Thursday, December 15, 2011

The House Theatre of Chicago revives 'Death and Harry Houdini'

Press ReleaseThe House Theatre of Chicago continues its 10th anniversary season with an all-new re-imagining of the company’s inaugural production and first ever hit, Death and Harry Houdini, opening on January 29, 2011 at The Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division St.).

Artistic Director Nathan Allen returns to his very first script having spent the last decade developing The House’s voice. The House’s original production featured magic, music, dance, and film. Now Allen, along with The House’s incredibly diverse ensemble of artists, bring their experience in creating ensemble theater and devising story to the life of history’s greatest magician, while reaching deep into its bag of tricks to create an altogether new theatrical event.

Company Member, actor and nationally renown magician Dennis Watkins brings a lifetime of creating magic to the character of Harry Houdini. Watkins has designed a magical landscape for The House to play in that includes many of Houdini’s original creations, as well as an onslaught of classic magic driving the story’s narrative.

Additionally, Watkins performs Houdini’s most infamous stage escape, The Water Torture Cell, in which he is locked upside down in a tank of water, with only as much time to escape as he has air in his lungs. The Water Torture Cell, as performed by Houdini, is a rarely-seen stage escape. Furthermore, The House boasts the first-ever recorded performance of The Water Torture Cell in the round. This escape gives the audience the one-of-a-kind opportunity to witness magical history from inches away!

House Company Member Carolyn Defrin takes on the role of Houdini’s wife, Bess and Company Member Shawn Pfautsch (recently seen as Cyrano at The House) plays Houdini’s brother, Theo. Company Member Marika Mashburn plays Houdini’s mother, Cecilia. Visiting artists Abu Ansari, Kevin Stangler, Trista Smith join the cast. The ensemble is led by Company Member Johnny Arena as The Ringmaster.

The show features the work of an all-star Company Member Design Team. Collette Pollard has designed a bold industrial set, which is lit by Ben Wilhelm. Composer Kevin O’Donnell brings a new sound to the show and Lee Keenan designs costumes.

Join The House for the epic story of Harry Houdini and his life-long battle against Death beginning January 29th and running through March 11th. Previews begin January 19.

For more information and to buy tickets visit the official House Theater of Chicago website.

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