The Houdini Box, a critically acclaimed world premiere musical from Chicago Children’s Theatre has “come to the neighborhood.” On the heels of a hugely successful staging at Chicago’s Mercury Theater it’s playing at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 N. Skokie Blvd. in Skokie now through March 25.
Based on children’s author and illustrator Brian Selznick’s popular first novel about a young boy named Victor determined to follow in the footsteps of his idol, famed magician and escape artist Harry Houdini, the fun, fast-paced one-hour show presents an original score, amazingly inventive set design and puppets sure to wow the Sesame Street set. It’s considered appropriate for young theatre patrons 5 and up and will also thoroughly engage parents and grandparents intent on introducing the concept of non screen-based entertainment to the youngsters. We don’t know what was more fun – watching the show or watching the kids watch the show.
After his debut novel on which The Houdini Box is based, Caldecott-winning children’s author Brian Selznick went on to pen The Invention of Hugo Cabret, now familiar to worldwide audiences as Hugo, the Academy Award winning Martin Scorcese film. Selznick apparently is attracted to stories with a historical context and has found a way to make the past come alive for up-and-coming Gen Z.
Let’s hear it for the cast: Alex Weisman as Victor, Sara Sevigny as Mother and Derek Hasenstab in multiple roles, as well as spot-on period costumes designed by Elizabeth Wislar and direction and set design by master puppeteer Blair Thomas.
The Houdini Box furthers the Chicago Children’s Theatre mission to provide diverse, affordable and accessible theatrical and educational programming in Chicago. No corners are cut or shortcuts taken here: the company engages top writers, performers, directors and set designers under the leadership of Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell and a dedicated Board of Directors from the fields of entertainment, philanthropy and business.
- Performances in Skokie run Tuesday through Friday at 10:15 am; Saturday and Sunday 11 am and 2 pm.
- Tickets are $15-$41: $15 for discounted upper balcony seating; regular tickets are $18-$31 for children up to 18 years old, and $28-$41 for adults.
- For tickets and information visit ChicagoChildrensTheatre.org or call North Shore Center box office, 847.673.6300.
Plentiful free parking makes The North Shore Center an ideal venue for group outings, (visit GroupTix.net) and with the restaurants and outdoor children’s play area of Old Orchard Center located just across the street, you can plan to make a day of it.