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Judy Carter’s ‘A Death-Defying Escape!’ is a poignant play about how magic and comedy helped heal a woman from the shackles of her life 

Woman Magician posing with giant playing cards

I recently attended an entertaining, funny and heartfelt show created by stand-up comedian and talented magician Judy Carter, a trailblazing woman who broke gender barriers by becoming one of America’s first female magicians. A Death-Defying Escape! is an unexpected play about Judy’s traumatic childhood and how she used comedy and magic to escape from the emotional shackles of her life in order to heal herself and find true love. This refreshing and entertaining play includes Jewish humor, a lesbian romance, ageism, candid disability awareness and ‘how-did-she-do-that!’ interactive magic!

Younger woman putting a top hat on an older woman

“Growing up with a sister with cerebral palsy, a narcissistic mother and an abusive father, I dreamed of becoming a magician,” says Carter. “I didn’t want to saw women in half; I wanted the power to put them back together. The power to make my father disappear and levitate my sister Marsha out of her wheelchair.” This quote captures the inspiration behind Judy’s autobiographical work which takes you on an emotional journey of her challenging and inspiring life and how she used her gifts to turn her life around.

This play truly immersed you in Judy’s difficult life, allowing the audience to really feel the highs and lows right along with her. In certain moments, I found myself laughing at the relatable Jewish shtick and enjoying how entertained I was by the clever magic tricks, however at other moments I found myself extremely uncomfortable like when she was candidly portraying her sister’s disability or when she was sharing the painful memories about her abusive father.

A man in a rainbow vest looking down on a lady holding a fan of playing cards

This show was powerful, moving and surprisingly memorable and almost a week after seeing it, I am still thinking about how moving and inspiring it was! I am in awe of how Judy has channeled her magic skills and comedic talent to entertain us while healing herself at the same time.

A Death-Defying Escape! is playing at the Hudson Guild Theatre in Hollywood through May 15, 2022 and tickets are $30

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