When Jay Owenhouse was 4 years old, he watched a magician perform at his sister’s birthday party.
He was enthralled.
By age 14, he was taking the stage to perform tricks of his own, and he’s barely slowed down since.
Dubbed “The Authentic Illusionist,” Owenhouse will be at the Toyota Center in Kennewick on Sept. 26 with his Dare to Believe show.
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Tickets still are available.
“The reason we call the show Dare to Believe is to inspire people to realize that anything is possible in their own lives,” he said. “We try to use the show as a way to help people to expand their thinking. When we’re kids, it’s really easy to dream about things we want to do or accomplish. As we become adults, we become more jaded and less likely to think about impossible things that can be accomplished.”
The show includes large-scale illusions, such as the “Jaws of Death,” in which Owenhouse races to escape a straitjacket before the rope holding open a massive steel strap snaps. The rope is on fire, and Owenhouse is upside down.
He also performs magic with his twin Bengal tigers — Sheena, who has a standard orange coat, and Shekinah, a rare white tiger. Owenhouse raised them from the time they were cubs, and they live in a sanctuary when they’re not on the road.
The crowd also gets in on the fun during the show through audience participation.
“People always comment to me that it’s such a different experience to see (magic) live rather than on TV. You have the opportunity to break that fourth wall, to go out into the audience and interact with people. They can see things close up in their environment,” he told the Herald.
He described the show as “a greatest hits of illusion.”
He’s been performing for 25 years, and Dare to Believe is a family show in more ways than one.
While not aimed specifically at kids, it’s appropriate for them. Owenhouse’s four children — John, 25, Peter, 23, Juliana, 20, and Christina, 11 — all participate.
“They bring a great perspective to the show,” Owenhouse said. “The show is really a creation (sprung) from an 11-year-old mind to a 25-year-old mind to my mind. It’s created to span generations.”
And to inspire wonder, belief in the impossible.
Owenhouse’s wife, Susan, used to join him on stage, but she died in 2009 of a rare autoimmune disease.
The family now aims to give hope to others who’ve faced hardship and heartache, Owenhouse has said.
The illusionist has appeared on TV, including the show Magic on the Edge and the Masters of Illusion special.
He spent 2008 touring China and Japan, and his show was named the “Best Touring Family Show in Asia.”
He looks forward to the Kennewick show after performing in town last year, he said.
“We’re excited to see everyone again. We have some new surprises in the show this year,” he said. “We promise it will be a great time.”
The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50.
A VIP ticket is available for $69.50 and includes premium seating, a program, a lanyard, a VIP badge and the chance to meet Owenhouse and one of his tigers. A portion of proceeds from the ticket go toward helping save tigers and cheetahs from extinction.