I’m not afraid to admit it: I believe in magic. That’s why I couldn’t wait to see Seth Grabel’s Magic on Maui, the newest magical experience to hit our shores. It’s a high-energy show at the Maui Theatre in Lahaina. Grabel mixes acrobatics, magic and plenty of audience engagement. We were blown away by tricks, and in stitches over some of the audience antics.
Turns out that Grabel grew up magically inclined under his dad, magician Gary Grabel.
“My dad has been a magician my whole life,” he said. “I always watched him doing magic growing up. But you know, it was his thing, not my thing. When I was five years old, he got me a magic kit and I was enthralled by doing that magic. I had lots of fun. But then I got discouraged and I went away from it for a while. But during college, I got back into it.”
Grabel says he has a strong attachment to magic.
“I can’t not practice magic,” he said. “I have tried. I got discouraged at one point and stopped doing magic. But it just came back to me. It’s in my blood. What magic is to me is an outlet to make people smile. I get to brighten someone’s day, I get to have a good time and you never know where magic will lead you.”
I asked my 10-year-old, who’s a big fan of magic, what she liked best at Grabel’s show. “Magic is just so mysterious,” she said. “It gets your brain thinking. After the show, all I could think about was how does he do those things?”
There’s a lot of audience participation in Grabel’s illusions, and my daughter got to play a part in one of his card tricks. It stupefied her for days. But that’s the fun in the show.
“I bring peoples’ personalities out and have fun with them,” Grabel said. “My whole goal is to bring magic out of someone else. Everyone has a bit of magic in them. What I do is make them see it, and they are amazed. To me that is so gratifying.”
Gravel was born and raised in Los Angeles but lives in Vegas now, where he’s been for the past 20 years. He gained quite a bit of fame from his appearances on the sixth season of America’s Got Talent.
“America’s Got Talent is a huge platform,” Grabel said. “It’s one of the biggest platforms in the world. I got to the finals, I got very far. It was a wonderful experience. I got to have the hugest stage in America and it was a lot of work. It taught me how to be diligent and strive for success.”
Magic is his lifestyle, but Grabel admitted that his college education still comes in handy.
“I studied hotel management with a minor in marketing,” he says. “Marketing is 90 percent of the business of entertainment. A lot of entertainers don’t understand that. But marketing is a big push, and if you don’t market, you don’t get there. “
Grabel has yet to master the art of living on Maui Time. In fact, he hasn’t taken a day off yet.
“I have been on Maui for nine days,” he told me. “I wish I could say I’ve had time to explore, but I have literally been so busy with the show! Tomorrow is the first day I’m going to go relax, go have a leisurely lunch and relax at the beach. I really want to go a bamboo forest. I have a bamboo trick I’m working on in my hotel room.”
Adding the Hawaii element to his show has kept him busy.
“We added a few different illusions that are Hawaiian based,” Grabel said. “We created the show just for Hawaii, and it’s really difficult to create custom made illusions. We added a few subtle things to the show. We are only here for one month! The longer I’m here, the more I’m adding. There’s so much mysticism here, it’s wonderful! Everything from the tiki to the seashells.”
You can catch Seth Grabel’s magic shows on Saturdays and Sundays at the Maui Theatre, but only through July 10. Go to MauiTheatre.com for more information and to reserve tickets.