Thursday, January 10, 2013

'Harry the Great' escapes

Looks like I completely missed Harry the Great when it played last July at the Creede Repertory Theatre and later at the Lone Tree Arts Center in Colorado. Harry the Great features a battle of magicians set against the backdrop of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, with one of those magicians being, yes, Houdini!

Erik Weisz (Brian Kusic) prepares to vanish Bess Rahner (Kyra Koelling).

However, Houdini is not the "Harry" of the title. That is Harry Robenstein played by Steven Cole. Here Houdini is "Erik Weisz" (their spelling) played by Brian Kusic. The play was written by John DiAntonio and offers up an alternative history of how Houdini/Erik embarked on his career, met Bess (Kyra Koelling), and came up with the idea for the Water Torture Cell.

I only learned about Harry the Great from a report and rave review by Joe Given in the January issue of MAGIC. Unfortunately, the show has finished its limited run.

Where might it play next? MAGIC reports that if playwright John DiAntonio has his way, "it'll be seen 'playing across the street from the Hugh Jackman Broadway musical, Houdini!'"

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