Death and Harry Houdini, Chicago’s sold-out theatrical production premieres in Miami – April 26 through May 20

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County proudly presents The House Theatre of Chicago’s critically-acclaimed production of DEATH and HARRY HOUDINI, commended by the Chicago Tribune as “Magic of the very highest order!” This play marks the second House Theatre of Chicago production presented at the Adrienne Arsht Center after last season’s The Sparrow. Written and directed by The House’s Artistic Director Nathan Allen, DEATH and HARRY HOUDINI delivers a roller coaster ride through the life of the great magician, Harry Houdini, and his life-long battle against Death. House Company Member and award-winning magician, Dennis Watkins, has joined the cast and is set to perform Houdini’s most renowned and dangerous escape—the dreaded Water Torture Cell—in this dark and tumultuous story guaranteed to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. DEATH and HARRY HOUDINIplays in the intimate Carnival Studio Theater (Ziff Ballet Opera House) from April 26 – May 20, 2012 as part of the Theater Up Close season.


Tickets to DEATH and HARRY HOUDINI start at $40, and may be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at Groups of 10+ should contact (786) 468-2326 or


“It is a pleasure to once again work with the stellar House Theatre of Chicago,” said M. John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “Last year’s ‘The Sparrow’ captivated audiences with its dramatic storyline and surprising innovation. This year, we’re looking forward to The House’s take on Harry Houdini’s life and, most of all, the rare opportunity to witness his most infamous and extraordinary acts of magic.”


DEATH and HARRY HOUDINI playwright, Nathan Allen, has made his much-anticipated return to his first original script having spent the last decade developing The House’s voice. The House’s original production of the Houdini-based play contained magic, music, dance, and film. Now, Allen–along with The House’s incredibly diverse ensemble of artists–brings thrilling new magic acts and an unparalleled ensemble theater experience to the life of history’s greatest magician.


Dennis Watkins, celebrated actor and third-generation, award-winning magician, brings a lifetime of creating magic to the character of Harry Houdini. Watkins has designed a fantastic landscape that highlights many of Houdini’s original creations as well as a performance of 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. This ingenious production boasts the first-ever recorded performance of The Water Torture Cell in the round.


Dennis Watkins’ grandfather passed down his legacy of magic as the owner of one of the nation’s first mail-order magic shops and successful up-close magician. Watkins still cherishes a set of original photos his grandfather took as a child of Harry Houdini performing the Hudson River Packing Box Escape. “Giving away such magical experiences runs as deep in my family as it does in The House Theater’s ethos and aesthetic. Grandpa used to tell me that the point is not to fool people. The point is to make them imagine. Give people a gift by letting them experience what they have forgotten: what it was like to be a kid. It is about them. It is never about you,’’ said Watkins.


DEATH and HARRY HOUDINI will close the Arsht Center’s 2011-12 Theater Up Close series, which features artistic collaborations from stellar local theater ensembles and nationally acclaimed theater companies. The 2012-2013 season will be announced later this spring!


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