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House Theater plans season of ‘Magic’

Updated: July 24, 2012 9:45AM

The House Theatre of Chicago, which enjoyed huge success this past season with “Death and Harry Houdini” — the production in which magician Dennis Watkins gave Houdini a good run for his money — has announced its 2012-2013 season. And not surprisingly it has called on ensemble member Watkins to generate more magic.

Among the company’s five shows will be a remount of Watkins’ 2007 play, “The Magnificents” (Jan. 18-March 10, 2013), the tale of an extraordinary family whose success as tent performers has faded. When an old magician passes on special tricks to the young boy he mentors, he finds a way of keeping the legacy alive. Nathan Allen will direct, and aerial circus arts will be part of the mix.

Also on the lineup will be:

— “The Iron Stage King: Part One” (Aug. 31-Oct. 21), by Chris Matthews and Allen, which combines the classical fantasy of King Arthur and Norse mythology to spin a tale of American themes. It will include original music by Kevin O’Donnell and choreography by Tommy Rapley.

— “The Nutcracker” (Nov. 9-Dec. 30), a remount of the House’s popular updated twist on the E.T.A. Hoffman classic, with a book by Phillip Klapperich and Jake Minton. (The show also has become a popular attraction with The House’s producing partner, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.)

— “Ploughed Under: An American Songbook” (April 19-June 9, 2013), a work written and composed by O’Donnell, will weave American folk stories and tall tales into a theatrical concert drawing on African and Native-American folk music.

All productions will be staged at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. Meanwhile, Dennis Watkins will reprise his popular one-man show, “The Magic Parlour,” for an open run in an intimate 32-seat room in the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe.

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