The fourth play in Malibu Playhouse’s 2013-2014 season is the World Premiere of Flim-Flam: Houdini and the Hereafter by Gene Franklin Smith, opening Friday, June 20, 2014. The play is directed by Thomas James O’Leary and stars Rick D. Wasserman, Melissa Kite, Gigi Bermingham, Peter Van Norden, Sabra Malkinson, and Cameron Mitchell, Jr.
Based on actual events, in Flim Flam during the summer of 1922, Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle team to investigate psychic mediums for the Scientific American committee. Their friendship is challenged when Conan Doyle champions a beautiful and seductive psychic as authentic. Houdini is determined to prove that she is a phony, until she appears to make contact with Houdini’s beloved dead mother, and he must confront his own beliefs about life-after-death.
Of Flim Flam, Director Thomas James O’Leary says, “I find this play intriguing on many levels — Houdini's attachment to debunking spiritualists juxtaposed with his attachment to his mother after she died is such a rich paradox explored throughout the play. I’m fascinated by the relationship between Houdini and his close friend Arthur Conan Doyle who fervently believed in the hereafter, and the relationships between those two iconic figures and their powerful wives. With this incredible cast, we get to explore many levels along the spectrum of truth, and why it matters so much to those who seek for it.”
Playwright Gene Franklin Smith is also the Artistic Director of Malibu Playhouse. He studied playwriting with renowned playwright, poet and Russian translator, F.D. Reeve at Wesleyan University where Gene’s first play, an adaptation of Tender Is the Night, was produced. Other produced plays include Adults in Love, Life Beneath The Roses (winner, David James Ellis Memorial Award, finalist at Dayton Playhouse FuturFest and the Great Platte River Playwrights Festival), Created Equal and Rubicon. Gene was the Founding Artistic Director of Write Act Repertory Company, where his plays Devil’s Consort, Transports of the Heart, and Charles Dickens’ Bleak House received world premieres. In 2008, his play Boise, USA premiered at the Matrix Theatre and was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. The screenplay of Boise, USA won Best Drama in the 2008 Creative World Awards. Gene’s short play Go Thy Way With Joy was performed in Playwrights Arena’s FLASH Theatre LA.
The cast for Flim Flam includes: Gigi Bermingham as Lady Jean Conan Doyle, Melissa Kite as Bess Houdini, Sabra Malkinson as Mina Crandon, Cameron Mitchell Jr as Dr. Leroi Crandon, Peter Van Norden as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Rick D. Wasserman as Harry Houdini.
Flim Flam opens Friday, June 20, 2014 with a Red Carpet Gala ($50) and runs through Sunday, August 3, 2014. Single tickets for regular performances are Fridays $30.00; Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees are $34.00. Low priced previews are Wednesday, June 18 and Thursday, June 19 at 8 PM ($20.00). Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. Tickets may be purchased through the box office at www.malibuplayhouse.org, online or by calling 323-960-7711. There may also be tickets available at the box office the day of each performance, however advance reservations are recommended.
Malibu Playhouse is located at 29243 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265 (near Zuma beach, between Kanan-Dume Road and Morning View Drive, near Heathercliff Road). Phone 310-589-1998. For more information visit the website: www.malibuplayhouse.org.