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Illusionist brings show to Brandon stage
Brandon American Legion Auxiliary to raise funds for programs
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

June 26. 2013 9:38AM
Reza, an illusionist originally from Brookings, said his tour bus has passed by the Brandon exit many times. But on Thursday, the red-colored bus will stop in Brandon for a 7 o’clock show that evening.

The 27-year-old illusionist is being brought to the stage of the Brandon Valley High School Performing Arts Center by the local American Legion Auxiliary. Tickets are $15 (adult) or $10 (student) in advance by calling 582-8039 or $18 and $12, respectively, at the door.

Hailed as the nation’s top touring illusionist, Reza has sold out venues from Denver to New York, Orlando to Los Angeles, entertaining millions as well as being featured on television and radio in 31 countries around the world.

He has made his presence felt in the world of illusion since a very young age. His focus in the art began at the early age of 7 after being inspired by a magic show in his hometown of Brookings.

By the age of 14, he was landing significant gigs performing for resorts and large corporations across the Midwest.

During a family vacation to Branson, Mo., where he saw a big production show with live magic, Reza said he was hooked. On his 15th birthday, he left his hometown in South Dakota to perform a six-week run in Branson. The grueling 18-shows-a-week schedule allowed him to hone his gift for entertaining.

“That was the launching point of my career,” he said.

After Branson, one opportunity led into the next and as the doors began to open, Reza’s style took on a fresh and cutting edge feel. With a largely original show and an engaging stage presence, Reza began selling out theatres as the entertainment world took notice.

Fast forward to present day. The once youth magician prodigy is today one of the fastest rising stars in the industry, with his mind set on changing the world’s perception of magic.

Reza said his craft wasn’t honed in a classroom. “In places like Vegas, they have some type of school for that,” he said. “But for me, I was so distant from anything like that.”

His teacher in the craft came from the books he checked out at the library.

“The Internet was not thriving at that point, which was good because it made me work harder and be more creative,” he said.

On Thursday evening, Reza said he’ll perform some of the “classics” but will also amaze his audience with some new illusions. A signature piece that will unfold Thursday evening is a prediction. When audience members come into the PAC that night, they’ll see a locked, large glass box hanging off to the side of the stage. Inside that box will be predictions Reza will make long before the audience is even in place. He’ll call on audience members to make good on his predictions.

Throughout the 90-minute show, which includes a short intermission, Reza said a variety of grand scale illusions will be performed, often times bringing audience members on stage.

“In a place like Brandon (where people know one another), the audience will watch the show through them,” he said. “But every show is a new experience because audiences are so different.”

Gail Harris, who serves as the secretary and chaplain for the Legion Auxiliary, said proceeds raised from Thursday’s show will be used for the various programs the group sponsors.

Harris, along with Auxiliary members Laurel Drexler and Kristin Kiner found out about the illusionist when they took in his show at Flandreau this past February.

“We were just all blown away,” Harris said. “He’s like the next David Copperfield – he’s that good.”

Girls State, Harris said, is the organization’s largest expense. Earlier this month, the Brandon Auxiliary sponsored seven local high school juniors.

Besides Girls State, the Auxiliary sponsors a fund drive at Christmas, supplies hospice baskets for veterans at the VA Hospital, send packages to deployed soldiers, and sponsors a student poem-essay contest, to name a few.

The Brandon Legion Auxiliary currently lists 20 members, and seven junior auxiliary members. The group meets at 7 pm. the third Monday of every month, with the exception of June, July and August, in member homes.
Follow Reza on Twitter: @rezallusionist, or on his website,

Reza, an illusionist originally from Brookings, is bringing his 90-minute show to the Performing Arts Center in Brandon Thursday evening. Submitted photo

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