Dennis Watkins on the art of being Harry Houdini
The House Theatre's smash hit, Death and Harry Houdini, reaches the end of it's final extension today. This is, without a doubt, one of our favorite shows of the year.
We published this interview with the show's lead, Dennis Watkins, back in the spring on Facebook and Twitter, but want it to live on in a searchable archive form, so we're breaking it back out at both ChiIL Live Shows.com and ChiIL Mama.com to celebrate the show's close.
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 "the magician's lair" here.
In our interview, Dennis expounds on the history of the show, Death and Harry Houdini, and it's numerous reincarnations with The House Theatre since 2001. He gives insight into how to prep for the physically and mentally challenging role and how being successful at illusion isn't about ego and mastering trick, but it's all about the magic and wonder going on in the audience's heads.
My husband and I caught Death and Harry Houdini opening night and loved it so much I spent months trying to buy tickets to take the kids back to see it. The run originally sold out in minutes, and although I was stalking their Facebook page, every time a trickle of tickets became available, they got scooped up before I could get my finger on the button.
We finally scored a block of tickets and my kids were able to see the show for my son's March birthday, with one of his best friends. As I'd expected, the kids were enamored with the show and amazed with the acting and the illusions. We all sincerely hope that this is not the last we've seen of Harry Houdini, skillfully brought back to life by Chi-town's own magician extraordinaire, Dennis Watkins!
“A highly polished and visually thrilling show…
- Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
“…high energy, buzzy blend of traditional storytelling, music and spectacle…
– Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago
“Soars on Dennis Watkins’ brilliance as a genuine magician and fearless stuntman…
– Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times
We've seen numerous productions by The House Theatre over the years and they do not disappoint. We highly recommend you check out their 11th season.
(click the show title for tickets and more info)
- Ploughed Under: An American Songbook
- The Magnificents
- The Nutcracker
- The Iron Stag King: Part One
- Magic Parlour
THE IRON STAG KING: PART ONE
Dennis Watkins can still be seen performing
The Magic Parlour every Friday night at The Palmer House.