest sensibility- he is also neonatologist at Northwestern’s Feinberg
School of Medicine, on staff for 30 years, currently a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics.
Neonatologists specialize in the care of newborns particularly premature babies who often
present with serious physical problems. In the three decades since this Mexico native
graduated from Cornell Medical School and completed his residency and fellowship training at
Northwestern, his specialty and it’s allied specialties of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and OB-GYN
have exploded with technical advances, including early detection of illnesses, the ability to
pinpoint genetic problems, surgery in utero and treatment of such devastating conditions as
hyaline membrane disease.
Rosencranz’ verbal audience engagement does not refer specifically to any particular aspect of
his medical career but does include commentary about the confusion caused by the
complexities inherent in medical care. His remarks are concerned, caring, and advertent and his
observations are informed and shrewd as well as poignant and very, very kind. One senses that
the magic delivered between the purple peacock/pink caduceus projected-upon curtains by his
deft hands and potent gaze is of a piece with that he delivers in the clinics downtown.
His communication with the audience before, between and during the acts was immediate, friendly
and without pretense or the pompous banter that often constitutes the “spiel” in similar one-person magic acts. Rosenkranz kidded gently with subjects who were both volunteers and
selected. Genial and not-very-shy patrons climbed willingly up on stage to participate with
props, cards, Rubik’s cubes and more; the acts were standard fare but done with a light and
unique touch, which often included stories and objects from the magicians’ past, notably
related to his family.
It seems that the message of the evening that was most predominant was Ricardo’s take on
hope, empowerment and change– they move us forward as human beings and can carry us
beyond the risks attendant to medical illnesses, both large and small. He emphasized that
getting beyond the impossible to what is possible in medicine is the essence of magic.
Rosenkranz also noted that his mentor, historian-philosopher-magician Eugene Burger, taught
him “magic is so much more than tricks”; the stage shows of magic are imbued “with
meaning, and the meaning is powerful”. Finally, the physician-magician reminded us all
throughout the evening that “both medicine and life are about transformation” and urged us all
to have the courage to look at ourselves, see where change is necessary and- hey presto!- do
the work required to effect that change.
Click below for tickets and information
Photos are courtesy of the Physician Magician