Third-generation Chicago magician and former House Theater troupe Dennis Watkins moves into new partnership with Goodman Theater hit show “Magic Hall” From his longtime home at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel to the basement of the Petterino restaurant on the corner of Randolph and Dearborn streets in the Chicago Loop.
Watkins’ new venue has previously hosted major events such as the opening night party for the musical “The Producers”, where Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft can be seen dancing at the table. More recently, the basement was the home of the Windy City Theatre. Production of “The Recipe for Disaster” a dinner-theatre attraction that proved to be short-lived.
“Magic Hall” performances at the new venue will begin on October 5. In an interview, Watkins said he plans to do six shows a week of about 90 minutes of magic, followed by an optional 25-minute close. Perform the performance in a separate room. Tickets for the main show (limited to 60 people) are $85 including a drink; Up to 20 people add-on fee is $30. Dark nights will be available for corporate rentals and the like. (For more information: www.themagicparlorchicago.com.)
The “Magic Hall”, which has been staged in Palmer House’s meeting room equipped with cabaret-style tables for nearly 15 years, received great acclaim. Watkins said he performed to more than 50,000 spectators at his nearly 1,600 concerts. thanks to strong reviews and audience ratings. “But I wanted to grow the show in ways that were not possible at Palmer House,” he said. “I will now have a chance to collaborate with Goodman artists. And I will be a bona fide restaurant and bar partner.
Goodman had not previously produced in the basement, despite being in the same complex as his other theaters. The move also fits with the branding of Petterino’s, a recently renovated restaurant in the Loop that caters to theatergoers. Watkins said he retains creative control of a three-way partnership to be announced as “Goodman Theater presents.”
Watkins was frequently seen both in Chicago and while touring at the now defunct House Theatre. He is one of Chicago’s best-known magicians, and magic has become a bright spot in Chicago live entertainment in recent months; There are also regularly scheduled shows at venues such as: Magic Hall And Rhapsody Theater.
Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.