Mark Toland
Gig Seeker Pro

Mark Toland

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Band Comedy Comedy





"A gifted man." - WGN TV Chicago

"Wichita State University"

"An intriguing, contemporary take on the classical magic show!" - C. Nicholas Johnson

"Unniversity of Texas at Austin"

"Mark Toland is absolutely amazing!Our students are still talking about the show!" - UT

"Teddy Weber"

"Mark Toland had our eyebrows at our hairlines and our jaws buried in our collars. We couldn't see enough! Dude's got some serious magic goin' on." - of The Wiyos

"Ana Belaval"

"That was so amazing that now I can't even remember any other magician's name. Just Mark Toland's!" - of WGN TV Chicago

"Kris Myers"

"The only explanation is that Mark Toland must really be psychic." - of Umphreys McGee

"Artist Interview: Mark Toland talks mentalism, developing an act"

Building a magic business takes work, because the business has to be learned as much as the magic. Mark Toland knows firsthand.

Toland, a magician who is active in Chicago’s magic scene, also tours across the country performing for private engagements, corporate clients and colleges. He has made a name for himself with a solid show, great personality and a glass-walking act that has taken years of refinement — and a lot of broken bottles.

In addition to learning magic and mentalism, he has learned the business of magic more than most: He is his own agent. That comes with unique burdens and benefits, he said.

One of the benefits is booking. Making the most of a private gig in Pittsburg, Kan., he also booked a kids’ show at the Joplin Public Library for the same trip. He joined us for a dinner break in Joplin between gigs and talked to us about how he manages all the facets of his business, how he approaches tricks for kids and adults, how his character fits into mentalism and how he developed his glass-walking act.

You can see more of Toland on his website and in his weekly Magic Monday videos -

"Toland to Perform this Weekend"

Mark Toland isn’t a magician anymore. “I have illusionist and mentalist on my business card,”he noted.

The distinction may be subtle for the layperson,but for Toland,who makes a living from the art, it’s clear. “In college I watched a lot of magic,” said the 2009 Wichita State University graduate. “It seemed so cheesy,”he said of typical slight-of-hand tricks. So, over the years he refined his act. “I’ve taken out what I consider lackluster and replaced it. It’s a higher-level show now” of magic and mind-reading.

Toland returns to his hometown for two shows this weekend. Iola Community Theatre’s Warehouse Theatre at 203 S. Jefferson Ave. will be the venue at 7 p.m.Saturday and 2 p.m.Sunday.

Toland said his fiance, college sweetheart Stephanie Cunningham, influenced his style. Cunningham, a ballet and modern dancer, helped Toland view his show “more from an outside perspective,” he said, and allowed him to see his act “more aesthetically,”he said.

The audience should benefit,he said. “There’s a point where I’m blindfolded and have to guess what people standing up in the audience are holding,” he said. Other feats include answering questions written and sealed into envelopes by audience
members — without ever having access to the questions,he said.

To add a bit of flash, Toland will also perform a presentation popularized by Harry Houdini,in which he swallows 50 sewing needles. Other such visual tricks must remain under wraps until performance time, Toland said.

Toland hopes the changes will expand the fan base for his shows. He returned to Wichita after almost a full year of performing magic in Los Angeles to be closer to Cunningham, he said. The two hope to move to New York City next year, where he
will be closer to agencies that can advance his career and she can join a professional dance troupe. “I’m working with a national agent trying to get college shows,” he said. If all works as hoped, Toland will be touring the college circuit by next year.

“Las Vegas would be nice eventually,”he said of his career plans, “and a cruise ship is nice to see the world,” but right now, Toland wants to perform for as many people as possible. No matter where he ends up, though, he said, “it’s always good to come back and see the people who got me hooked on theater in the first place.”
- By Anne Kazmierczak, The Iola Register

"Performing Magic is Junior Mark Toland's First Love"

If Wichita State University junior Mark Toland can embark on life in Iola, Kan., and end up wowing a crowd on stage in Hollywood, Calif., there is hope for all.

Toland, 21, is majoring in musical theater and also making a living and enjoying life as a performing magician. He no doubt will know what playing card you so cleverly picked out of the deck, as he proved during a recent interview, but he jokes that he can't magically make his homework appear.

Toland began his college career at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He remained at USC for one year until his father passed away the summer between his freshman and sophomore year. He said he enjoyed his time there although it was short-lived.

"There's something about being around people who are so driven and talented," said Toland.

To get into USC, he had to audition in Chicago. There were only 80 people in his graduating class.

His mother, Karen Toland, still lives and teaches in Iola. He has three siblings: one sister, Carol, and two brothers, Scott and Kent.

"My family has been so supportive. My mom and dad gave me a magic book when I was 3, and I've been doing magic ever since," he said.

As a child, he grew up watching and admiring magicians David Copperfield and Harry Houdini. Toland said he is also a fan of the music group The Rat Pack, which was popular between the mid-'50s and mid-'60s. He said these influences come through in his performances.

Toland works as the resident magician at Stevens Magic Emporium in Wichita. He is responsible for demonstrating every new item that comes into the store.

In addition to his studies and work, Toland performs, on average, 10 times a month at different venues.

When considering audience size, he said the biggest show he ever did was the opening act at the Miss Teen Kansas pageant. Also, while still at USC, Toland performed twice at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Despite booking performances such as these, Toland said he doesn't get nervous anymore. He described it as more of a nervous excitement.

Toland said his first love is magic, but music and movies come in a close second and third.

"Magic is coming up with the best way to hide what I'm doing. Illusions are what I do. Magic is what you feel," Toland said.

Toland advised anyone preparing to begin college to have a general idea of what you want to do and to be willing to push and motivate yourself.

"You can take what you get at WSU and put it toward what you need," he said.

Post-graduation, Toland plans to continue his pursuit of becoming a famous magician. He said he has always wanted to be on TV and he wants to land eventually in Las Vegas or Los Angeles.
- Dana Dinkel, Wichita State University Website

"Magic Workshop for Youths"

Magician Mark Toland likes to give back.

“I didn’t really have someone teaching me,” magic when young, he said, “but I had a really good book with colorful props.” While that was enough to hook Toland, he said there’s no replacement for a live teacher. “Just having someone there to do the tricks and seeing how amazing that can be” is the best you can offer budding learners,he noted.

So Saturday, Toland will offer a free workshop in sleight of hand and simple card tricks to 20 area youth. The workshop is at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Iola Community Warehouse Theatre.
- The Iola Register


Mark has appeared on:

• Chicago's WGN Morning Show

• Podcast Interview

• As host of web series "Magic Monday"



Based in Chicago, magician Mark Toland travels nationwide performing his one-man show for corporate and college events. His minimalist approach to magic breaks free of the big boxes and Vegas stereotypes and focuses on one goal: pure amazement.

Recent performances include Trump International, Citi Bank, WGN TV Chicago, University of Texas, Manhattan Christian College, ITT Technical Institute, Wichita State University, United State Marine Corps, Cessna, and Via Christi.