Here’s the press release from Lookingglass Theatre Company:
Lookingglass Theatre Company announces 2011-2012 season featuring three productions about history-making moments in America, including work by Lookingglass Ensemble Members John Musial, J. Nicole Brooks and Andy White
Chicago, IL—Lookingglass Theatre Company proudly announces its 2011-2012 season, featuring three productions about three moments in American history—The Great Fire that razed Chicago, Jackie Robinson’s game-changing signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the 1915 Chicago tragedy of the sinking of The Eastland. This upcoming season, Lookingglass will tell the stories of those who, whether famous or forgotten, were caught in the crucible of the moment.
Lookingglass’ 24th season kicks off with the return of The Great Fire written and directed by Ensemble Member John Musial, and coinciding with its historic 140th Anniversary. Ensemble J. Nicole Brooks returns to direct Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting by Ed Schmidt. The season continues with the World Premiere musical Eastland written by Ensemble Member Andrew White and directed by Amanda Dehnert, with music by Artistic Associate Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman.
Artistic Director Andrew White comments, “The 2011-2012 season will transport the Lookingglass audience to three pivotal moments in history. Looking back, the outcome seems inevitable – but was it? What choices were made in the literal heat of the moment? Who challenged the future, and who feared it? Who saved themselves, who saved others? Who became a hero, who a scapegoat? And what would each of us have done in their place? Their choices didn’t just change lives…they changed history. In just one moment, everything changed — and we were never the same.”
The Lookingglass 24th season is:
The Great Fire
Written and directed by Ensemble Member John Musial
Begins September 21, 2011
Coinciding with the 140th Anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire
October 8, 1871
It has been one of the hottest, driest autumns on record, and now a strong wind blows from the Southwest. At 9:40 pm, the Chicago Fire Department gets their first report of a small blaze on the city’s southwest side. Soon there is no stopping the Great Chicago Fire until it finally runs out of things to burn. In one night, the very rich, the very poor, and everyone in between are transformed forever.
Ensemble Member John Musial (Our Future Metropolis, Nelson Algren: For Keeps and a Single Day) revisits his acclaimed 1999 production about the disaster that redefined Chicago. Spectacular, spiritual, highly physical and exquisitely emotional, the Chicago Sun-Times praised The Great Fire as “highly original, hugely entertaining” and remarked that “no one who sees this show will be able to look at Chicago in the same way again.”
Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting
Written by Ed Schmidt
Directed by Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks
Begins January 4, 2012
April 9, 1947
Baseball’s Opening Day is one week away, and Branch Rickey, General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, will call up Jackie Robinson to break the color-barrier and play as the Major League’s first black ballplayer. If he does, Robinson will face loud and heated opposition from virtually every owner, manager, and player in baseball – and it won’t be a cakewalk with the fans, either. Who will be his allies if he makes the most daring and important play of his life?
Award-winning Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks (Black Diamond, Fedra: Queen of Haiti) directs this dazzling fast-ball script by Ed Schmidt. When some of 1947’s most prominent African-American figures – baseball great-to-be Jackie Robinson, boxer Joe Louis, entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, actor and activist Paul Robeson – put their heads together in this imagined meeting, it’s not just the future of baseball they’re discussing, but the future of the country. Ideas and ideals clash, sparks fly and America’s national pastime will never be the same.
An Original Musical
Written by Andrew White
Music by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman
Directed by Amanda Dehnert
Begins June 6, 2012
July 24, 1915
Moored on the Chicago River between Clark St and LaSalle, The Eastland begins boarding and thousands of Western Electric employees and their families climb the ramp, excited for their annual company outing. Overflowing with passengers about to depart, the boat leans to port – and doesn’t lean back. Within minutes, cries fill the air, families are torn apart and unexpected heroes emerge to rescue dozens of Chicagoans from a watery grave.
Artistic Director Andrew White (Of One Blood, 1984) resurrects the ghosts of America’s forgotten tragedy in this Lookingglass Original musical, with music by Artistic Associate Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman, 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. Directed by award winning Amanda Dehnert who most recently directed Peter Pan: A Play for Lookingglass.
