Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Underscore Theatre Company and The Den Theatre
Announce Casting for
Book and Lyrics and Music by Alex Higgin-Houser and David Kornfeld
Directed by Nick Thornton
Music Direction by Robert Ollis
June 13 – July 22, 2018 at The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage
Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we missed this critically acclaimed musical in 2016, so we're especially eager to catch Underscore Theatre and The Den Theatre's retooled remount! I'll be out for the press opening June 18th so check back soon for my full review.
Underscore Theatre and The Den Theatre are pleased to announce casting for an all-new staging of the Jeff Award-nominated Best New Musical HAYMARKET (formerly Haymarket: The Anarchist’s Songbook), the true story of Chicago’s infamous Haymarket massacre. With book, music and lyrics by Alex Higgin-Houser and David Kornfeld, the actors accompany themselves to the stirring folk-infused score. Having spent the last two years workshopping the show, the authors alongside director Nick Thornton and music director Robert Ollis have crafted an all-new theatrical experience – creating new songs, overhauling the book, and like the union workers from the show, building anew.
HAYMARKET will feature Bridget Adams-King (Lucy Parsons), Erik Pearson (Albert Parsons), TJ Anderson (August Spies), Joey Harbert (Louis Lingg), Josiah Robinson (Adolph Fischer), Mike Mazzocca (George Engel), Sarah Beth Tanner (Mrs. Engel), Amanda Giles (Nina Van Zandt), Melanie Vitaterna (Joanna Fischer) and Kelan Smith, Eric Loughlin and Elleon Dobias (Pick Chorus).
Concluding Underscore’s 2017-18 season, HAYMARKET will play June 13 – July 22, 2018 at The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Thursday, May 10 at underscoretheatre.org or by calling (773) 697-3830.
Based on historical events, HAYMARKET tells the dramatic story of labor unrest in Chicago, 1886, where striking workers clashed with a brutal police force, resulting in an act of terror, a corrupt trial and the death of five innocent men. Told by a cast of twelve actor-instrumentalists, HAYMARKET is a folk, bluegrass and Americana adventure, led by Lucy Parsons, the African American firebrand and wife of one of the accused anarchists.
“Underscore’s mission is to develop new musicals, and Haymarket is a perfect example of how a show can develop immensely after its initial run, building on the feedback from critics, audiences and artists” notes Co-Artistic Director Laura Stratford. “This is not a remount of our 2016 production. This is a brand-new experience, with a new team, a new cast and a new show. We’re thrilled to partner with the Den to bring this timely, enthralling story to Chicago.”
The production team for HAYMARKET includes: Eric Luchen (scenic designer), Christina Leinicke (costume designer), Erik Barry (lighting designer), Brandon Reed (sound designer), Kate Cuellar (dramaturg), Jena Sugay (assistant director), Andy Lynn and Ellen White (co-production managers) Josh Prishing (technical director) and Kristin Davis (stage manager).
Cast (in alphabetical order): Bridget Adams-King (Lucy Parsons), TJ Anderson (August Spies), Elleon Dobias (Pick Chorus), Amanda Giles (Nina Van Zandt), Joey Harbert (Louis Lingg), Eric Loughlin (Pick Chorus), Mike Mazzocca (George Engel), Erik Pearson (Albert Parsons), Josiah Robinson (Adolph Fischer), Kelan Smith (Pick Chorus), Sarah Beth Tanner (Mrs. Engel) and Melanie Vitaterna (Joanna Fischer).
Location: The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Wednesday, June 13 at 7:30 pm, Friday, June 15 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, June 17 at 3 pm.
Press performance: Monday, June 18 at 7:30pm
Regular run: Friday, June 21 – Sunday, July 22 2018
Curtain Times: TBA.
Tickets now on sale at underscoretheatre.org.
Alex Higgin-Houser (Book and Lyrics) is a playwright, lyricist and director. Working with his frequent collaborators David Kornfeld, Laura Stratford and Brendan Siegfried, Alex has written six full-length musicals, including Haymarket (2016 Jeff Award Nomination for Best New Musical), The 57th National Mathlete Sum-it (2017 official NYMF selection, published by Theatrical Rights Worldwide in 2018), Grounds: a Fresh-Brewed Musical (2017 Actors Training Company workshop, 2010 Midwest tour), Spa Fire: The Children of the 1% (Abbiefest official selection, commissioned by Ex-Pat Theatricals), Pr0ne (Underscore world premiere 2013, CMTF workshop production 2015) and Liberal Arts: The Musical (Underscore world premiere 2012, collegiate premiere 2009). As Co-Artistic Director for Underscore, Alex co-founded the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, and has produced or co-produced 65 new musicals. In 2018, Alex will be attending NYU Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre MFA writing program.
