Theater Preview: EASTLAND: AN ORIGINAL MUSICAL (Lookingglass Theatre Virtual Watch Party on August 20)

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by Tony Frankel on August 7, 2020

in Theater-Chicago,Virtual


In 2012, Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company presented the hit, Eastland: An Original Musical, a stunning meditation on one of the most terrible disasters in Chicago history: On the morning of July 25, 1915, an excursion boat overloaded with 2,500 people tipped over while docked along the Chicago River in downtown Chicago. The death toll was appalling — 848 men, women, and children. They were working class families expecting a lark of a cruise to Michigan City, Indiana, for an all-day company picnic. (The disaster would also be visited in Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins’ heart-wrenching play-with-music Failure: A Love Story.)

Yet outside of Chicago, the Eastland calamity is largely unknown, and hasn’t become a part of the country’s pop culture like Titanic. This terrific show — a remarkable fusion of drama and theater — addresses that neglect, thanks to a superb musical score, remarkable staging, and a brilliant cast of actors who also sing and perform on an array of instruments — fiddle, banjo, ukulele, accordion — that evoke the music of the day.

Since Eastland premiered at Lookingglass, I have wished that folks around the country could have witnessed it. Well, Lookingglass will be presenting a pre-recorded version of that presentation This cathartic show about Chicagoans facing a historic challenge with tenacity, bravery, and hope will stream FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY FOR FREE on Lookingglass’s YouTube and Facebook.

The Eastland: An Original Musical Watch Party takes place on Thursday, August 20, 2020, at 7pm (CST), 5pm PST. This is a live online public fundraiser. As with many theaters, Lookingglass’s doors are closed due to COVID-19. Proceeds from this event will directly support the Looking Forward Campaign, a fundraising effort to sustain Lookingglass Theatre Company and its artists through the pandemic. After the show, join creative team members Andrew White and Andre Pluess for a post-show conversation.

photos by Sean Williams

for more info, visit Lookingglass
look at the show program here

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Shaban August 10, 2020 at 3:55 am

Thanks for letting me know about this. I’ll make sure not to miss it.


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