The first spark of inspiration for magician Adam Trent came when he was about 8 years old, watching a David Copperfield performance. But it was the comedy involved that got him hooked, he says, not the magic.
"I just remember my entire family laughing at everything," Trent said in a recent phone interview. "It was the first time that the whole family left just raving about how much fun we all had. So I got home, and I was like, 'Well, whatever that was, that's what I need to be doing.'"
Trent -- who performs tonight and Wednesday night at Rudder Auditorium, presented by MSC OPAS -- set out to learn more about magic, starting with books, card tricks and coin tricks in his hometown of Boulder, Colorado. As he got older, he landed jobs working birthday parties for children, then moved on to performing at middle-school auditoriums. For the young magician, there were no rabbit-in-hat tricks, thanks to his mother.
"I always wanted one, but my mom crushed that idea," the 32-year-old says. "She was like, 'You won't be doing anything with animals or birds. Figure something else out.' In hindsight, that was probably the best thing that she could've ever said to me, because I'm very thankful now that I'm not traveling with animals."
Trent's tour is produced by the team behind The Illusionists, a large-scale magic show that he performed in on Broadway and around the country. His brand of magic goes well beyond sleight-of-hand tricks and moves toward "technologically based illusions," he says. Some of these illusions incorporate complex light displays that are in sync with his movements.
In keeping with the fun-for-all concept, Trent puts an emphasis on comedy and audience participation. He also says that music is "a huge driving force in my style of magic."
"I used to go see these boy-band concerts, and I saw the way they were dancing around and had all these flashing lights," he says. "I was like, 'That would be amazing if we could just incorporate magic into that.' That was always the dream style of performance."
As Trent's name in magic circles has risen, so has his exposure. He's been a frequent guest on television shows, including the Today Show and America's Got Talent. He says his most memorable appearance came on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show in 2016.
"I think Ellen is kind of looked at as sort of the holy grail of talk shows to go on," Trent says. "When Ellen called me to come on and perform, it was certainly a huge moment. It's so much more than just a show; it's kind of like a pop-culture phenomenon."
The best and worst part of life as a magician is the travel, Trent says. He's on the road 250 days a year, which makes time with family and friends a challenge. But he points out that he has "met people and seen places that I would've never ever gone had I not been doing this."
"At the end of the day, I'm very grateful to be doing this," he says. "This is something I've dreamed about every single day since I was a little kid. I always dreamed about touring the world and doing magic shows for theaters full of strangers, and that's what I'm doing now."