Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-08-31
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

THEATER REVIEW Palace of the Occult
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2015-12-01

This article shared 4445 times since Tue Dec 1, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Playwright: Neil Tobin. At: Eclectic Full Contact Theatre at Prop Thtr, 3502 N. Elston Ave. Tickets: 800-838-3006; www.palaceoftheoccult.com; $25-$35. Runs through: Dec. 20

It is widely accepted that Hitler was a disciple of certain esoteric practices—astrology, numerology, spiritualism et al.—but scholars have been curiously silent on the contribution of Weimar Republic superstar Erik Jan Hanussen in introducing the Third Reich's mass murderer to the world of paranormal science. After all, how would the histories—and the victors who author them—explain Adolf's high-profile friendship with a Moravian Jew?

The clairvoyant/charlatan, born Herschmann Chaim Steinschneider, acquired his Danish name during his youthful career with the circus, where he discovered his talent for charismatic deception. As his reputation grew—assisted by lavish self-promotion—over the years immediately following World War I, so did his fortune. The economic depression of 1931 expanded his clientele of desperate souls seeking comfort in cult religions, rendering him a celebrity of rock-star proportions. The young rebels of the Nationalist Socialist Party, in particular, welcomed the attention of the wealthy Berlin luminary who lent them money, invited them to sumptuous parties attended by glamorous movie stars and even coached their leader in public speaking.

Neil Tobin sets his play on the opening of Hanussen's "Palace of the Occult"—a private club and "laboratory" incorporating artifacts from his travels among sorcerers, shamans and mystics. After welcoming us, our host regales us with tales of his adventures, accompanied by re-enactments of his famous stage illusions—the latter assisted by his "guests" in the audience who are rewarded with champagne for their service. The second act reproduces the seance held on that fatal night, when Hanussen's trance led him to proclaim the torching of the government Reichstag, the Nazi rise to power in the subsequent hysteria and the suffering it would inflict upon others—prophesy sufficiently discomforting to his swastika-wearing homeys to guarantee his mob-style execution.

Such classic legerdemain as the "Telepathic Mail" and the "Hypnotic Strongwoman" stunts, along with the genuine fakir artistry required to jab long needles through your own flesh, are not skills an actor can be expected to learn in a few weeks of rehearsal. Fortunately, Tobin is, himself, a magician of no small renown, chiefly remembered for his long-running "Supernatural Chicago" show from 2004 through 2014.

For this Eclectic Theatre production, under David Belew's unhurried direction, Tobin inhabits the persona of the seductively charming Hanussen with an oily confidence unimpaired by sparse attendance on a snowy first night. Even when the intimacy of the rented quarters at Prop Thtr threaten to reveal the secret behind the tricks, the fascinating true story related by the trickster is enough to keep us spellbound.


This article shared 4445 times since Tue Dec 1, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

More special guests announced for Chicago International Film Festival 2022-09-29
-- From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois (September 28, 2022) — Today, the Chicago International Film Festival announced new guests and details for its 58th edition, running October 12 - 23, 2022. Film screenings and programs will take place at theaters ...


Gay News

MUSIC Jessie Mueller and Seth Rudetsky at Steppenwolf on Jan. 14, 2023 2022-09-28
- On Jan. 14, 2023 in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theater, 1650 N. Halsted St., Steppenwolf Theatre and Mark Cortale will present Tony winner Jessie Mueller (Beautiful; Waitress) for a hometown concert, hosted and music directed by Sirius XM ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Cardi B, Sam Smith, 'Wednesday' series, Sean Hayes, Serena 2022-09-25
Video below - Cardi B clapped back at someone on Twitter who declared her a celebrity who "came out as bisexual but never dated someone of the same gender," per Out Magazine. The tweet,—featuring pictures of Cardi, Grimes, Lady ...


Gay News

Jackalope Theatre Company announces 15th season 2022-09-24
-- From a press release - CHICAGO (September 20th, 2022) — Jackalope Theatre Company announces its return to in-person productions with its 2022-23 season featuring the Among the Dead by Hansol Jung, directed by Jackalope Artistic ...


Gay News

THEATER Underscore to permanently close; festival gains new home 2022-09-23
- The board of directors of Underscore Theatre Company announced the company will close its doors permanently after eleven dynamic years of producing musical theatre in Chicago, including 16 world premieres. However, the company's Chicago Musical Theatr ...


Gay News

THEATER The Gift running thriller 'The Locusts' Oct. 20-Nov. 19 2022-09-23
- The Gift Theatre will conclude its 2022 season with the world premiere of Jennifer Rumberger's thriller The Locusts, commissioned and developed by The Gift and directed by ensemble member John Gawlik. The Locusts will run Oct. ...


Gay News

COMEDY Extra performances added for Jerrod Carmichael at Steppenwolf 2022-09-23
- Due to popular demand, Steppenwolf Theatre has added two additional performances of Emmy award-winning comedian Jerrod Carmichael's new solo show on Friday-Saturday, Nov. 4-5, at 10 p.m. as part of ...


Gay News

MUSIC Cabaret singer Jeff Harnar talks Sondheim, coming out 2022-09-23
- Jeff Harnar wasn't born in Chicago, but he will tell you first-hand that it is his home. Having spent his formative years in this city, Harnar discovered a passion for musical theater. Decades later, he has ...


Gay News

Out comic/writer Sam Jay talks career ahead of Wicker Park performance 2022-09-22
- Stand-up comic and Emmy-nominated writer Sam Jay will be performing at The Den Theatre, located in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, on Sept. 23-24. The first Black lesbian writer in Saturday Night Live's history, Jay is a ...


Gay News

COMEDY Cameron Esposito at The Den Theatre on Dec. 30-31 2022-09-22
- The Den Theatre is welcoming back LGBTQ+ comedian Cameron Esposito, performing two stand-up shows on Dec. 30-31, 2022 on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Esposito (a onetime Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree) ...


Gay News

Mercury Theater Chicago announces fun enhancements to the Clue live on-stage experience 2022-09-19
-- From a press release - Chicago (September 16, 2022) — Mercury Theater Artistic Director Christopher Chase Carter, Managing Director Kristi J. Martens and Executive Producers L. Walter Stearns and Eugene Dizon have announced fun experiences ...


Gay News

'Phantom of the Opera' closing on Broadway after 35 years 2022-09-18
- After more than three decades, The Phantom of the Opera, the longest-running show in Broadway history, is closing. A representative verified that the play's final performance will be on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023. It will have ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Cabaret' at Metropolis through Oct. 22 2022-09-17
- Musical Broadway classic and hit film Cabaret re-creates the decadent and complicated world of 1929 Berlin at the Arlington Heights venue Metropolis Performing Arts Centre through Oct. 22. Cabaret is Kander and Ebb's legendary musical masterpiece ...


Gay News

'The Wizards,' a genderqueer play that examines racism, to run Oct. 14-Nov. 19 2022-09-16
- The Wizards, written by Ricardo Gamboa and directed by Katrina Dion, will run at the APO Cultural Center, 1438 W. 18th St., on Oct. 14-Nov. 19. The production follows Amado and Sam (played by Gamboa and ...


Gay News

THEATER Shattered Globe's 'Stew' running through Oct. 22 2022-09-15
- Shattered Globe Theatre will launch its 2022-23 season with the Chicago premiere of Stew, Zora Howard's Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama that Malkia Stampley is directing. The production is running through Oct. 22 at Theater Wit, ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.