Todd Robbins, Teller turning ‘Play Dead’ stage show into TV series


“Play Dead,” the ghoulish stage show that has run in Las Vegas, New York and most recently at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, explores the grisly side of the occult and features macabre magic tricks and illusions performed by a menacingly charming Todd Robbins.

The creators of the show -- Robbins and the illusionist Teller -- are now working on turning the production into a TV series. In an email, Robbins described the series’ premise as “Breaking Bad” meets “True Blood,” with copious amounts of blood and sex.

“The series chronicles a traveling theatrical troupe that, under the guise of performing a quirky magic show of spooky amusement, presents experimentations of alchemistic procedures for the resurrection of the dead,” wrote Robbins.


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He said the series would follow the ragtag group of outcasts as they break into old theaters across the country and perform their ghoulish acts, then pack up and skip town before the authorities discover the decimated corpses and missing persons.

“They are also being hounded by the Academy, an enigmatic organization that controls and protects alchemistic knowledge,” said Robbins.

The stage show “Play Dead” was seen in Las Vegas before moving on to the Players Theatre in New York’s Greenwich Village in 2010, and the Geffen Playhouse, where it ended its run earlier this month. Robbins co-created the show with Teller, who directed.

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Teller said in a separate interview that they are going to start pitching the TV series to producers and other executives.


A Times reviewer for the Geffen stage show wrote: “the dark, the gore, the morbid anecdotes — and that eye-twinkle — will put you into a state of nervous excitement.”

Robbins said that the TV series “will be very creepy and funny and shocking and bloody. And there will be lots of nudity and sex.... What more could you want from a TV series?”


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