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News Release

Houdini Returns! Part of 29th annual Montreal International Jazz Festival
May 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen...
Houdini returns!

Montreal, Monday, May 5, 2008 - The Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is proud to present, for the duration of the Festival, the all-new edition of Houdini, The Musical. Fresh off its monster success at the MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival, the musical comedy, set to “period jazz”, returns to enchant festival-goers with an enriched version from June 27 to July 5, (except on Monday, June 30) at 7:30 p.m. at Théâtre Outremont.

This original musical creation by Montrealers Ben Gonshor (book) and Elan Kunin (lyrics and music) would not be out of place on Broadway. A compelling and entertaining portrait of Harry Houdini, America’s first and foremost escape artist, it features some 20 singers, actors and musicians—including highly talented New York magician-actor-singer Kevin Kraft—and some of the signature acts that made Houdini famous. Led by a seasoned team of Montreal creators under the direction of John Roney and his sextet, the production is back with a version specially adapted for the Théâtre Outremont! And what a version! Renowned Canadian director Bryna Wasserman has crafted a second version that’s even more dramatic and entertaining!

Harry Houdini, “escape artist” and “handcuff expert”, the greatest star of his time, has been the subject of numerous books, films and television shows. This production looks at the man’s life, from his humble beginnings in vaudeville to the height of his career, as well as his vehement and widely publicized opposition to mediums and spiritualists. Houdini declared war against them, often disguising himself incognito to confront them, even performing the tricks of fraud artists in public, which cost him his friendship with one of their most fervent supporters, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Music meets emotion, magic... and escape!

Co-produced by the Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre, the MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival and L’Équipe Spectra, this show (which will include French subtitles) will be presented alongside the major events at the 29th edition of the Festival. And it promises to dazzle audiences! Those who missed the musical comedy this winter get a second chance from June 27 to July 5 (except on Monday, June 30) at 7:30 p.m. But book now—tickets are disappearing fast!

Critics and audiences are raving:

• “This work (...) re-acquaints us with the magician Houdini in a show where emotion, talent and laughter are set against a carnivalesque background.” Jean Beaunoyer, La Presse
• “An evening of escapist entertainment... A must for the voices, the music and the curious story it tells, and for the show value itself.” Pat Donnelly, The Gazette
• “(…) magic returns to the stage, thanks to talented cast behind this work, which has its place alongside the biggest Broadway productions.” Bruno Lapointe, Le Journal de Montréal
• “Houdini himself would have been amused, spooked, titillated and entertained!” Matthew Hays, Globe & Mail
• “I was greatly impressed. This is high-quality show. Mark my words: This show is Broadway bound.” Jasmin Roy, 98.5 FM