About the Lookingglass Artists
John Musial, Writer and Director, The Great Fire
With a special passion for Chicago stories, award-winning Director, Filmmaker, Writer, Scenic Designer, and Lookingglass Ensemble member John Musial has created and directed Nelson Algren: For Keeps and a Single Day, and Our Future Metropolis for the City of Chicago’s Daniel Burnham Centennial. His scenic and lighting design for Lookingglass includes The Jungle, West, 1984, and Our Town. Now, with The Great Fire, he returns his focus to the seminal event that utterly transformed a city.
J. Nicole Brooks, Director, Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting
Lookingglass Ensemble member Nikki Brooks has brought her original voice and vision to the Lookingglass stage as creator of 2007’s Black Diamond: The Year the Locusts Have Eaten and 2009’s Fedra: Queen of Haiti. As an actress, she has performed in Lookingglass productions of Summertime, Race and Fedra: Queen of Haiti, and in 2010 she was awarded the Fox Fellowship from (would delete “the”) Theatre Communications Group. Here she directs Ed Schmidt’s bracing and provocative play about the people and choices that forever changed America’s pastime, and the country itself.
Andrew White, Writer, Eastland
Artistic Director Andy White has been a Lookingglass Ensemble member since the Company began in 1988. As an actor, writer, or director, he has participated in the development of more than thirty Lookingglass original adaptations and world-premieres. He wrote and directed 1989’s Of One Blood, and 2004’s production of George Orwell’s 1984 which received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Adaptation.
Andre Pluess, Composer, Eastland
Composer and Lookingglass Artistic Associate Andre Pluess has created sound design and music for productions on Broadway and dozens of theaters in Chicago, and along with collaborator Ben Sussman, created scores for Lookingglass Alice, 1984, Metamorphoses, Hard Times, The Secret in the Wings, as well as the music for About Face Theatre’s acclaimed Winesburg, Ohio.
Subscriptions are on sale for the 2011-2012 Season. Performances will be held at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago’s historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.
Lookingglass Theatre Company is located in the heart of the Magnificent Mile shopping district inside Chicago’s historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson. Subscriptions to the Lookingglass 2011-2012 season are on sale now. Current subscribers who renew early may do so at the 2010-11 prices, $84-$158. Subscriptions for the 2011-2012 season are $92-$174.
Subscription benefits include access to the best seats in the house, pre-sale opportunities and savings before single tickets go on sale to the general public, special perks at more than a dozen exclusive of restaurant partners, unlimited ticket exchanges, discounted parking at the nearby John Hancock Center and Olympia Centre Garage (161 E. Chicago Ave.), reduced tuition for Lookingglass’ renowned classes and summer camps, and courtesy performance date reminders. For season subscription and ticket information, call the Lookingglass Theatre box office at (312) 337-0665 or visit lookingglasstheatre.org.
About Lookingglass Theatre Company
Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. 2010-2011 marks the company’s 23nd anniversary season. Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. Lookingglass has staged 55 world premieres at 23 venues across Chicago, and garnered 52 Joseph Jefferson Awards and Citations.
Work premiered at Lookingglass has been produced in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Berkeley, Philadelphia, Princeton, Hartford, Kansas City, Washington D.C., and St. Louis. Arabian Nights played at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in December 2010 and is currently playing at Washington DC’s Arena Stage. Lookingglass Alice played recently at The Actors Theatre of Louisville; Syracuse Stage and The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Around The World in 80 Days recently played at Centerstage in Baltimore and at Kansas City Repertory in Kansas City. Lookingglass Originals have been produced across the United States. The Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago’s landmark Water Tower Water Works opened in June 2003. In addition to developing and presenting ensemble work, Lookingglass Education and Community programs encourage creativity, teamwork and confidence with thousands of community members each year.
Lookingglass Theatre Company continues to expand its artistic, financial and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Andrew White, Executive Director Rachel Kraft, Producing Artistic Director Philip R. Smith, Artistic Director of New Work Heidi Stillman, a 22-member artistic ensemble, 15 artistic associates, 11 production affiliates, an administrative staff and a dedicated board of directors led by Chairman Lisa Naparstek Green. For more information, visit lookingglasstheatre.org.