By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Even from behind a screen, students at area schools applauded for Reza.
While the magician prides himself on a lack of sparkly boxes and cliché rabbit tricks, he did have one box trick in store for the students at several area schools. While he couldn't attend a fundraising kickoff, he sent a pre-recorded video trick to excite the students about magic.
"At every school we went to, they started clapping, and he's not even here," Scott Westhaus of VW Fundraising said. "You don't even clap at the end of a good movie."
The community will have the opportunity to see Reza in person at 6 p.m. Saturday at Quincy Junior High School's Morrison Theatre. Each child who participated in a VW Fundraising event has received a voucher for a free ticket, but the public can buy tickets to the modern magic experience.
VW Fundraising has distributed 2,400 vouchers, and more than 400 have already been redeemed. Vouchers must be redeemed by calling the ticket hotline at 228-3273. Tickets for the general public are $10 each or four for $30. Vouchers may be included in the four tickets for $30 deal.
"It's a major production," Westhaus said. "This isn't a guy who's going to roll out some handmade tricks."
Reza has earned a reputation for incorporating new age amenities into illusions. During his signature trick, a revving motorcycle will appear on stage for less than two seconds. He's also updated one of Harry Houdini's most famous escapes.
"It's a recreation of what he (did) combined with what I believe that he would do if he was here today," Reza said.
He uses familiar components to his tricks so audience members can relate to them. While the audience won't know how he achieves his illusions, they'll have seen many of the elements he utilizes up close in every day life.
"They know how heavy a motorcycle is," Reza said.
He plans for a dozen audience members to assist him during the show. He said this experience is less like watching a show and more like participating in the concert.
Reza, known as Reza Borchardt in his hometown of Brookings, S.D., began studying magic after attending a magic show at age seven. As a teenager, he landed bookings for large corporations and resorts throughout the Midwest. He's since sold out shows in Denver, New York, Orlando and Los Angeles. He also stars in "Masters of Magic," which plays in theaters throughout the country.
"I just try to be me, and I think the audience can feel that," Reza said.
Reza has performed at Quincy University in the past, but he encourages those who have seen his show to attend this performance as well. He said he shakes up his tricks often enough that guests will see plenty of new illusions.