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Death and Harry Houdini

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.

“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.”

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.

The House Theatre of Chicago was founded in 2001 by a group of friends with the mission of exploring the ideas of Community and Storytelling in order to create a unique theatrical experience for audience members. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 45 Joseph Jefferson Awards (17 wins) and became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007. Now in its 9th year of producing original works, House performances can be seen at the Chopin Theatre in Wicker Park. Visit for more information.

Death and Harry Houdini plays in the intimate Carnival Studio Theater (Ziff Ballet Opera House) from April 26 – May 20, 2012 as part of the Theater Up Close season. The Arsht is located at 1300 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Florida, and houses the 2,400 seat Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, as well as the 2,200 seat John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall, and the 300 seat Carnival Studio Theater. For information, or to purchase tickets for the many diverse offering of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, you may contact them at 305-949-6722, or visit them online at

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is made possible by the public support of t he Miami-Dade County Major and the Board of County Commissioners, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, and the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council. It also receives generous support from private and corporate contributions to the Performing Arts Center Foundation of Greater Miami through it’s Membership Program, the City of Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, the Dade Community Foundation, The MAP-Fund, the Sate of Florida, the Department of State, the Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.