The Magic Touch

By Shanie Matthews | Friday, December 1, 2023

The captivating story of The Loft Theatre begins in a world of imagination and intrigue.

Through renowned magic and illusion headliners like David Copperfield, co-founder Paul Reder witnessed firsthand the mesmerizing power of magic and entertainment. This led him on a journey to create magic-themed productions inside casinos across the United States. Among them was the Horizon Casino Resort in Lake Tahoe. For 12 years, Reder kept audiences on the edges of their seats with mind-bending magic shows. But significant changes were on the horizon.

When Hard Rock took over the Horizon Casino, the long-running magic production show needed a new home. Serendipity intervened when Gary Casteel, Jr., presented The Loft with the last available space in Heavenly Village – a 6,000-square-foot area atop the Cinemas that had previously been used for storage. The Loft team, including partner Matt Stegemiller as well as architects and designers, passionately crafted a new vision.

Fueled by imagination and determination, they set out to create a magical haven where a theater, a high-end lounge and a stellar restaurant would converge harmoniously. The Loft Theatre’s Magic Fusion show was born in December 2015.

The Loft's emergence in Heavenly Village marked a defining moment in the magic community as it joined the 10 theaters in the United States dedicated to magic full time and the ranks of the illustrious Magic Castle in Hollywood, California. The recognition earned the venue prestige among magic enthusiasts and fans worldwide.

The Loft's resident magician and talent buyer, Robert Hall, curated the finest headliners with 75 minutes of comedy and magic suitable for all ages. These exceptional performers had graced prominent television shows like Penn & Teller: Fool Us! and Masters Of Illusion on the CW, cementing The Loft's status as a hub of magical excellence.

As the spotlight shone on The Loft, accolades and awards followed suit. The local community, captivated by The Loft’s unique concept, wholeheartedly embraced the venue. In its inaugural year, The Loft received several recognitions, including the Blue Ribbon Award for Tourism, Best Family Entertainment, Best Place to Have a Glass of Wine and Best New Business in Tahoe.

Amid these successes, The Loft also had an opportunity to transform its menu. Initially featuring Italian cuisine, The Loft took a culinary leap two years later. Led by partner Frank Trotta as both a visionary and executive chef, they embraced an American tapas concept to create TASTE at The Loft. This vibrant change elevated the dining experience, complementing the magical performances with culinary delights.

Throughout its history, The Loft encountered challenges, yet none had as much impact as the pandemic. As the world fell quiet, The Loft's stage stood empty. Resilient as ever, the owners sought ways to weather the storm. With the support of the community and creative seating arrangements, The Loft emerged triumphantly on the other side, eager to resume captivating audiences with its magic and entertainment.

The bond between The Loft and the Tahoe community remains unyielding. Recognized as the first full-time, public live theater on the California side of South Lake Tahoe, The Loft's presence has enriched the cultural fabric of the region. The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority (LTVA) and Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce have played a pivotal role in nurturing this partnership, amplifying The Loft's influence as a cultural landmark.

The Loft Theatre is not merely a venue; it is a testament to the enduring power of magic to unite people of all ages and backgrounds. It weaves a tapestry of captivating performances and culinary delights to provide an unforgettable experience and the full package for a fun night out. The nightly entertainment includes world-class comedy magicians performing in an intimate 107-seat, stadium-style theater. The lineup of performances includes a full slate of all-ages, family-friendly shows as well as a more limited selection of adult-oriented offerings. The menu at TASTE at The Loft and the entertainment acts change frequently, making the destination fun to visit multiple times a year. The Loft Lounge is a late-night hotspot in Heavenly Village.

(530) 523-8024
1001 Heavenly Village Way, South Lake Tahoe

About the Author Shanie Matthews
A longtime Lake Tahoe local, Shanie is a freelance writer, Vinyasa Flow yoga teacher and positivity warrior. A true lover of the the gorgeous Tahoe region, she connects with the serenity of the mountains via skiing, biking and backpacking. She also believes in the gift of yoga and its way of allowing one to become his or her true best self, a passion she shares with the world with her online yoga studio.