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Top Vegas magician comes to East Bay for a good cause

Vegas magician Seth Grabel headlines St. Rose Hospital gala this Saturday

Magician Seth Grabel usually works his wonders in an upscale nightclub in Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Resort. But this weekend, East Bay residents won't need to hop a Southwest flight to see Grabel perform—he will headline the St. Rose Hospital Foundation's annual gala, a fabulous tented event at the Hayward hospital. We chatted with Grabel, who made a big splash on America's Got Talent, about his bag of tricks.

You usually play Las Vegas. How often do you perform in the Bay Area?

I try to stay in Vegas, but I’ll be in San Francisco three times in October. I’ve never performed in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve only been there on vacation. I’m bringing a great show, I have four dancers coming with me and we’re going to give everyone a great time! This gala on Saturday is supposed to be a really cool event. We’re the main act, and I just can’t wait.

Are you a fan of the classic Vegas entertainers, such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and the rest of the Rat Pack?

Not so much—my idols are the great dancers: Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson, more than the Rat Pack. They were just before my time.

It's obviously hard to describe a magic act in a written piece, but can you try?

I’ve got a lot of dance, comedy, illusions, with acrobatics intertwined throughout the whole thing. It’s a very unique approach, it’s like Cirque de Soleil meets David Copperfield.

You were on four episodes of America’s Got Talent. What was that like for your exposure? And, was it more difficult to do magic on television than in front of a live audience?

That was so amazing. I’ve been working my butt off for ten years trying to make a name for myself. But then I was on AGT and 11 million people saw me on every single episode. Ever since, I get these random people stopping me for pictures and autographs. It was so hard to do it for television; to build up the trick, create rapport with the audience, and do it all in 90 seconds.

The St. Rose Hospital Foundation's It's Magic Gala is October 1. For more information, click here. For more about Seth Grabel, go to SethGrabel.com.