Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ACT OUT OPENING: The Magnificents at The House Theatre #originalvideointerview


Dennis Watkins speaks with ChiIL Live Shows on his multigenerational, magical family history and the art of being Harry Houdini.

We published this interview with Dennis Watkins, back during The House Theatre's latest remount of smash hit, Death and Harry Houdini.

It was our great pleasure to be invited to Dennis' lovely northside home.  His passion for magic extends from the stage to his after hours, where he surrounds himself with vintage magic props that have been in the family, collector posters of renowned magicians, and even a Houdini coffee table volume.   Check out our mini photo tour of "the magician's lair" here.


We got a rare peek into the home of magic man, Dennis Watkins, star of Death and Harry Houdini, The House Theatre's smash, sell out hit. His love of magic goes beyond his roles in Magic Parlour and Death and Harry Houdini. He's a 3rd generation magician whose home decor includes vintage tricks from his Grandfather's shop and sweet magic show posters, for his own endeavors and others. A big show banner from The House Theatre's first incarnation of Death and Harry Houdini 10 years ago, hangs just inside his front door.

AN AMBITIOUS ALL-NEW PRODUCTION OF
THE MAGNIFICENTS REUNITES TEAM
FROM DEATH AND HARRY HOUDINI
Dennis Watkins’ personal script is led anew by Artistic Director Nathan Allen
The House Theatre of Chicago creates the magical world of a by-gone era in The Magnificents. This vivid and deeply personal play by Company Member Dennis Watkins begins performances January 18, 2013 at The Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division St). The Magnificents will run through March 10.
ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Live Shows will be there for the press opening with the kids (9 & 11) this Sunday, and we'll have a full review up shortly thereafter.   We're all beyond excited and can NOT wait to see this show!
ABOUT THE PLAY
First staged in 2007, The Magnificents is writer Dennis Watkins’ homage to his grandfather, Ed Watkins, the iconic and pioneering American illusionist who trained Dennis at a young age in the arts of prestidigitation and showmanship. The House and playwright Dennis Watkins revisit this deeply personal script with renewed vision and expanded skill including aerial circus arts and the poignant, magic-based storytelling witnessed in Death and Harry Houdini. Artistic Director Nathan Allen now steps fully into the 2013 development of the play as its Director. Company Member Tommy Rapley revisits his role as the Boy, performing astounding magical feats all designed by Watkins. In addition to writing and designing magic, Watkins (last seen as Harry Houdini) will star in the play.
An extraordinary family, The Magnificents, delights in bringing magical entertainment to the crowds. But time has taken its toll on the family as our aging magician quietly accepts a wayward young boy as his protégé, imparting far more than the tricks up his sleeve. This touching story of what we must pass on before we can let go is told with spectacular classic magic, including Robert Houdin's legendary Blooming Orange Tree illusion. This is a delicate feast for the heart and senses.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
THE MAGNIFICENTS is written by Dennis Watkins who also designs magic for the production. Watkins received a Joseph Jefferson Award earlier this year for his Magic Design of Death and Harry Houdini. The new production is directed by Nathan Allen and features original music by Kevin O’Donnell.
Dennis Watkins will star in the role of the Old Man, and Company Member Tommy Rapley (also well known at The House for his extensive work as a director and choreographer) will revisit his role as the Boy, learning and performing extraordinary magic throughout the story. Company Member Michael E. Smith also returns to the cast in the role of Chase, the family’s clown. Guests artists include Lucy Carapetyan (Rose and the Rime, Lofty Deeds) in the role of Honeydew who will be flying through the Chopin on aerial silks, Jeff Trainor (company member with Barrel of Monkeys) appears as the strong man Harley, and Tien Doman (company member with The Hypocrites) rounds out the cast as Rosie, wife to the Old Man and mother-figure to the traveling troupe.
Company Member Lee Keenan brings us all inside the creaking and crumbling tent with an intimate scenic and lighting design. With seating on two sides, audiences are in full view of the illusions and one another. Costume Designer Melissa Torchia (The Iron Stag King: Part One) crafts a darkly playful world where the on-stage and off-stage lives of The Magnificents’ troupe is blurred. Video Designer Jack Mayer’s (HBO’s Single Long) creations reveal the secret past of the traveling show and invite the audience even closer to many magic tricks. Company Member and Composer Kevin O’Donnell fills the space with a haunting score.
Join The House for an extraordinarily magical production, The Magnificents.
Story and Magic by Dennis Watkins Directed by Nathan Allen January 18 – March 10, 2013
PREVIEWS: January 18 – 26, 2013 at 7:30pm
REGULAR RUN: January 31 – March 10, 2013
SHOWTIMES: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30pm ADDITIONAL SHOWS: 2/16, 2/23, 3/2, 3/3, 3/9, 3/10 all at 3:00pm LOCATION: The Chopin Theatre Upstairs Theatre (1543 W. Division St., Chicago, IL)
TICKETS: All tickets are $25 at www.thehousetheatre.com or by phone at 773.769.3832, $10 Student and Industry rush tickets available at all performances. Tickets are now on sale.
ARTISTS Featuring: Company Members Dennis Watkins, Tommy Rapley, and Michael E. Smith with guest artists Lucy Carapetyan, Tien Doman, and Jeff Trainor.
Production Team: Lee Keenan (Scenic and Lighting), Melissa Torchia (Costumes), Kevin O’Donnell (Composer), Jack Mayer (Video), Nathan Allen (Director) and Amanda Frechette (Stage Management).
ABOUT THE HOUSE THEATRE OF CHICAGO The House is Chicago's premier home for original works of physical and spectacle storytelling. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.
The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. In 2002 The House was hailed by the Chicago press as “The Next Big Thing.” In early 2007, following dozens of world premiere productions, and national attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Variety, and American Theatre Magazine, The House achieved even greater success with “The Sparrow,” which Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones called, “Among the very best original theater pieces I’ve ever seen.”
Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 56 Joseph Jefferson Awards (19 wins) and became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007. Now entering its 11th year of original work, The House continues its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT www.THEHOUSETHEATRE.com

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