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He Says: Derren Brown (has a super fun): Secret

He Says: Derren Brown (has a super fun): Secret

Sworn to secrecy. That’s what he tells us in the first few moments of this absolutely far more entertaining show than I was prepared for. And by the way, that’s not why the show is called Derren Brown: Secret, but he’ll fill you in later, as he continually keeps reminding us throughout this extremely amazing mind-blowing show.  I must admit I’m not really one for magic shows or anything that remotely makes me think of cheesy Vegas, but this is something completely unique and different from all that. I don’t even know how to label this. Derren Brown, a man who is “now pretty much synonymous with the art of psychological manipulation” (as his bio reads in #Playbill) is a true pleasure and a master at entertaining.  He’s engaging, very funny, and honest, even honest about all the lies he is about to tell us tonight. I swear.

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Derren Brown and audience member. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Whip smart and spontaneous….I think, as it’s hard to really know what is happening all the time (was that really off the cuff, or completely planned?), telling us all that we are not sheep, nor are we followers, as we find ourselves doing his bidding at every turn of the dial. On a perfectly designed stage by Takeshi Kata (2ST’s Man From Nebraska), with exacting lighting by Ben Stanton (Deaf West/Broadway’s Spring Awakening), strong projections by Caite Hevner (Broadway’s In Transit), and solid sound by Jill BC du Boff (Broadway’s Hand to God), the amazements come one after the other, surrounded by witty smart banter that pulls us in to this compelling man’s story and his life long passion. He shares and is vulnerable, telling captivating tales while completely twisting us hopelessly around his little finger. He raises up this art form to dizzying heights, and you would be amiss to discard it as anything but unforgettable and incredible.

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Derren Brown and audience members. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

When I walked into the Cort Theatre on Broadway, I was fully prepared to be amazed (as I heard that it truly was), but I never imagined I would be so thoroughly entertained. Derren Brown: Secret, the winner of the 2017 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, as co-directed by Andy Nyman (seen in the Judy Garland biopic “Judy“) and Andrew O’Connor (“Magicians“), is a show I can’t say enough about, or anything at all really, if I follow Derren Brown’s explicit directions.  So I won’t mention anything about the fantastically fun, completely amazing, wonderfully unbelievable, stunningly fun and totally entertaining night, especially and particularly, I won’t say a word about Rachel and that very embarrassed young man in the balcony. Not one word. It’ll be our little Secret.

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Derren Brown. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

PS: Find a good friend who saw it on a different night to compare notes with. It’ll make it even more awe-inspiringly marvelous and fun.

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Derren Brown in Derren Brown: Secret at Cort Theatre. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

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My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to

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