Underscore Theatre Premieres HAYMARKET: THE ANARCHIST'S SONGBOOK Tonight
The true story of Chicago's infamous Haymarket massacre comes to life in Underscore Theatre Company's world premiere musical HAYMARKET: THE ANARCHIST'S SONGBOOK, with book and lyrics by Alex Higgin-Houser, music by David Kornfeld, directed by Elizabeth Margolius with music direction by Robert Ollis and Tyler Thompson. Commemorating the 130th anniversary of the deadly bombing and riot at Haymarket Square, this stirring new musical will play tonight, May 14, through June 12, 2016 at Chicago new performance venue, the Edge Theatre at 5451 N. Broadway in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 1, 2016 at www.underscoretheatre.org or by calling (312) 646-0975. The press opening is Tuesday, May 17 at 7:30 pm.
HAYMARKET: THE ANARCHIST'S SONGBOOK is a true Chicago story - the story of Lucy Parsons, daughter of a slave and widow of anarchist martyr Albert Parsons who, on the last day of her life, revisits the Haymarket Affair and the unjust trial that followed it in an attempt to make peace with her past. Like Underscore's production of Borderlands, HAYMARKET is a folk musical in which the actors accompany themselves, with influences ranging from circus to protest songs to roots Americana.
"The Haymarket affair created America's first true Red Scare, setting the tone for global affairs that shaped the 20th century - and it happened right here in Chicago at Randolph and Desplaines," comments Alex Higgin-Houser. "The stories of these men and women, facing down police brutality, income inequality, a corrupt judiciary and a runaway media, offer a window into not only what came before, but what is and could be. By grounding the narrative in American folk traditions, and giving our actors the means of musical production, we're telling story of Chicago's most notorious labor battle in a way that moves past the tragedy and embraces the vibrancy of our city's history. Especially here, and especially now."
The production team for HAYMARKET: THE ANARCHIST'S SONGBOOK includes: Kurtis Boetcher (scenic designer), Carolyn Cristofani (costume designer), Erik Barry (lighting designer) Aaron Stephenson (sound designer) Mealah Heidenreich (props designer), Josh Prisching (technical director), Damian Wille (production manager), Taryn Wood (casting director) and JC Widman (stage manager).
Alex Higgin-Houser (Book & Lyrics) is a playwright, lyricist and director based out of Chicago. As Artistic Director and founding ensemble member of Underscore Theatre Company, Alex has most recently produced The Story of a Story: The Untold Story (2015, Producer), Borderlands (2015, Director) and the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival (2014 - present, Festival Director). As an author, Alex has spent the last three years collaborating with David Kornfeld to create Haymarket, which he completed on a sabbatical in Berlin, Germany. Alongside regular collaborators Laura Stratford, David Kornfeld and Brendan Siegfried, Alex has written or co-written six world-premiere musicals, including an upcoming work commissioned by CPA Theatricals.
David Kornfeld (Music) is a composer, pianist and co-founder of Underscore Theatre Company, and with its ensemble has created and produced numerous original musicals in Chicago and nationwide. David's other collaborations range from large theatres to sketch comedy groups, and everything in between, including Open Door Repertory Theatre, Hey Ladies, Ex-Pats Theatre Company, Whiskey Wry Productions, Summer Place Theatre, The Cabaret Project, Li'l Buds Theatre Company and Memphis' Playhouse on the Square. His compositions have received commendations from the Kennedy Center and ASCAP. He is a licensed street performer and can occasionally be seen busking on keytar in downtown Chicago.
Elizabeth Margolius (Director) is a stage director with a primary focus in developing and directing new and rarely produced musical theatre, operetta and opera. Her Chicago directorial credits include: The Girl in the Train for Chicago Folks Operetta, Twelfth Night for DePaul Opera Theatre, Goldstar, Ohio for American Theater Company, The Merry Wives of Windsor for Chicago Shakespeare Theater (Assistant Director to Barbara Gaines), The Mikado for the Savoyaires, The Last Cyclist for Genesis Theatrical Productions, Death Takes a Holiday for Circle Theatre, Opus 1861 for City Lit Theater, nominated for three Joseph Jefferson Awards, including her nomination for Best Adaptation, Violet for Bailiwick Chicago nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards, including Best Musical and her nomination for Best Director of a Musical, Broadway Sings the Silk Road for Silk Road Theatre Project, Bernarda Alba and Songs for a New World, Chris Jones' Hottest Ticket, for Bohemian Theatre Ensemble, and others. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of DirectorsLabChicago, a forum for emerging nationally and internationally based stage directors. Elizabeth is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
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 32 world-premiere musicals in Chicago. Underscore is proud to be Chicago's home for new musicals.