One of his favorite moments in his show is a simple one, says Reza Borchardt, a magician and illusionist who is recognized by just one name: Reza.
"My first trick was a classic of magic that involves metal rings that link and unlink," says the entertainer, who was raised in a small town in South Dakota. "Even today, I have a moment in my show dedicated to re-experiencing that first illusion, through the eyes of the audience. In addition to the grand scale magic, there are many cool 'acoustic moments' interwoven throughout the show, which makes it grand and intimate all at the same time."
Reza, whose home most of the year is at the Famous Theatre in Branson, will be on stage for two shows Sept. 29 at the King Opera House in Van Buren. It's just one stop on his 2023-24 tour, which also takes him to Warrensburg, Mo., Winona, Minn., and Ottumwa, Iowa, in the next few weeks.
"I was originally inspired by a magician who visited my elementary school when I was 6 years old," Reza remembers. "He selected me to be part of his show, and it was such a cool experience that I told my parents I wanted to be a magician when I grew up! They got me a magic kit for my birthday, and once they saw that I was serious, they began taking me on vacation every year to watch the magic shows in Branson. All of those experiences collectively set me on this unusual path from a very early age."
Reza broke into the business by posting videos that eventually went viral and, he says, "captured the attention of some pretty big agents and television producers."
"I started receiving offers to appear on various television shows and was invited to open for artists such as Steve Aoki, Trace Adkins and Huey Lewis and the News," he recounts. "Over the course of the next several years, my own audiences began growing from dozens to hundreds and eventually thousands. It has been an awesome journey so far!"
Reza says he rediscovered Branson eight years ago and performs some 200 shows there a year while still touring nationally and internationally. And he adds that he uses the terms "magician" and "illusionist" interchangeably.
"However, to me, magic comes with a meaning of tricking or fooling, which is a part of what I do, at its core.," he admits. "But far more important than that is the entertainment value of what I hope to present. I personally love to hear descriptors like 'artist' and 'entertainer' used as what truly describes me and what I present on stage."
And what does Reza present on stage? "Grand-scale stunts involving large objects such as motorcycles and even a 747 jet engine defying all laws of gravity, physics and ability," he explains. But as his linking rings trick illustrates, it's not all about "grand illusions."
"My favorite tricks are actually those that involve the audience," he says. "It's incredible to be able to connect with people through magic, and I love watching people react to impossible things. A highlight of mine is an illusion that I not only read the minds of several audience members, but I cause the random objects that they are thinking of to appear right before their eyes. They can literally choose anything they can dream up, and there it is. It's pretty crazy.
"My hope is that people leave my show happy, energized and motivated to pursue their own goals, dreams and aspirations," Reza concludes. "It brings me great joy to know that I have the ability to touch so many lives from so many walks of life. It is my hope to always present the greatest show they'll ever see and they'll come back year after year.
"That motivates me to do what I do each and every day."
Reza: Edge of Illusion
WHEN -- 6 & 8 p.m. Sept. 29
WHERE -- King Opera House in Van Buren
COST -- $25-$39
INFO -- rezalive.com/buy-tour-tickets or 1-844-TIX-3060
FYI -- Reza will be back in Branson for a 3 p.m. show Sept. 30 at Famous Theatre, 645 Missouri 165. Tickets are $21 to $51 at rezalive.com.