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Teller’s Las Vegas-born Play Dead is headed to off-Broadway

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Teller at his Las Vegas home.
Photo: Beverly Poppe

By Don Chareunsy, Vegas DeLuxe editor

For the first time, a production created in Las Vegas is headed to off-Broadway in New York, and the man behind the theatrical achievement is magician Teller of The Rio headliners Penn & Teller.

Most productions are tested in Connecticut and San Diego before heading to The Big Apple, so this is a particularly proud moment for Teller, the magic duo’s silent one who on Sunday addressed the opening-night audience of his theatrical thrill ride in The Calypso Room, the former home of Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding.

Teller, who is an engaging and intelligent speaker, asked the audience not to reveal any of the show’s secrets, as it’s in its workshop stage, and there are bound to be changes before it debuts in New York. Teller is Play Dead’s creator, director and writer; he doesn’t perform in the show.

Todd Robbins

Play Dead is a throwback to the spook shows of the 1930s and ’40s hosted by magicians who were renowned for being alcoholics and a little nuts. Todd Robbins, the emcee of the show from start to finish, is masterful in his delivery and commands attention; the audience was universal in its praise for Robbins.

Don’t expect scary in this day and age of Saw and Scream -- or even Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th. The tales here are creepy and psychological, the magic and illusions are startling, and Play Dead created an atmosphere of real tension -- total strangers grabbed each other during the show -- shivering, screaming and even a little humor.

Play Dead is at The Rio through Sept. 24. Mr. Vegas DeLuxe Robin Leach interviewed Teller before Sunday’s debut, and their Q&A was posted Sept. 10.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

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Don was born in Laos and grew up in Montana. He was Helena High's yearbook and newspaper editor and, after ...

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