THE VANISHING ELEPHANT Comes to New Victory Theater Next Month

The performances run from October 14 through October 29.

By: Sep. 27, 2023
THE VANISHING ELEPHANT Comes to New Victory Theater Next Month

The Vanishing Elephant, produced by Belfast’s Cahoots NI, will kick off the New Victory Theater’s 2023-24 season with a dazzling display of life-size puppetry from October 14 through October 29 at Stage 42. Inspired by the famous ‘vanishing elephant’ trick performed by Harry Houdini in NYC in 1918, this moving story of friendship highlights Cahoots’ distinctive theatrical style, combining the visual potential of theater with the age-old popularity of magic and illusion. 

Featuring elephant puppets that grow from tot to teen to towering adult, this jumbo journey follows Jenny the elephant as she is captured and taken from India to America, far from her family and her forever friend, Opu. Swept up in the circus, Jenny makes magic and history as “The Vanishing Elephant” alongside Harry Houdini himself - but she never stops thinking of home. Performed by a cast of nine actors from India, Austria, UK, US and Ireland, The Vanishing Elephant reflects on topics of migration, displacement, new beginnings, and acceptance, and explores what it means to belong.

Due to necessary renovations at the historic New Victory Theater, all performances of The Vanishing Elephant will be presented at Stage 42 (422 W 42nd Street).  More information about this short-term change can be found Click Here

“Bringing this new piece of theater to the New Victory Theater in New York is a very special moment and one of which we are incredibly proud, ” said Cahoots’ Artistic Director Paul Bosco McEneaney. “The Vanishing Elephant has been in the works for several years, so breathing life into its characters on stage in the city that inspired the story is wonderful. We are lucky to be working with such a talented line-up of performers, crew and creatives that will make this piece a true stand-out.”

The Vanishing Elephant is produced by Cahoots, supported by Culture Ireland and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and presented in partnership with Belfast International Arts Festival with support from British Council NI. Since its inception in 2001, Cahoots has produced original, innovative work for children, some staged in conventional theater venues and some in purpose-designed sites or specific locations, including schools and healthcare settings. Cahoots’ Nivelli’s War played at the New Victory in April and May of 2017. 

“My aim is to program work for young audiences that contains a vast range of emotions to experience in the theater - joy, heartache, silliness, tragedy, beauty, grief, wonder, and more. There’s room for all of it!” said Mary Rose Lloyd, New 42 Artistic Director. “The Vanishing Elephant is a particularly epic story, interrogating subjects that kids don’t come across every day, but I think will find that they feel passionate about. We are thrilled to have Cahoots inaugurate our season with this epic production.”

The Vanishing Elephant runs 70 minutes with no intermission and is recommended for everyone 8 and up. Content considerations for this production include depictions of animal cruelty. 

Tickets start at $24 and are available at the New Victory Box Office (209 W 42nd Street) leading up to the performance as well as at the Stage 42 Box Office (422 W 42nd Street) starting two hours before curtain time on performance days. For box office hours, please visit Tickets can also be purchased online at and via phone by calling 646.223.3010. 

The show on stage is just one part of the visitor experience! For 45 minutes before and 20 minutes after every show, the lobby of Stage 42 features free do-together activities in which families can try new performance skills or explore the show’s themes. Whether they are wild, wallflowers or somewhere in between, New Victory will guide children through fun family engagement inspired by the show.

The Vanishing Elephant is written by Charles Way and directed by Paul Bosco McEneaney, with music from Aoife Kavanagh and MD Pallavi, choreography from Jayachandran Palazhy, and animal puppetry from Helen Foan of Foan & Fortune Theatre Company. 

Powered by New 42, the New Victory Theater is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; the National Endowment for the Arts; as well as the New 42 Board of Directors, and our dedicated foundation, corporate and individual donors.

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