Jay Owenhouse doesn’t get scared performing the “Jaws of Death” escape. There isn’t time for that.
He only has about 1 1/2 minutes to free himself from a straitjacket before two steel jaws held open by a burning rope crush him.
And he has to do it while hanging upside down, about 15 feet above the stage.
“It takes a tremendous amount of concentration,” the acclaimed illusionist said.
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And some serious guts.
Owenhouse will bring both on Oct. 7 when he returns to the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
His Dare to Believe show, which includes the Jaws of Death, promises to dazzle with daring, magic and fun.
“It (includes) my favorite things I’ve done in magic for the last 20 years or so. It’s a best-of show,” Owenhouse said.
That means illusions and escape. Audience participation. And appearances by Sheena and Shekinah, the twin Bengal tigers Owenhouse has raised since they were cubs.
Sheena has an orange coat and Shekinah is a rare white tiger. They live in a sanctuary when they’re not with Owenhouse on the road.
They’re audience favorites. The Jaws of Death also is a popular part of Owenhouse’s act.
There will be appearances by Sheena and Shekinah, the twin Bengal tigers Owenhouse has raised since they were cubs.
While he doesn’t have time to feel scared, the escape demands healthy respect on his part.
He’s injured himself several times performing it, including breaking an ankle, separating a shoulder and tearing ligaments in his neck.
“Last weekend, I hurt my leg again,” he said. “I’m always very conscious that things can wrong and sometimes do.”
His show is about being daring, about believing in and doing seemingly impossible things.
“When we’re kids, we have a sense of wonder about life. Then as we get older, we get more cynical,” Owenhouse said. “The great thing about a good magic and illusion show is that you have the opportunity to take people back to that childlike feeling of wonder. It’s about tapping into that feeling that anything is possible.”
It’s also about providing encouragement and hope.
Last weekend, I hurt my leg again. I’m always very conscious that things can wrong and sometimes do.
Jay Owenhouse, illusionist
Owenhouse’s wife, Susan, used to join him on stage, but she died in 2009 of a rare autoimmune disease.
Owenhouse and his kids took a break. Then, “we said, ‘Let’s come together as a family. Let’s do this as family,’ ” he said.
“We had a realization after going through our own family tragedy that we wanted to create a show that wasn’t just about entertainment, but one where we could share our experience a little bit with the audience and try to encourage them,” Owenhouse said. “Hopefully, people come away from the show with a little more hope.”
Owenhouse’s four kids all help out with Dare to Believe. They are: John, 26, Peter, 24, Juliana, 21, and Christina, 12. The family is based in Montana.
“We love coming back to the Tri-Cities,” Owenhouse said.
It (includes) my favorite things I’ve done in magic for the last 20 years or so. It’s a best-of show.
Jay Owenhouse, illusionist
And, “We’re really excited that the show is really connecting with people.”
Dare to Believe is family friendly. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $29.50. They’re available through Ticketmaster and the Toyota Center box office. Tickets purchased through the box office avoid service charges.
IF YOU GO
What: Acclaimed illusionist Jay Owenhouse and his Dare to Believe show.
When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7
Where: Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Cost: Tickets start at $29.50. They’re available through Ticketmaster and the Toyota Center box office. Tickets purchased through the box office avoid service charges.