SIOUX CITY -- Many magicians shroud themselves in mystery, but master illusionist Jay Owenhouse invites his audience to come along for an incredible ride.
"Magic means becoming a kid again," he said. "Anything and everything is possible if you're willing to believe."
A legendary escape artist who has appeared on such television programs as "Masters of Illusion" and "Magic on the Edge," Owenhouse will be bringing his show to the Orpheum Theatre, 528 Pierce St., at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Growing up near San Francisco, Owenhouse discovered a love of prestidigitation after seeing a magician perform at his sister's birthday party when he was 4 years old.
Ten years later, he was performing his own magic shows at schools, parties and shopping malls.
A chance meeting with famed magician Doug Henning sparked Owenhouse's passion for illusion. However, he was ready to forsake the sleight of hand for a more conventional occupation after graduating from high school.
"I earned my bachelor's degree in psychology from Montana State University and was ready to get a master's in clinical psychology when I had an epiphany," he explained. "I could play it safe or I could explore a career that would indulge my two greatest passions, which were magic and animals."
"Obviously, I chose option number two and couldn't be happier about it," Owenhouse added.
In addition to performing death-defying illusions like Harry Houdini's famous Suspended Straitjacket Escape, Owenhouse also works with Bengal tigers named Sheena and Shekinah, whom he considers to be just like family.
Having said that, Owenhouse's own children, John, Peter, Juliana and Christina, are also a part of the act.
"I've never wanted to have a Vegas-style act in which I'm doing show after show after show," the Bozeman, Montana-based magician remarked. "Instead, I mainly do shows on the weekend, which keeps the act fresh and allows me to live a normal life."
Well, as normal a life can be when your work involves being confined in a straitjacket while hanging upside down, with a burning rope and a 1,200-pound steel trap just a few feet away.
"Seeing magic in person is so different than seeing it on TV," Owenhouse said. "In person, you can smell the rope as it burns and you can experience the tigers in a very up-close-and-personal way."
That's why he said "The Authentic Illusionist" will appeal to people of all ages.
"While my show is geared towards adults, kids love it as well," Owenhouse said. "Millennials, especially, have spent their lives awash with information. A magic show is as interactive and as experience-based as entertainment can get."
"This is the reason magic will never go out of favor," he continued.
For Owenhouse, magic is just as much fun as it was when he was just a kid.
"After seeing my first magician at age 4, I'd pester my mom into going to the library for books on magic," he said, laughing at the memory. "Even when I was too young to read, I wanted to see how the trick was done."
Since then, Owenhouse has made it his lifework to create a night of grand illusion for the young as well as the young at heart.
"I want to create a show that will leave you breathless with a childhood that anything is, indeed, possible."