Lookinglass Theatre & Eastland Disaster Historical Society Observe Disaster On Saturday, July 21st at Beginning at Noon

Lookingglass Theatre and the Eastland Disaster Historical Society announce events to observe the anniversary of the SS Eastland disaster on Saturday July 21, beginning at noon.

The day will open with the annual wreath laying commemoration event on the Chicago River between Clark and LaSalle; the cast of Eastland: A New Musical will perform two musical numbers during the event and the U.S. Coast Guard will lay flowers on the site.

Following the ceremony, Lookingglass will host a reception and program, featuring speaker Alberta Adamson from the Wheaton History Center, at Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave. Discussions will follow both the matinee and evening performances; descendants and relatives of those impacted by the disaster are expected to attend and participate.

Tickets to Eastland are available at Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave., www.lookingglasstheatre.org. The other commemorative events are free and open to the public.

Since 2000, the Eastland Disaster Historical Society has hosted the commemoration of Chicago’s greatest tragedy. The Eastland Disaster Historical Society is a not-for-profit formed by a family whose ancestors were survivors of the Eastland disaster. The Society is transforming the way that history education is taught, learned, and shared regarding the Eastland Disaster.

“Millions of people have been educated about the Eastland Disaster since the Eastland Disaster Historical Society began hosting the commemoration events. The disaster oddly remains as the most obscure part of Chicago’s history, but Lookingglass has helped bring more attention to the historical event with its beautiful new musical. We look forward to our collaboration with Lookingglass as we share this important and historical day with the City of Chicago,” says Ted Wachholz, President of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society.

On July 24, 1915, the S.S. Eastland sat on the Chicago River between Clark St. and LaSalle, overflowing with passengers. Slowly the boat leaned to port — and kept leaning, until finally it tipped and came to rest on its side. By day’s end, hundreds perished, whole families vanished, and unexpected heroes emerged.

In Eastland: A New Musical, 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.

Eastland Disaster Anniversary Observance

SATURDAY, JULY 21, 2012

12:00 p.m.

Commemoration and ceremony in the Chicago River, between Clark and LaSalle on the lower-level Riverwalk. The cast of Lookingglass’ Eastland will perform two songs from the musical at the event. The U.S. Coast Guard will conclude the ceremony by laying a bouquet of flowers into the Chicago River at the site of the disaster.

1:30 p.m.

Informal reception and program in the Lookingglass Studio Theater, 821 N Michigan Ave. Alberta Adamson from the Wheaton History Center will give a 20-minute talk about the disaster around 2:00pm.

3:00 p.m.

Performance at Lookingglass Theatre of Eastland: A New Musical

4:30 p.m.

Post-show conversation with members of the cast of Eastland, moderated by Lookingglass Artistic Director and Eastland writer Andy White; and Ted Wachholz, President of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society.

7:30 p.m.

Performance at Lookingglass Theatre of Eastland: A New Musical followed by a special post-show conversation featuring descendants and family members of those on the boat that day

Eastland: A New Musical —Dates, Times and Ticket Information

Lookingglass Theatre 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.

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) and Tiffany Topol (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.

Book and lyrics by: Artistic Director Andrew White; Music by: Ben Sussman and Artistic Associate Andre Pluess; Directed by: Amanda Dehnert.

The show has been extended through Sunday, August 19, 2012, and plays Wednesdays: 7:30 p.m., Thursdays: 3:00 p.m.; 7:30 p.m., Fridays: 7:30 p.m., Saturdays: 3:00 p.m.; 7:30 p.m., and Sundays: 3:00 p.m.; 7:30 p.m. at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago’s historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.

Regular run tickets are $34 – $68. Target Saturday Matinees offer a limited number of buy one, get one free tickets which are available to all 3:00 p.m. Saturday matinees. This program is made possible with the generous support of Target, working with Lookingglass to make the arts accessible to all. A limited number of student tickets are available the day of the show for $20 with valid student ID. Groups of 10 or more patrons save up to 20 percent. Call the box office for details.

To purchase online, go to www.lookingglasstheatre.org, or by phone at (312) 337-0665. The Lookingglass box office is located at Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave.

Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. 2011-2012 marks the company’s 24th 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 57 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. Lookingglass original scripts 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 Richard Ditton of Incredible Technologies and President Joe Brady of Jones Lang LaSalle.

The Eastland Disaster Historical Society is a not-for-profit formed by a family whose ancestors were survivors of the Eastland Disaster. The Society is transforming the way that history education is taught, learned, and shared regarding the Eastland Disaster. More information at EastlandDisaster.org.