Brookings-born magician to return to SDSU


Abigail Nielsen, Reporter (She/Her)

A Brookings native whose performances have been described as “a rock concert meets magic show” by the Chicago Tribune will do two shows this week at South Dakota State University.

Saturday’s Reza Edge of Illusion show begins at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday’s performance is at 3 p.m. at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 323-929-7392 or online at Readers of The Collegian can use the QR code for $10 off their ticket price.

“It’s a roller coaster,” the performer known simply as Reza said of his show. “I want to give audience members goosebumps one moment then have them be inspired in the next.”

Reza last performed at the PAC in 2019 and said he is working to make this show different from his last one in Brookings.

This weekend’s shows are expected to fill about 90 percent of the Performing Arts Center, according to Jay Vanduch, director of operations at the PAC. There are no special COVID-19 requirements for these performances, but university protocols are being followed.

We would encourage the audience to wear masks if they are concerned and not to gather in groups in the reception area or hallways,” Vanduch said.

Reza got his start in magic at age 7 after seeing a magic show at his Brookings elementary school. He received a magic kit as a gift from his parents and quickly took to the art form. He became known as the magic kid around school and would put on little shows for his classmates.

“It gave me a purpose at an age where finding something you enjoy is so important,” Reza said.

By age 14, his shows for classmates turned into performing at events across the Midwest, and he is now one of the world’s top touring illusionists. He’s based in Branson, Missouri, where he performs about 270 shows a year. He also tours within the country and around the world.

“I love the balance of being able to travel because the road is so inspiring, but it’s nice to be able to go back home and sleep in my bed,” Reza said. 

Audience members may recognize him from his appearances on The CW’s “Penn & Teller: Fool Us,” A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” or from appearances on networks such as MTV, PBS, Reelz, CX, Fuji and Telemundo.  

“I love the instant gratification I get from performing on stage,” Reza said. “I know right in the moment if what I’m doing works or not.”

His show combines magic tricks with production elements and a little bit of comedy. Reza uses ordinary objects to make his illusions come to life. He tries to put on a show that is entertaining and keeps the audience engaged instead of just trying to trick them.

SDSU sophomore Max Mollman, an exercise science major from Watauga, South Dakota, is going to the show. He is a magic enthusiast and is eager to see Reza.

“When I watch a magic show it bothers me not knowing how it works,” Mollman said.

That said, Reza recommends audience members relax and enjoy the show instead of trying to figure out how everything works. 

“It’s like riding a ride at Disney World and looking for the wires,” Reza said. “It takes all the enjoyment out of it, instead just have fun and be like a kid again.”