Renowned illusionist to perform show for charity

An illusionist from small-town Brookings, S.D., Reza is a bit of an anomaly. Although he has sold out shows in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, he said he still makes an effort to schedule shows in towns like Kearney, Neb.; McPherson; and Garden City.

“It’s a goal for me to bring magic to towns that don’t normally get to see that,” Reza said. “When I was growing up, I had to drive so far to go see a show.”

Now Reza is bringing his show to Wichita at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Orpheum, 200 N. Broadway.

His shows are no cheap rabbit-in-a-hat act, either. Described as “a lot more like a rock concert than a magic show,” his performances feature tricks such as pulling a motorcycle out of thin air, he said.

He said that, during a typical show, he brings people from the audience to participate, usually around 12 per show.

“It’s a really personal show,” Reza said. “Magic’s kind of a universal language.”

Reza got his start in the pre-YouTube days, he said, studying magic tricks at the local library. He started developing his own magic tricks using concepts he read about in books, he said.

“A lot of complex magic tricks have roots that go back to a simple concept,” Reza said. “It’s like a musical instrument – you start with scales and work your way up from there.”

He landed his first big break at 14, when he performed as an opening act in Branson, Mo. Eventually he was hosting his own show, performing three times a day, six days a week.

“It really gave me an opportunity to hone my skills and make magic fresh and interesting,” Reza said.

Reza is partnering with Ellinwood-based charity Star of Hope for his current Midwest tour through Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado. A portion of the proceeds from every ticket sold will help fund a school for children in Marigot, Haiti.

After adopting a little girl of his own through Star of Hope, Reza said, he decided it was a cause he needed to support.

“It puts a spotlight on an organization that deserves it,” Reza said. “Just by coming and enjoying an evening of entertainment, you’re doing your part in supporting.”