Lookingglass Theatre Company presents the world premiere of EASTLAND: A NEW MUSICAL, written by Artistic Director Andrew White with music by Ben Sussman and Artistic Associate Andre Pluess and directed by Amanda Dehnert. The production runs June 6 – July 29, 2012 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson. The Press Opening is Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
July 25,1915: the S.S. EASTLAND sits on the Chicago River between Clark St. and LaSalle, overflowing with passengers. Slowly the boat leans to port - and keeps leaning, until finally it tips and comes to rest on its side. By day's end, hundreds will perish, whole families will vanish, and unexpected heroes will emerge. Unforgettable melodies and haunting harmonies inspired by early American folk music weave a tapestry of working class stories and colorful characters, giving voice to the victims and heroes of that fateful day.
Artistic Director Andrew White (Of One Blood, 1984) resurrects the ghosts of America's forgotten tragedy in this Lookingglass Original musical, with music by Ben Sussman and Artistic Associate Andre Pluess, the team behind the score of Lookingglass Alice, 1984, Metamorphoses, Hard Times, and The Secret in the Wings, as well as the acclaimed Winesburg, Ohio.
EASTLAND is based in part on events recounted in Jay Bonansinga's The Sinking of the EASTLAND: America's Forgotten Tragedy.
Artistic Director Andrew White comments, "This play revives the ghosts of those who drowned in this Chicago disaster of 1915, and asks questions about which events linger in our memory and which become lost to history. Told through a musical narrative, it weaves three characters' stories into a tapestry of memory and longing, with the strains of American folk music driving the events of that day to their inevitable finish. It is a quintessential Chicago story told in quintessential Lookingglass fashion, and will be a dynamic and powerful production for audiences of all ages."
EASTLAND: A NEW MUSICAL features Ensemble Members Larry DiStasi (Otto, Olaf and others), Christine Mary Dunford (Marianne and others), and Doug Hara (Reggie), as well as Jeanne T. Arrigo (Sister, musician and others), Derek Hasenstab (Husband, Houdini and others), Erik Hellman (Grocer, musician and others), Malcolm Ruhl (Musician and others/Music Director), Michael Smith (Pedersen, musician and others), Scott Stangland (Ernie, musician and others), Tiffany Topal (Solveig and others), Claire Wellin (Bobbie) and Monica West (Ilse).
Designers include Ensemble Members Dan Ostling (scenic), Mara Blumenfeld (costume), as well as Company Members Christine A. Binder (lighting), Ray Nardelli and Josh Horvath (sound); with Maria DeFabo (properties). Malcolm Ruhl is the music director.
The Chicago Community Trust, National Endowment for the Arts: Art Works and United Airlines are Production Supporters of EASTLAND: A NEW MUSICAL. United Airlines is the Official and Exclusive Airline of Lookingglass Theatre.
EASTLAND is the recipient of The Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award.
Lookingglass is continuing its tradition of partnering with organizations in the community to enhance the audience experience with additional education and outreach programming. Season Community Partners include: Chicago History Museum, Chicago Architecture Foundation, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio. Production community partners include EASTLAND Disaster Historic Society, American Red Cross Chicago Chapter, Old Town School of Folk Music and Friends of the Chicago River.