Burning Bluebeard | Den Theatre | Theater & Performance, Holiday Shows | Chicago Reader
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Jay Torrence, Leah Urzendowski, Ryan Walters, Pam Chermansky, Anthony Courser, and Molly Plunk

Jay Torrence, Leah Urzendowski, Ryan Walters, Pam Chermansky, Anthony Courser, and Molly Plunk

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 10 2016
Price: $36
goruffians.org
As far as holiday classics go, it's safe to assume Jay Torrence's 2011 docu-fantasy has the highest body count. In the charred remains of the Iroquois Theatre, the 1903 Chicago spectacle-turned-disaster where nearly 600 women and children burned and suffocated in the worst building fire in American history, six actors and crew try to complete the show's final act—this time without killing everyone. Directed by Halena Kays, this coproduction from the Hypocrites and the Ruffians masterfully pivots between gallows humor and paralyzing moments of awe; it's unpredictable, musical, and manipulative in the best way. Pam Chermansky doesn't quite create the layers of depth originated by Dean Evans as a sinister clown fixated on the story's many true-fact tragic ironies, but nonetheless it's a critical piece of local history told by a collective exemplifying style on the Chicago stage. —Dan Jakes

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