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Lookingglass Theatre Announces EASTLAND: An Original Musical Watch Party, August 20

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The free online public fundraiser will support of Lookingglass Theatre Company.  

Lookingglass Theatre Announces EASTLAND: An Original Musical Watch Party, August 20

Lookingglass Theatre Company announces Eastland: An Original Musical Watch Party will take place on Thursday, August 20 at 7pm CT, a free online public fundraiser of the acclaimed production in support of Lookingglass Theatre Company.  

As the next offering in the Chicago Stories initiative, Lookingglass invites audiences to revisit a relatively unknown piece of history that unfolded in the heart of the City.  After the show, join creative team members Andrew White and Andre Pluess for a post-show conversation. 

Since Eastland premiered on our stage in 2012, audiences have consistently expressed their desire to see this cathartic show again.  Lookingglass is honored to revive, for one night only, this original musical about Chicagoans facing an historic challenge with tenacity, bravery, and hope. This virtual event will be streamed on Lookingglass Theatre's YouTube and Facebook.

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Moored on the Chicago River between Clare St and LaSalle on July 24, 1915, the Eastland began boarding as thousands of Western Electric employees and their families climbed the ramp, excited for their annual company outing. Overflowing with passengers, the boat leaned further and further to port - and was soon tipped entirely on its side.  Within minutes, cries filled the air, families were torn apart and unexpected heroes emerged to rescue dozens of Chicagoans from a watery end.  


Ensemble Member Andrew White resurrects the ghosts of America's forgotten tragedy in this Lookingglass original musical, with music by Ensemble Member Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman, directed by Amanda Dehnert. Inspired in part by Jay Bonansinga's The Sinking of the Eastland: America's Forgotten Tragedy. Eastland: An Original Musical was the recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award. 

Playwright Andrew White says "Everyone knows about The Titanic, but comparatively few know of the Eastland disaster, even though it took place right downtown Chicago. One reason may be that the Eastland passengers were working-class, first-generation immigrants who, like today, kept the country going but were too easily overlooked, discarded, and forgotten."  Lookingglass Artistic Director Heidi Stillman notes, "So much of the story of the Eastland disaster feels deeply resonant with the current moment: how ordinary people are swept up in an historic event with an uncertain future, how some respond with callousness and others with kindness and courage; and throughout it all, the need to preserve and tell our stories." 

As with Sunset 1919 , Eastland revisits a piece of Chicago history that is too often forgotten and untold. This public event will be offered to online viewers as a shared celebration of the human spirit-including the everyday heroes who emerge in times of tragedy.  

Like many theatres, Lookingglass' doors are closed right now, and for the near future, to protect us all from the threat posed by COVID-19. As a non-profit who is currently unable to produce live theatre in our space, now- more than ever- Lookingglass must rely on donations to survive this crisis.  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. (Support the Looking Forward Campaign here)

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