Thursday, October 5, 2017

Consummate Conjuring at The Palmer House Hilton With Dennis Watkins' Magic Parlour

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


Bonnie Kenaz-Mara (AKA: ChiIL Mama), Dennis Watkins, and Cath Hellmann
October 2016

Last October it was my great pleasure to see Magic Parlour and enjoy the fabulous Lockwood Restaurant Prix Fix Magic Menu with my long time friend, Cath. She and I met in a theatre production together way back in 1989 and have remained fast friends ever since. This Friday I'll be returning to the luxuriously lovely Palmer House and the mystifying Magic Parlour once again with my magic loving teenage son. We can't wait!

*The show is open to guests ages 12 years and older*

Sure, everyone's heard about mega hit Hamilton: An American Musical, but mere blocks away from The CIBC Theatre, there's another stellar must see show, Dennis Watkins at Palmer House! Don't miss this. In the plush opulence of Palmer House, you'll experience mind boggling magic in an intimate setting, for an audience of 44. Dennis is undoubtedly Chicago's premiere prestidigitator. He has mad skills without arrogance or attitude, and he's charming, personable, and puts on a world class show.

The House Theatre of Chicago proudly announces the return of Dennis Watkins in The Magic Parlour, at the Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe, for an open run. Regular performances take place Fridays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., and Saturdays at 4:30, 7:30 and 9:30 p.m.* Tickets are $79 each, which includes wine and beer selections, and may be purchased at, or by calling The House Theatre of Chicago Box Office at 773.769.3832.  The Magic Parlour is an upscale event and cocktail attire is encouraged. 

            * Schedule is subject to change. Please consult when looking for the most updated schedule.

Since opening at The Palmer House on New Year’s Eve of 2011, The Magic Parlour has enjoyed phenomenal success and unimagined growth. With only 44 seats available per show, The Magic Parlour has entertained over 20,000 guests in its five year run. Additionally, it has hosted more than 700 ticketed audiences and dozens of private groups, facilitated three truly magical wedding proposals, and has been featured in two books (Chicago Magic: A History of Stagecraft and Spectacle and 100 Things to do in Chicago Before You Die).

Photos featuring Dennis Watkins in The Magic Parlour  by Ryan Bourque

The Magic Parlour is an intimate evening of classic magic and mind-reading featuring the work of third-Genegation magician Dennis Watkins. Guests to this intimate, magic-packed evening gather at Potter's in the Palmer House lobby before Watkins personally escorts them to the performance space. Once inside, the audience participates in much of the performance as Watkins wows the room with classic sleight of hand, unbelievable mind-reading and magical wisdom passed down from his grandfather. “Grandpa got the intimacy argument permanently right…and, fittingly, grandson pulls off his feats in a brightly lit room, his every act open for inspection, however impossible to explain away.” (Lawrence Bommer,  Third-generation magician Dennis Watkins, named “Chicago’s Official Magic Man (Chicago Sun-Times), regularly incorporates new pieces of magic into this long-running production, giving returning audiences brand new feats to puzzle over.

Now Chicago's long time favorite is internationally known! Check out Dennis on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, which recently aired on the CW!


The House is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. 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 art form.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 66 Joseph Jefferson Awards (23 wins), became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The 15th anniversary year of original work will begin September 2016 and The House will continue its mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.

The House Theatre of Chicago has partnered with Dennis Watkins to produce many magical theatrical experiences in its 16-year history. Most notably The House’s hit show Death & Harry Houdini which has had multiple sold-out runs in Chicago and several encore productions at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, FL, including one in May 2017 which was the reason for the recent Chicago hiatus of The Magic Parlour. Watkins’ original play, The Magnificents, has also enjoyed two successful Chicago runs and a critically acclaimed run at the Arsht.


The legendary AAA four-diamond rated hotel has been hosting visitors to the Chicago Loop for more than 140 years. Today, the Palmer House Hilton continues to thrive in the heart of the theatre and financial district, just steps from the Art Institute, Millennium Park and State Street shopping. A short walk away is Grant Park where summer festivals take place. Family attractions like the Chicago Children’s Museum and Navy Pier are just a quick cab ride away. The hotel features 130,000 sq. ft. of function space with more than 77 meeting rooms, seven ballrooms and two exhibition halls. Lockwood Restaurant & Bar, located just off the lobby, is open throughout the day serving contemporary American cuisine. Small plates and classic cocktails are served in Potter’s. Balance Spa features 14 treatment rooms including hydrotherapy services for the ultimate pampering. The fitness center offers over 10,000 sq. ft. of cardio and free weight equipment, an indoor pool, whirlpool, and saunas.

More Photo Favorites From ChiIL Mama's Adventures at Magic Parlour 2016

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