Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-11-07
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



by Catey Sullivan

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Alex Higgin-Houser ( book, lyrics ), David Kornfeld ( music )

At: Underscore Theatre at the Den Theatre's Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets:; $30-$35, $15 students, industry. Runs through: July 22

If you're not on the clock 16 hours of every 24 and didn't have to quit elementary school to go work in a factory, you owe a debt to the labor activists of the Haymarket Affair.

Most Haymarket histories focus on Albert Parsons and the other men condemned to death for their alleged role in a May 4, 1886 labor rally that turned deadly. But it's not Albert Parsons at the center of Underscore Theatre's delightfully raucous musical Haymarket. It is, instead, Lucy Gonzalez Parsons—Albert's wife.

In Alex Higgin-Houser ( book and lyrics ) and composer David Kornfeld's new musical, Lucy ( Bridget Adams-King ) embodies the power and the enduring legacy of Haymarket-era activism. Like Hamilton's Eliza Hamilton, Lucy Parsons effected lasting change long after her husband's death.In her fight to change the world and control her own narrative, she prevailed. In Lucy's orbit, director Nick Thornton has crafted a wonderful hullabaloo.

Haymarket is a showpiece for an ensemble of terrifically skilled musicians. Music director Robert Ollis has the cast playing guitars, banjos, mouth organs, washboards, drums, horns, violins, lutes, ukuleles, electric basses and keyboards throughout. This is a group that has its way with double-jointed barchords, athletically demanding strums and delicate plucking. Their a cappella work will give you the shivers: When the instruments cut out and all that remains are the vocals, all seems right with the world.

The Haymarket story remains upsettingly relevant. On May 3, 1886 police opened fire an on an unarmed gathering of laborers striking for an 8-hour workday at the McCormick Reaper Works. Several strikers were killed. The next day, workers rallied in Haymarket Square. The police showed. Someone threw a bomb. Eight cops died. To this day, no one knows who threw the bomb. As Haymarket shows with a circus metaphor that's both whacky and alarming, the trial that condemned Parsons and his cohorts was a travesty.

Haymarket skims over some of the facts, but doesn't skimp on the music. There is an honesty and a fierceness to the ensemble's multi-faceted sounds, whether they're stomping the floorboards with boots that double as percussion instruments or raising the rafters with their soaring harmonies.

The characters aren't always deep, but they've got shine to spare. As bomb expert Louis Lingg, Joey Herbert smolders like a fuse ready to blow. Erik Pearson's Albert Parsons is both maddening ( in his insistence that his wife take a distant back seat in a movement she's more than capable of leading ) and loving ( there's no doubt but Albert and Lucy are devoted to each other, even when they are frustrated with each other ). The "pick chorus" of Eric Loughlin, Elleon Dobias and Kelsey Smith create a barn-burning hootenanny on their varied instruments.

If you're able to take any kind of work holiday this summer—weekend or otherwise—tip your hat to Lucy Parsons.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

City approves $13M financing for Uptown Theatre Rehabilitation 2018-11-13 - ( November 13, 2018 ) Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the Community Development Commission voted to approve a $75 million rehabilitation of ...

Gay News

Broadway In Chicago renames Oriental Theatre to honor the late James M. Nederlander 2018-11-13 - CHICAGO ( November 13, 2018 ) — Broadway In Chicago today proudly announced their plans to honor the late James M. Nederlander, the ...

Gay News

The Last Session 2018-11-07 - Playwright: Steve Schalchlin, music/lyrics; Jim Brochu, book; John Bettis/Marie Cain, additional lyrics At: Refuge Theatre Project @ Atlas. Art Studio, 4809 N. Ravenswood ...

Gay News

Reese Witherspoon, Sophia Bush appear Nov. 12 2018-11-07 - Hello Sunshine x Together Live is welcoming actresses Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Bush to its Chicago lineup, which will be held Monday, Nov. ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-11-07 - Rock 'N' Roll, The Artistic Home, through Nov. 18. Tom Stoppard's clever play channels the collapse of European Communism through rock music, centered ...

Gay News

SPOTLIGHT Ekili Munda (What Lies Beneath) 2018-11-07 - A transatlantic partnership 10 years in the making comes to fruition with Ekili Munda ( What Lies Beneath ), a collaboration between Kampala ...

Gay News

Nina Simone, Four Women coming to Northlight Theatre 2018-11-06 - Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, continues its 2018-19 season with Nina Simone: ...

Gay News

Lady in Denmark 2018-11-05 - Playwright Dael Orlandersmith At Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. Tickets:; 312-443-3800; $15-$45. Runs through: Nov. 18 Historical fiction typically recounts ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW An Oak Tree 2018-11-05 - By Tim Crouch At The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Tickets:; $20-$22. Runs through: Dec. 9 Red Theater's An Oak ...

Gay News

The Scientific Method 2018-11-05 - By Jenny Connell Davis At Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Ave. Tickets:, $28-$38. Runs through: Dec. 2 Scientific research ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.