The Magnificents


By Dennis Watkinsmagnificents logo

Directed by Nathan Allen

Produced by The House Theatre of Chicago

At Chopin Theatre, Chicago

Thrilling staging and magic makes The Magnificents a wonderful theatrical event

First staged in2007. The Magnificents still carries a mystical, magic aurora that audiences find  enticing. The revised version, now directed by Nathan Allen,  still has Michael E. Smith as Chase the clown with Tien Doman as Rosie with Jeff  Trainor as the strongman, Harley. Lucy Carapetyan is the aerial artist who, with Tommy Rapley, do amazing high-silk aerial routines. The show still has the terrific actor/choreographer Tommy Rapley recreating his role as the boy magician as he channels the young Dennis Watkins. This new show has much new staging  with more fabulous magic design and performed by Watkins and Rapley.

The Magnificents

Dennis Watkins is a fabulous and fearless magician as evidenced by his underwater in a locked crate Houdini trick performed in a House show a few years back. In The Magnificents, Watkins pays tribute to his grandfather, Ed Watkins, the man who taught Dennis the magic of magic. This is a warmly human story of the aging magician (played  by Dennis Watkins) and his loyal wife (Tien Doman).

 house theatre of chicago

We see the old guard showman in his twilight years when a young red headed man (Tommy Rapley) quietly invades the magician’s home. The old man decides, after Rosie insists, to teach the boy his magic. In a most thrilling display of magic including card tricks, the dancing hanky, the vanishing birdcage, the canary birdcage plus the classic red ball under one of three cups, Watkins and Rapley thrill us with the powers of illusions.

house theatre of chicago

Dennis Watkins is a fine actor, funny comic and spellbinding magician. he has emerged as one of the finest magicians in the USA.  He anchors this entertaining  show.  Tommy Rapley is the mute young protégé whose only words come at the shows end. Rapley says much with his face, eyes and body language.

The sheer energy and exuberance made this device endear the production. Laughs abound with these three zany clowns. They also do some magic tricks.The touching story of an old guard magician slowly dying but refusing to stop doing his act demonstrated Watkins acting skills. the story is heartwarming and engaging. The magic will blow you away!

I enjoyed this show and I only wish there was more back story about the boy to compliment the wonderful magic.  Still, The Magnificents is a fun night at the theatre. The House of Chicago keeps their originality going strong. Kudos for remounting this terrific show.


Tom Williams

Talk theatre in Chicago podcast

Jeff Recommended

Date Reviewed” January 27, 2012

For more info checkout The Magnificients page at

At the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, Chicago, IL,  tickets $25, call 773-769-3832,, Thursdays thru Sundays at 7:30 pm, Saturday matinees at3  pm, running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes, thru March 10, 2013

Leave a Reply