THE MILWAUKEE JOURNAL
It’s magic: Seebach show builds to a ghostly finish
By JAMES AUER
of The Journal staff
MEN TEND to lose their heads over David Seebach, and women are aflame in his presence.
The guillotine and burning alive illusions are only part of magic show the Milwaukee-reared conjuror is presenting through this weekend at the Modjeska Theater.
Seebach, an equal-opportunity slicer and dicer, drills a hole in a princess, levitates a sleek model and even reincarnates a talkative old railroader.
Preferring an Alfred Hitchcock rather than a “Friday the 13th” approach, he builds this Halloween-oriented attraction slowly, from mild pumpkin tricks to roaring, hellish ghosts.
He winds up the show, which will be repeated at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, with an array of “spook” manifestations worthy of Bill Neff or Francisco.
At last Saturday’s performance, kids and adults alike screamed in delight and, presumably, terror as skeletons danced, glowing skulls floated down from the balcony, and blasts went off.
Protoplasm was transformed into thousands of bits of torn tissue paper as a fountain of eerie white stuff erupted from the stage and spewed into the audience.
The appropriate use of recorded music heightens the effectiveness of Seebach’s routines. His stage deportment has mellowed over the years, and is now suave and expert.
A running gag about a spirit capturing machine gone wrong, a la “Ghostbusters,” heightens the fun.
Even the Polish-born actress Madame Modjeska, after whom the theater is named, appears on the stage, mysteriously, in appropriate costume.
The glorious old Modjeska, at 12th and Mitchell Sts., is a house of elegance and modest dimensions, ideally suited to this sort of family-friendly folderol.
Appropriately, a pair of stonefaced paramedics from Bell Ambulance stand by throughout the proceedings to deal with any emergencies that may be caused by ill-tempered spirits.
Tickets are $10 ($15 for reserved seats), and $5 for youngsters under 16 at Saturday’s matinee.