David Kornfeld (Music) received his BA in composition from Carleton College and is currently pursuing his MFA in Musical Theatre Writing at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. His musicals include Haymarket: the Anarchist’s Songbook (Jeff Nominated – Best New Musical), Liberal Arts: the Musical!, Grounds: a Fresh-Brewed Musical, Pr0ne: a Hardcore, Amateur Musical and Numbers Nerds, which premiered this summer at NYMF. His Chicago collaborations include Loyola University, Open Door Rep, Li'l Buds Theatre Company, Theatre-Hikes, The Cabaret Project, Stone Soup, Chicago Mammals, CPA Theatricals, Whiskey Wry, weAre Productions, comedienne Brittny Congleton, the Hip Young Gunslingers Big Band and many more. He is a co-founder of Underscore Theatre.
Nick Thornton (Director) is a freelance director, dramaturg and teaching artist, in addition to being the Literary Manager and Education Coordinator at the Greenhouse Theater Center (GTC). His upcoming projects include serving as the director/curator of Other Ways to Resist, a festival of new activist theater at North Central College, and movement director of Peter and the Starcather (North Central College). Recent Chicago credits include movement director and dramaturg of Birds of a Feather (GTC), director of Mudlark Theatre’s Short Play Festival, developmental dramaturg of Miss Major Cushman (GTC), co-movement and associate director of the Greenhouse Theater Center’s Machinal (named one of the 10 best shows of 2017 by the Chicago Tribune), puppetry director of The Making of a Modern Folk Hero (Other Theatre), developmental dramaturg/assistant director of I Do Today (Other Theatre) and director of The Parking Lot Discord (Peacebook/Collaboration). Nick also serves as a teaching artist at Pegasus Theatre, Mudlark Theater and Windy City Musical Theatre. Regional credits include authoring the book of The Conductor, a new musical comedy (Metallic Mannequin Company), director/lead devisor of Maundy (Metallic Mannequin Company), assistant director and dramaturg of Other Desert Cities and The Glass Menagerie (Farmer’s Alley Theatre) and director of the workshop premiere of Adam Pasen’s Badfic Love (Queer Theatre Kalamazoo). Nick is a proud graduate of Western Michigan University’s Department of Theatre as well as an alumnus of the DirectorsLabChicago. For more information on his work please visit nickthornton.weebly.com.
Robert Ollis (Music Director) has worked with Underscore Theatre as the score and script of Haymarket has evolved. Robert is an Artistic Associate of Pride Films & Plays and served as Music Director for PFP’s productions of YANK! A WWII Love Story, Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, The Nance, The Boy from OZ, Songs from an Unmade Bed, A History of Summer, The Book of Merman and Under A Rainbow Flag. He has also music-directed a number of Chicago Casting Auction productions, including The Addams Family, The Drowsy Chaperone, Anything Goes, Damn Yankees and others, as well as countless local theatre-benefit concerts. Robert received a Jeff Award for music direction of Kiss of the Spider Woman, plus Jeff nominations for five other shows. Robert has also served as Music Director for notable productions at Bailiwick Chicago and Bailiwick Repertory Theatre. Robert helped create Judy & Liza: The London Palladium Concert — a Tribute, now being presented around the country. Robert has accompanied performers Donna McKechnie, Capathia Jenkins, Andrea Marcovicci, Nancy Hays, Nick Adams and Alexandra Billings at cabaret and concert venues in New York City and Chicago. www.Robert-Ollis.com
About Underscore Theatre Company
Founded in 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a team of producing artists dedicated to exploring stories of power and resonance through a musical lens; fostering the development of new musicals; and bolstering Chicago’s role as a national leader in musical theatre. Since its creation, Underscore has produced or co-produced 65 new mainstage and workshop musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago's home for new musicals.
About The Den Theatre
Artistic Director Ryan Martin opened The Den in 2010 with a single theatre space. Eight years later, The Den boasts five intimate and unique theaters on two floors ranging from 50 – 200 seats, as well as two additional spaces primarily used for classes and rehearsals. The Den is also equipped with two bars enveloped by a never-ending field of lounge space for audiences and like-minded culture hounds to drink, talk, read, watch, think, listen and live. The Den is home to five resident theatre companies including Firebrand Theatre, First Floor Theater, Haven Theatre Company, Griffin Theatre, The New Colony, Broken Nose Theatre and WildClaw Theatre. Hundreds of other companies from Chicago and beyond have also called The Den home, utilizing its theaters, studio space and easily convertible cabaret space to accommodate a stream of programming, including plays, musicals, film screenings, classical and jazz performances, dance, improv and stand-up, seminars and speaking engagements. For additional information, visit www.thedentheatre.com.
Pictured: (clockwise from left) Sarah Beth Tanner, Eric Loughlin, Bridget Adams-King, Erik Pearson, Mike Mazzoca, Kelan Smith, T.J. Anderson, Elleon Dobias, Josiah Robinson, Melanie Vitaterna and Joey Harbert in a publicity image for Underscore Theatre Company and The Den Theatre's production of HAYMARKET. Photo by Juli Del Prete.