Eastland Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks Recommended The Short List (Theater)

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 19 2012

In July 1915, the SS Eastland was chartered to take thousands of Western Electric employees to a company picnic in Michigan City, Indiana. Overloaded, it capsized in the Chicago River, killing 844 passengers. Lookingglass Theatre's Andrew White uses the disaster to anchor an examination of working-class life in early-20th-century Chicago. Director Amanda Dehnert and her crack creative team synthesize music, poetry, circus arts, and imaginative design to immerse the audience in the world of the Eastland's doomed passengers. White's libretto is set to an evocative string-band score by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman, and the 12-person ensemble of actor-musicians is uniformly excellent. Local folk-music icon Michael Barrow Smith and aerialist Doug Hara make especially strong impressions, Smith as the ship's captain and Hara as a "human frog" who dives to save lives and recover bodies. This is first-rate theatrical storytelling. —Albert Williams

Price: $34-$68

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