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Dr. Ricardo Rosenkranz performs a trick with a student./photo provided 0

This doctor’s medicine is magic

January 10th, 2017

A medical professor who uses magic to teach classes at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is taking his act to the stage.

Dr. Ricardo Rosenkranz is starring in “The Rosenkranz Mysteries” at the Royal George Theatre’s cabaret space.

“Magic begets wonder. And even for those individuals who see it as a puzzle, the intellectual excitement creates the same fulfillment as wonder. ‘How did he do it?’ As a scientist, I’m excited about that,” says Rosenkranz, who also volunteers on the boards of Lyric Opera and Harris Theater.

He started pursuing magic about 15 years ago while visiting family in Mexico. Rosenkranz met a local magician he remembered from family parties when he was growing up.

He started studying and practicing and came to realize that the skills needed to perform magic weren’t all that different than the communication skills he honed as a doctor. It’s about knowing how to talk to patients or the parents of sick children.

Performing magic also requires practice so he started incorporating it in the classroom. The classes are so popualr, Rosenkranz has since added a separate academic course on magic and medicine.

“The most important thing to me is that medicine needs to pay attention to doctor-patient relationships,” he says. “Medicine is a performance art.” So just as a magic shows are scripted, conversations with patients or families should also be thought out in advance, he says.

“Frequently, the difference between an experienced physician and a new physician is how you get through that conversation.” It’s not just about ticking off information from a medical chart, he says.

Now Rosenkranz is taking the art to the next level.

In the “Rosenkranz Mysteries,” he stars as “The Doctor Magician.” He has an onstage assistant and an artistic team that’s helped put on the production. It runs through Feb. 12.

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