This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.
David Maas, one half of a husband-wife magic act who achieved YouTube stardom, performed on some of television’s biggest stages and kept basketball fans nationwide nailed to their seats at halftime with their lightning-fast costume changes, died on Nov. 22 in Chicago. He was 57.
The cause was Covid-19, the couple’s agency, Hoffman Entertainment, said.
Mr. Maas and Dania Kaseeva married in 1996, when the couple first performed their “Quick Change” routine. Garishly dressed, they would dance around, then cover each other for mere seconds before emerging in new garb, the old outfit nowhere to be found. The illusion was performed under the veil of a sheet, or a toss of confetti.
It landed the duo on programs like “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Ellen” and a host of late-night shows as well as the reality TV series “Big Brother.” They helped the pop singer Katy Perry perform her own rapid costume changes during concert performances of the song “Hot N Cold.”
Former President George H.W. Bush requested their act three times at his home in Maine, according to the couple’s website. They performed at magic shows and festivals worldwide. And they appeared on the NBC variety show “America’s Got Talent,” making it to the semifinals in 2006. One of their performances on the show became the third-most-watched video on YouTube in 2006.
“Your act is one of a kind,” the actor David Hasselhoff, one of the show’s celebrity judges, told them. “We’re still sitting here with our mouths open.”
The act was perhaps most recognizable to basketball fans. The duo performed at all 30 N.B.A. arenas, the All-Star Game and 15 W.N.B.A. arenas, according to the couple’s website. At least 76 universities brought them to campus for halftime performances; they also performed at Big Ten basketball tournaments and during the N.C.A.A. Final Four games.
David Michael Maas was born in Missouri on March 15, 1963 to Jerry and Frances Maas. His father was a music director for the Circus Hall of Fame in Sarasota, Fla.; his mother was a singer and dancer. David began creating his own illusions and performing as a ringmaster as a teenager.
He met Ms. Kaseeva, who had recently come to the United States as part of the Moscow State Circus, at a show in 1995: He was the ringmaster, and she performed a Hula-Hoop act. After they began dating, they decided to create a two-person show, coming up with their own twists on the quick-change concept that had long figured into magic shows, if not so elaborately.
“Our relationship couldn’t work if I was on the road 200 days a year,” Mr. Maas told ESPN in 2011. To prepare, he lost weight and trained in ballroom dancing, as Ms. Kaseeva and a Russian seamstress scoured New York’s garment district to create their complicated costumes. They appeared on national TV for the first time in 2001, on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Mr. Maas is survived by his wife; his daughter, McKenzie Keller; and his mother, Frances Mecham.
On “America’s Got Talent,” they encountered one critic in the form of Piers Morgan, who considered the act to be too one-note. The other two judges on the program disagreed, and Mr. Maas stood up to Mr. Morgan to defend the routine.
“You want to see an elephant or a snowmobile on the stage? Take a trip down to Las Vegas,” he said to applause. “We’re the only act of its kind. The concept has taken us all over the world.”