Ridgeway & Johnson Illusion & Escape Show
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Ridgeway & Johnson Illusion & Escape Show

Band Comedy Comedy



The best kept secret in music


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About Kristen Johnson

Lady Houdini, the name given to Kristen Johnson by an Inside Edition producer at CBS Studios in New York has definitely stuck. Especially since she broke the immortal Harry Houdini’s record for the most Water Torture Cell escapes ever performed, which historians and magic aficionados worldwide estimate to be just over one thousand. She broke Houdini’s record in 2012 as she has successfully performed her 1,001 public escape during the Georgia State Fair at the Atlanta Speedway.

Johnson considered to be the Houdini of the 21st century almost seems fearless, even to the fault of flirting with death, as she has a knack for taking an ordinary magic escape and putting her signature brand on it. In the case of the Water Torture Cell, she decided to not hide the escape as Houdini and everyone since, but to perform it in full view which has drawn some criticism. It’s a nail biter, watching her during the escape, as she is able to hold her breath under physical duress for up to 3 minutes and 18 seconds while methodically picking the padlocks, handcuffs, and leg shackles that hold her in what could quickly become a watery grave. Producer Mark Bell has seen her perform the escape up close numerous times but is still horrified by the two times he witnessed her struggle before crowds of over 15,000 and 18,000 as she had to be removed from the water cell. Twice she suffered hypoxic seizures and blacked out, the third she could not pick the lock inside the lid. Johnson has only been denied the escape three times out of over 1,000 public attempts. Those three harrowing failed attempts prove the real dangers that exist in her profession.

Kristen, a real escapologist, has carved out a living performing her daredevil brand of escapes around the world, live and on TV. When first asked to perform the aerial straitjacket escape which Houdini so often used to promote his theater shows, she said, ”sure, but in its original form is boring and anticlimactic for today’s audience. After all, Houdini was able to escape the jacket but not the circumstances that had him still hanging upside down in mid-air, of which he would have to be lowered back to the ground and released”. Kristen says to completely and successfully escape you not only have to remove the restraint but also escape from the circumstance of being hung mid-air. In 2007, Kristen once again set out to ‘best’ Houdini’s escape and for over three years whether outside with a crane at 80 feet high or inside an arena at 40 feet above the stage and even in theaters, hung from battens, she would drop the jacket, remove her feet from the rope loops and repel down.

In 2011, Johnson pushed the envelope even further while performing the aerial escape for a group of over 5,000 screaming fans at an arena in Texas. After dropping the jacket and removing her feet from the loops she just let go. Falling backwards, for what seemed to be an eternity, the crowd’s gasps and screams finally turned to cheers and a thunderous applause when she reappeared on stage and took a bow. What the audience didn’t see, hidden in the stage was a Hollywood stunt airbag. Kristen has now added this version of the escape to her repertoire, both indoors with a chain motor or outdoors with a crane, Johnson has once again taken a classical escape made famous by the world’s greatest known escape artist and completely rewritten the rules for the 21st century now making it harder for those who wish to follow in Houdini’s or shall we say Lady Houdini’s footsteps.



RIDGEWAY & JOHNSON, the international touring duo featuring Master of Illusions, Kevin Ridgeway and Premier Escape Artist, Kristen Johnson tour with Las Vegas style grand illusions and escapes featuring dazzling special effects, breath-taking illusions and death-defying escapes insuring the audience a wave of emotions not soon to be forgotten. From Kevin's hysterical comedy to Kristen’s charm, this award winning team is sure to capture the audience’s hearts leaving them enchanted.

RIDGEWAY & JOHNSON produce the only shows currently touring the Western Hemisphere that perform the Water Torture Cell escape immortalized by the great Harry Houdini. Kristen Johnson, recognized as the World’s Premier Female Escape Artist, is the only female attempting this suspenseful escape. Among the magic community and historians there is no disputing the fact that she’s among only a handful of females in the history of the world to even attempt it. Another first you won’t find anywhere is that they perform this amazing escape in full view. Every escape artist including Houdini himself covered the water cell with a curtain not allowing the audience to actually see the escape. Since most have never witnessed this daring event first hand, they’re mesmerized as they watch an audience member help shackle and chain Kristen with locks, Smith and Wesson handcuffs and leg irons before she is immersed into a watery grave and the lid padlocked into place above her head. At each performance, Kevin offers a $10,000.00 challenge to anyone who can prove that Kristen takes a second breath, uses an underwater breathing apparatus or a key once she has dropped below the water. Her record underwater is currently 5 minutes 02 seconds.

Kevin Ridgeway and Kristen Johnson were given the top award in their field during the 4th Annual International Escape Artist Convention where they unveiled their futuristic 360 degree Full View Water Torture Cell Escape to their peers. Previously Kristen was featured as the only woman on the Discovery Channel produced TV special Inside the Houdini Museum, highlighting the life and escapes of Harry Houdini. On the documentary, she performed the Spike Escape, where she was handcuffed under a bed of 13 razor sharp spikes with only seconds to escape before they sliced through her body. In 2009, RIDGEWAY & JOHNSON was featured numerous times on US television. First in January, they appeared in two different episodes of the Hollywood taped TV series Masters of Illusion where they performed their 747 Jet Turbine escape -illusion and the Full View Water Torture Cell escape. In February, Kristen appeared as a special guest on the News to Me program on CNN Headline News. In March, CBS Network in New York produced a feature story interviewing both of them for Inside Edition, which was aired in 209 markets across the US. There the media gave her a new moniker “Lady Houdini.”