Magician Rick Boretti, center, is known for enlisting kids in the audience to help perform his magic tricks onstage. [Photo by Jeff Flanders]

What is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable things that you can do in downtown Moab?

For many people, it’s the chance to see Moab’s own award-winning magician, Rick Boretti, at Moab Backyard Theater on Thursdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m.

Sand and Sunnie Sheff manage the informal outdoor venue just behind Zax at 56 S. 100 West, which features a variety of local and visiting acts.

Boretti’s fabulous tricks and hilariously dry sense of humor are a big draw for local residents and visitors alike. A look around the audience reveals that they are all beaming widely and laughing uncontrollably.

The hallmark of his show is pulling virtually all of the kids in the audience – at one time or another – to participate in the tricks onstage – a connection that many find heartwarming and funny.

When asked about his first experience with magic, Boretti says, “My sister said she was getting $200 a trick and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s for me!’”

Truth be told, he was actually inspired by the sight of Marshall Brodien selling tricks on TV. “When I learned to do a cut and restored rope, my life was never the same,” he says.

Boretti says his biggest enjoyment comes from seeing people’s reactions to his act.

“I’ve seen some amazing things,” he says. “Working with kids and having the kids do magic at the hospital … has been very fun and rewarding. I have had people who are going through hard times come up and tell me how much my magic has meant to them. It’s great to see adults become kids again and the look of amazement on the faces. I like to laugh and have fun and people around me to (enjoy themselves). Magic is a great way to do this.”

As the late Levon Helm put it so well, he says, “My job is to make people feel good, and show them a good time and what a blessing that is.”

When it comes to learning new tricks, Boretti says they can vary.

“I have been working on some for years and they are not ready for the stage yet. Some have been from making a mistake and improvising at the moment. Knowing and practicing a lot of sleight-of-hand moves is the best for the situation at hand. I don’t feel a new trick is complete until I have performed it at least 100 times.”

Boretti says he doesn’t actually like to watch other magicians too much.

“I don’t want to use other magicians’ material,” he says. “I like sessioning with other magicians and bouncing ideas back and forth. That being said, some great magicians I’ve watched and enjoyed are Bill Malone, Mac King, Aldo Colombini (and) Josh Jay. I guess I could name a couple hundred more, but I won’t.”

Moab resident Janet Underwood says that when she first moved here, her neighbor insisted that she see Boretti’s show. She has since taken her nephews and several friends along with her.

“What a hoot,” she said. “He is really impressive. (I) loved how he included young kids and old folks like me. I got to get on stage and he suggested that no one should take the ace of spades. I did and after

all sorts of card tricks, well – I had the card on my forehead, that’s right, the ace of spades.”

If this show was in a big city, you would easily pay $25 or more to see it. For Moab Backyard Theater guests, it’s $5.

Local resident Colleen Beever says she takes her out-of-town visitors to the show all the time.

“I’ve seen several of Rick’s shows and every time I leave, I’m shaking my head, wondering, ‘How did he do that?’” Beever says. “The Backyard Theater is one of the best affordable family entertainment shows in Moab.”

What: Magic Show with award-winning magician Rick Boretti

When: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m.

Where: Moab Backyard Theater, behind Zax at 56 W. 100 South

Cost: $5


I have had people who are going through hard times come up and tell me how much my magic has meant to them. It’s great to see adults become kids again and the look of amazement on the faces.

Moab resident performs Thursdays through Saturdays at Backyard Theater