Spring Guide: ‘The Life (and Death) of Harry Houdini

SAGP_HoudiniPlay_0315

Credit: Ian Paul Guzzone

Harry Houdini will forever be known as the greatest escape artist of all time, but death can only be defied for so long. Brenna Geffers’ new play “The Life (and Death) of Harry Houdini,” which EgoPo Classic Theatre will present as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, tells the tale of a man for whom mortality was decidedly not a parenthetical concern.
“This is very much a story about Houdini’s relationship with the idea of death,” Geffers says. “You have to imagine a man who was so zesty for life that the only way to prove it was to do very death-defying, dangerous tricks.”
The show continues EgoPo’s season-long celebration of American vaudeville, for which Geffers also directed an all-female piece about Jesse James. “I’m interested in myths,” she says. “I think art has a big responsibility to not just celebrate old myths but to create new ones.”
The time machine theme of this year’s PIFA calls for pieces that take the audience back to a specific date in history, a happy coincidence given Geffers’ proclivity for shows that deal with pivotal moments in her characters’ lives. “I’m interested in pieces about the precipice of changes that people experience in life. This play takes place at the moment when Houdini draws his last breath, so it’s the biggest precipice  there can be.”
Geffers’ production will seat the audience on the stage, allowing them to share the escape artist’s vantage point as he flashes back through his life and ghostly applause echoes from the uninhabited seats. Houdini’s obsession with the afterlife extended off the stage as well, to his involvement with the spiritualist craze of the day.
“The more I researched Houdini, the more fascinating his life became,” Geffers says. “But anything that wasn’t connected with his relationship with death had to fall by the wayside. Expect to see something more along the lines of a ghost story than a magic show.”

If you go

‘The Life (and Death) of Harry Houdini’
March 27 to April 7
Plays & Players Theatre,
1714 Delancey St.
$25-$32, www.egopo.org



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Movies

Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Music

Tiesto headlines Made in America

Electronic music legend Tiesto is ready to get in touch with his inner Rocky at the Jay Z-curated Budweiser Made in America festival this weekend…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…