Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society Lifetime member and volunteer June Finfer has written the book and lyrics for a new musical telling the story of visionary architect Daniel H. Burnham and Chicago’s great World’s Fair. Previews begin June 2 at Theater Wit.
A lively new look at the story of an important chapter in Chicago history, BURNHAM’S DREAM: THE WHITE CITY celebrates the 125th anniversary of the 1893 World’s Fair and is endorsed by the State of Illinois Bi-Centennial Committee.
Lost and Founds Productions’ world premiere of BURNHAM’S DREAM: THE WHITE CITY will play June 2 – July 1, 2018 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are available at www.theaterwit.org, by calling (773) 975-8150, or in person at the Theater Wit Box Office.
See the show on JUNE 14 and stay for a special Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society post-show conversation with June Finfer.
About the Show
Tracing Burnham’s journey from an ambitious promoter to a visionary urban designer who would later direct the master plan for the future of Chicago’s development, the story begins when Chicago wins its bid to host a great World’s Fair to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the New World and ambitious architect Daniel Burnham fights to win the job of building it. But challenged by time, fate and Louis Sullivan, Burnham is forced to confront immigrants, women, and African-Americans who fight to be included in the Fair. Business leaders, workers and architects face looming deadlines to welcome millions of visitors to the Columbian Exposition, an event that ultimately marked the emergence of Chicago and Burnham as leading forces in the newly-developing field of urban planning.
In addition to June Finfer’s book and lyrics, the production features music and lyrics by Elizabeth Doyle, direction by Erik Wagner and choreography by Jessica Texidor. The cast of characters is a who’s who of important names from Chicago history, including Pavi Proczko as Daniel Burnham, Daniel Leahy as Louis Sullivan, Arielle Leverett as Ida B. Wells, Genevieve Thiers as Bertha Palmer and Sam Massey as John Root. Other cast members are Rob Brady (Richard Hunt, Harlow Higinbotham), Laura Degrenia (Margaret Burnham), Jacob Fjare (Bobbie, Patrick), Michael Kingston (Lyman Gage, Stein), and Chase Wheaton-Werle (Michael O’Malley).
About the Creative Team
June Finfer (Book, Lyrics) is a Chicago playwright and documentary filmmaker, president of Lost and Found Productions. Her play about Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, The Glass House, premiered in New York City’s Theatre Row, starring Harold Uhlin. Her adaptation of a novel by Shirley Jackson featuring Estelle Parsons was directed for American Playhouse by Joanne Woodward. She has written and produced numerous documentaries about architecture, which are distributed throughout the world. Her screenplay, Jersey Justice: The Trenton Six, was a Finalist in the 2017 Big Break Final Draft Screenplay Competition. She holds a B.A. in Theater from Northwestern University and a M.A. in Literature from the University of Chicago, as well as graduate studies in photography and film at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America, East.
Elizabeth Doyle (Music, Lyrics) is a singer, pianist, composer and music director. She has written music for several musicals, including Sleepy Hollow, which has had multiple productions in the Midwest and California and was featured in the Los Angeles’ Disney/ASCAP workshop; along with Duo, Fat Tuesday, Alice in Analysis and The Virginian. She was a featured guest on legendary Marian McPartland’s National Pubic Radio Show, Piano Jazz, and the magnet for many years at Chicago’s famed Pump Room, Swiss Hotel, Drake Hotel, Palmer House and Fairmont Metropole. She has performed in two ASCAP new music showcases in New York, and had her material featured in the Chicago Humanities Festival, at Park West, Drury Lane Water Tower, Bailiwick, Maxim’s, Victory Gardens and in a Preston Bradley program honoring Chicago songwriters. Her original songs have been featured on BBC Radio, at U.S. theaters, museums and art centers as well as at the first Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion in Paris last September.
Erik Wagner (Director) is an Adjunct Professor at Elmhurst College, recently directing The Burnt Part Boys and Thark. Other recent productions include a piece he created with Shakespeare All-Stars, Shakespeare’s Revisionist Historie, as well as God of Carnage, 24 Words, Xanadu, Jane Eyre, Kimberly Akimbo, A Year with Frog and Toad, Shakespeare’s R & J, Next Fall and Orpheus Descending. He earned his MFA in Theatre Directing from Western Illinois University.
Jessica Texidor (Choreographer) works in Chicagoland theatre and theatre education with several companies in many capacities. For Artreach/Spotlighttheatrix, Jessica is an associate producer and instructor, with American Eagle Productions she serves as choreographer, instructor and performer. Jessica has been a teaching artist for Raven Theatre, resident choreographer for The Round Barn Theatre, director and choreographer for Princess Cruise Lines Alaska with Little Pyramid Productions, and has performed in musicals throughout the country. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Loyola University.
About Lost and Found Productions
Lost and Found Productions creates thought-provoking films and plays about the arts, including architecture for a wide audience, especially the work of Chicago area visionaries like Mies van der Rohe and Daniel Burnham. Lost and Found Productions is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt, charitable organization. June Finfer is President and Executive Producer. For additional information, visit www.lostandfoundproductions.org or www.whitecitymusical.org.