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Goodman Theatre casts magician for ‘The Magic Play’

Brett Schneider, actor, illusion designer and magician, will star in the world premiere of Andrew Hinderaker's "The Magic Play" at the Goodman Theatre. (Photo: Liz Lauren)

There is always a hint of dark psychological magic at work in the plays of Andrew Hinderaker, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and an ensemble member of The Gift Theatre, where his “Suicide, Incorporated” and “Dirty” received their world premieres. Now Hinderaker is getting a bit more literal about the prestidigitation, as his latest work, “The Magic Play,” receives its world premiere on the Goodman Theatre’s Owen stage (Oct. 21 – Nov. 20), under the direction of Halena Kays.

Leading the cast of this show – described as part magic show and part play, and tagged with the teaser, “though a good magician must always be in control of his show, his offstage life may be as fragile as a house of cards” – will be Brett Schneider, a magician, illusion designer and actor. Francis Guinan will play Father and Sean Parris will play Diver. The story concerns a rising young magician who must take the stage just hours after his partner has left him, and whose performance begins to unravel.

Tickets for the play (recommended for ages 13 and up), are now available. Call (312) 443-3800 or visit http://www.GoodmanTheatre.org/Magic.

In a prepared statement Schneider (who collaborated with Hinderaker on “The Magic Play” for four years, including the show’s debut in the Goodman’s 2014 New Stages Festival, where it also was directed by Kays, former artistic director of The Hypocrites theater company) noted: “I am both an actor and a magician—so naturally, the project immediately appealed to me. The play has challenged me as an artist, and opened me up to ideas I never thought possible in the theater. Usually, when I create new material as a magician, I draw from skills and knowledge I already have about the craft. Andrew [Hinderaker] flipped that process on its head. Instead of writing toward my strengths, he purposefully explored uncharted territory, writing new magic pieces that didn’t yet have solutions, and pushing me to take risks on stage. This play is about taking real risks—taking a leap of faith to try to capture the truly miraculous.”

In addition to Schneider’s many Chicago acting credits, his illusion design work has been twice nominated for Jeff Awards for Artistic Specialization, and has been seen at Roundabout Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Strange Tree Group and Strawdog Theatre Company.

The creative team for the show includes Lizzie Bracken (Set Designer), Alison Siple (Costume Designer), Maggie Fullilove-Nugent (Lighting Designer), Christopher Kriz (Sound Designer) and John Boesche (Projection Designer).