Branson magician brings show to Pittsburg

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Reza Borchardt, like most professional illusionists, was seduced by magic at a very early age. After witnessing his first magic show at the age of 6, he was conducting his own shows less than a year later, wowing his fellow classmates.

“I was an entrepreneur from day one; it was in my blood,” he said, who performs under the professional name of Reza. “Because of that drive, I was always able to make it a profession in the sense that I never had to get a real job.”

“However, it took me over a decade of constant dedication before I started achieving any type of huge success, so it definitely wasn’t overnight.”

Though he performs 100 annual shows at The Starlite Theatre in Branson, he loves to take to the road when he can, performing roughly another 100 shows “in other parts of the world.” Reza will be performing two live shows, the first at 6 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m., on Saturday at Kansas Crossing Casino in Pittsburg. This will be his second show in Southeast Kansas; he previously performed at the Pittsburg State University’s Bicknell Center for the Arts.

He has purposely steered clear of cliched acts such as “rabbits inside hats,” as he calls it, which is symbolic of magic acts of yesteryear.

“I don’t spend a lot of time practicing, but I spend a ton of time creating, developing and designing,” Reza said. “My brain is wired to constantly take ideas from the world around us and apply it to new ideas for the show. I think that might be what allows me to connect to audiences. The magic revolves around objects that we can all relate to, like power tools and spray paint, rather than sparkly boxes that don’t exist in our day-to-day lives.”

Voted Branson’s “Magician of the Year” in 2016, he has appeared before millions on television, from MTV to the A&E channel. In 2017, he appeared on an episode of “Duck Dynasty.” Earlier this year, he appeared on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us.”

His show, “Edge of Illusion,” is a high-energy production that Reza designed to connect with the audience on a personal level.

“The live show incorporates a lot of different types of magic and allows me to change the set list on a nightly basis, both to keep it fresh for myself and for those that come back and see the show over and over,” he said. “One moment, it might feel like a high energy rock concert as I’m passing through the spinning blades of an industrial fan. The next moment, I might be in the middle of the audience doing magic with an Oreo cookie. I try to strike a balance between the tricks people expect to see and the totally unexpected.”