June 21, 2018

The Tempest with Teller magic and Tom Waits music

I had the great good fortune to catch the last night of a compelling version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” at the Smith Center in Las Vegas. While the Smith Center complex itself has two lovely performing spaces, a tent was erected on the arts center property for this inventive production featuring magic devised by Teller (of Penn & Teller fame), music by Tom Waits and his wife, Kathleen Brennan and  the artistic vision of director Aaron Posner. The acting, costumes, set and lighting were, well, magical. Even though I was seated just a few rows from the stage, I had no clue how some of the illusions were done including a levitating gold crown and a man standing at an acute angle. Caliban was played by two hunky Pilobulus dancer/athletes who writhed as one, Ariel is played by card sharp Nate Dendy and Prospero was portrayed by fine actor Tom Nelis. Four fantastic musicians punctuate the scenes with vocals, percussion, bass and accordion. Never have I experienced this Shakespearean masterwork with more clarity and delight.

“The Tempest” goes next to A.R.T. in Cambridge, MA  for a run May 11 to June 15, 2014. More touring venues may occur, so keep your ears open for word of a production near you. You won’t want to miss this if you are a fan of the Bard, Tom Waits or just plain magical theater.


Sean Masterson’s Magic Matinee

If you like magic, and who doesn’t, do yourself a favor and get a ticket for Sean Masterson’s Magic Matinee running every Saturday at 2 PM through May 4 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Just over an hour, the vaudeville-type show is geared for fans of sleight-of-hand and for families as the inimitable Masterson invites selected children and adults to help with his feats of legerdemain. I was unwittingly asked to aid in one of the magic acts and I still can’t figure out how he did what he did even though I was right there.
A prestidigious master on the Chicago scene, Masterson has performed his shows at The Mayne Stage, The Music Box Theatre, The Actor’s Gym, The Acorn Theater and the Driehaus Museum. A dual citizen of the United States and France, Sean has also appeared in Festimagic in Paris and The International Theater Festival in Grenoble.

Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL
For tickets and info: https://www.theaterwit.org/tickets/productions/127/performances#top or call (773) 975-8150

Saturdays at 2 PM through May 4th
$13 for children – $16 for adults
For more information on Sean Masterson, visit: mastersonmagic.com