In the blink of an eye

Published 2:28 pm Saturday, July 3, 2010

When nationally touring magician Reza comes to town this week, don’t expect him to be hiding scarves up his sleeve, or wearing a mysterious top hat with a white rabbit inside.

Reza — who prefers to be called an illusionist — will rather saunter into Austin toting 15,000 pounds of lighting and sound alongside a 20-member cast and crew.

“It’s not just something people sit back and watch,” the Brookings, S.D.,-based performer said of his show. “It’s fast-paced and interactive. There will be large scale illusions and close-up magic presented on a 10-foot screen… It’s mixed in with comedy and music, live from a DJ.”

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The performance — during which Reza said he’ll pass through 300 lbs of steel, make a beautiful assistant vanish at the tip of razor-sharp spikes, and predict the thoughts of randomly selected audience members — takes place Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre.

The 24-year-old illusionist said his tricks are enough to leave savvy adults dumbfounded, and entertaining enough to mystify audiences of all ages.

Reza said he makes sure his shows are fun for kids, as he himself fell in love with magic during a show in his hometown of Brookings, S.D., at the age of 6.

By age 14, Reza was landing gigs performing for resorts and large corporations across the Midwest. And, on his 15th birthday, Reza left home to perform a six-week run in Branson, Mo.

The three-shows-a-day, six-days-a-week, schedule was a preview of what was to come, Reza said.

He has since traveled across the country selling out theaters from Denver to New York, Orlando to Los Angeles.

He said he’s excited to bring this tour back to the Midwest, and closer to Brookings, where he still maintains a home.

Wherever he goes, Reza said, it is always a challenge to invent new magic.

“Audiences are so smart now, they’ve seen so many things,” he said. “I guess I come up with illusions by taking stories from everyday life… I try to make the show relevant by taking things people dream of and turning it into magic.”

Once Reza and his staff come up with a dream, he said, a team of engineers get to work to make the illusion possible.

Those who want more of a behind-the-scenes look on the making of Reza’s magic may be in luck.

Reza is currently shooting a reality show based on his day-to-day life, on stage and off. Details on when the show will air were not available by press time.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Paramount Theatre at 434-0934 or visit