House Theatre of Chicago Announces Return of DEATH AND HARRY HOUDINI, 6/21-8/11

The House Theatre of Chicago announces that their 2012 hit production, Death and Harry Houdini, will return this summer to The Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division St.). Press Opening is Sunday June 30th at 7:30pm.

The company's dynamic production played to sold-out crowds in Chicago and Miami from January through August of 2012. Multiple extensions were not enough to fill ticket demand. The full cast and design team return to mount an 8-week run of the production from June 21 - August 11, 2013, giving another 5,000 theatre-lovers the chance to see the acclaimed production.

The Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for Artistic Specialization - Magic Design was given to Company Member Dennis Watkins in November 2012. He was honored alongside nominations for Best Production - Play Midsize, Best Direction, Best Lighting Design - Midsize, Best Costume Design - Midsize, Best Sound Design - Midsize, and Original Incidental Music.

Artistic Director Nathan Allen returned to his very first script having spent the last decade developing The House's voice. The House's original production in 2001 featured magic, music, dance, and film. Now Allen, along with The House's incredibly artistically diverse ensemble, has brought 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 award-winning 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.

For the 2013 production, Allen and Watkins will incorporate additional magic into the story, including an appearance of an entire school of fish.

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!

All eight cast members will return for the 2013 Production. House Company Member Carolyn Defrin takes on the role of Houdini's wife, Bess and Company Member Shawn Pfautsch (recently acclaimed for performances as Cyrano at The House and as Nanki-Poo in The Hypocrites' Mikado) plays Houdini's brother, Theo. Company Member Marika Mashburn plays Houdini's mother, Cecilia. Visiting artists Abu Ansari, Kevin Stangler, Trista Smith all reprise their roles. 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, many of whom were nominated for Joseph Jefferson Awards for their work in 2012. Collette Pollard has designed a bold industrial set, which is lit by Ben Wilhelm. Composer Kevin O'Donnell brought a new sound to the show and Lee Keenan designed costumes.

Join The House for the epic story of Harry Houdini and his life-long battle against Death for the 2013 Summer run, June 21 through August 11. Showtimes: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00pm beginning July 6th. All performances play The Chopin Theatre Upstairs Theatre (1543 W. Division St., Chicago, IL).

Tickets: $25 Previews June 21 - 29th, $40 Regular Run, $10 Student and Industry rush tickets available at all performances. Purchase at or by phone at 773.769.3832.. Tickets and Membership packages go on sale Monday February 4th.

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.

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