'Eastland: A Musical' ✭✭✭

More than 800 souls -- mostly employees of the Western Electric Company -- were lost when the overloaded SS Eastland tipped into the Chicago River in 1915, a disaster that today is barely known and rarely discussed. "Eastland" is the theatrically muddy but moving new musical from the Lookingglass Theatre Company. As one of the wrenching songs by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman notes, there were no rich or famous people on board the Eastland, just working-class folks, but "stories and secrets were lost just the same." "Eastland" starts out with a confusing structure. But when Andrew White's book and Amanda Dehnert's staging begin to focus on the victims, honoring their lives and seeking to understand what caused their deaths, the 90-minute show packs enough of an emotional punch that it is well worth seeing. -- Chris Jones<br><br><b>Through Aug. 19 by Lookingglass Theatre Company in the Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave.; $24-$68 at 312-337-0665 and lookingglasstheatre.org</b>
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( June 28, 2012 )

More than 800 souls -- mostly employees of the Western Electric Company -- were lost when the overloaded SS Eastland tipped into the Chicago River in 1915, a disaster that today is barely known and rarely discussed. "Eastland" is the theatrically muddy but moving new musical from the Lookingglass Theatre Company. As one of the wrenching songs by Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman notes, there were no rich or famous people on board the Eastland, just working-class folks, but "stories and secrets were lost just the same." "Eastland" starts out with a confusing structure. But when Andrew White's book and Amanda Dehnert's staging begin to focus on the victims, honoring their lives and seeking to understand what caused their deaths, the 90-minute show packs enough of an emotional punch that it is well worth seeing. -- Chris Jones

Through Aug. 19 by Lookingglass Theatre Company in the Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave.; $24-$68 at 312-337-0665 and lookingglasstheatre.org

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