Harry Houdini musical The Impossible Man in development

The Impossible Man

Legendary showman Harry Houdini is the subject of a new musical titled The Impossible Man, which is in development following a series of readings in London, it has been announced.

Producer Kary Sydow (The Last Ship) and director Federico Bellone (Mary Poppins, Milan) are developing the show about the master Hungarian illusionist who was known for mind-bending stunts and escape tricks.

While the creative team has not been revealed, it is said to feature over 20 ‘big’ stage illusions, as well as a musical theatre score ‘score influenced by the Hungarian folk music of Houdini’s birthplace’.

Houdini was born in Budapest in 1874 and emigrated to the US at the age of three. He began performing magic tricks in 1891 to little success, and so began experimenting with escape acts. Some of his best-known tricks include strait-jacket and handcuff escapes. One example of this was the Chinese Water Torture Cell, which saw Houdini’s feet locked in stocks, suspended over an overflowing tank of water, and lowered, with his restraints locked to the top of the cell.

Readings and recordings of the musical have taken place, with the show set to be workshopped next year, and previews set for Detroit (the city in which Houdini last performed) for 2021.

Producers are hopeful of Broadway and West End runs.

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