EgoPo Classic Theater to Present THE LIFE (AND DEATH) OF HARRY HOUDINI, 3/29-4/7
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by BWW News Desk
EgoPo Classic Theater will present the world premiere of The Life (and Death) of Harry Houdini. This one-of-a-kind theater piece is being created by and under the direction of EgoPo's, Brenna Geffers. This is the second installment of EgoPo's season long American Vaudeville Festival and will be presented as part of the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts. Houdini will be performed on the mainstage at Plays and Players Theater. Press opening will be Friday, March 29th and the show will run until April 7th.
EgoPo Classic Theater is Philadelphia's only theater company to create year-long festivals that take audiences on a full exploration of a single genre, playwright, or era. This year's American Vaudeville Festival exposes the roots of the American imagination by exploring this formative era of America's history. From the touring shows of the 1880's to the birth of Broadway in the 1920's, EgoPo invites audiences to join us for the stories that formed our country's identity and united us into one people.
EgoPo's Harry Houdini gives Philadelphia audiences a unique chance to explore one of the most popular figures of the Vaudeville era, Houdini. This young Jewish magician began his career by first performing in small Vaudeville dime museums and grew to fame producing films and even de-bunking spiritualists. From his Chinese Water Torture Cell to being Buried Alive, Houdini became the highest paid performer of the Vaudeville Era.
EgoPo's Houdini takes audiences to Houdini's final performance. Beginning with the infamous blow to the magician's stomach, we enter a kaleidoscopic magic show that is Houdini's life flashing before his eyes.
A magician's assistant prepares the absinthe, the shackles, and a séance. Houdini gasps for breath as a crowd applauds. Reality and illusion collide and only the audience can tell truth from fiction. After a lifetime of death defying escapes, Houdini prepares to take his final curtain call.
EgoPo has assembled a talented cast and crew, with several familiar EgoPo faces, to bring this magic show to life.
EgoPo is pleased to welcome back Robert Daponte as Harry Houdini. Mr. DaPonte has been a professional actor in Philadelphia for over 8 years. His past EgoPo credits include Spring Awakening, Waiting for Godot, and last year's A Dybbuk.
Mr. DaPonte is thrilled to be exploring the great illusionist and says, "Harry would be the first one to tell his audiences that his illusions were based on sleight of hand, not magic. He was the most famous stage magician of all time, a man perceived to have super heroic abilities by his scores of fans; but it is Houdini as fallible human being which interests me. His doubts about the prospect of an afterlife mirror our own..."
EgoPo is pleased to bring Lee Minora on board for the first time as Bess, Houdini's wife. Ms. Minora hails from Scranton, PA -coincidentally, home to the world's only Houdini Museum. As an original member of Found Theatre, Ms. Minora is thrilled to work with EgoPo on this world premiere.
Griffin Stanton-Ameisen re-joins EgoPo as Dash, Houdini's brother. Mr. Ameisen's past EgoPo credits includeMarat/Sade and The Golem. He is also an Artistic Associate of The Renegade Theater Company and has worked as an actor in Philadelphia since receiving his MFA from The University of Nevada.
EgoPo is also proud to feature Maryruth Stine and Tyler Horn for the first time, both only recently returning back to the Philadelphia theater community. Ms. Stine has been touring internationally, presenting commedia dell' arte projects, while Mr. Horn has spent three years working at Creede Repertory Theatre in Colorado.
EgoPo will welcome back Doug Greene, acclaimed set designer of The Assassination of Jesse James,to design the set of Houdini which will explode the proscenium by bringing audiences behind the scenes of this magic show. EgoPo also welcomes back costume designer, Natalia de la Torre (EgoPo's Anne Frank and Jesse James), to design the dark and elegant world of Harry Houdini.
Brenna Geffers serves as director and creator of this world premiere. Ms. Geffers has worked with EgoPo for the past six years and has directed many EgoPo productions including The Golem, Marat/Sade, and Waiting for Godot among many others. She has created new work for the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theater, the Philadelphia Artists Collective, The Metropolitan Theater in NYC, and as a guest artist at Temple University. She is also a freelance director in Philadelphia.
The script of The Life (and Death) of Harry Houdini will receive a reading at the National Constitution Center on Saturday, March 23rd at 1:00pm. Audiences are encouraged to join us for this special reading followed by a discussion of the Vaudeville and Prohibition eras with EgoPo's resident dramaturge, Glenn Odom, The National Constitution Center's Director of Theater Programs, Nora Quinn, and Director of Houdini, Brenna Geffers. FREE with admission to the National Constitution Center. For more information on this reading please visitwww.constitutioncenter.org.
EgoPo is also happy to further our partnership with the National Constitution Center as well as re-partner with theNational Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) to create a limited-time package: Houdini, Hooch, and History. This special package allows patrons to see a production of EgoPo's Houdini, explore the Constitution Center's American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition exhibition, and experience NMAJH's core and special exhibitions- all for the deeply discounted price of $45. Packages will be available for purchase from EgoPo's website throughout the month of March. For more information on the Houdini, Hooch, and History Package please visit www.egopo.org.
EgoPo Classic Theater's
The Life (and Death) of Harry Houdini runs March 29th through April 7th at Plays and Players Theater as part of the PIFA Festival. Wednesday through Friday performances are at 8pm; Saturday performances are at 2pm and 8pm; Sunday performances are at 2pm and 5pm.
Tickets: $20.00 - $38.00