Haymarket: the Anarchist's Songbook | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader
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click to enlarge LaKecia Harris with Khaki Pixley, Mike Mazzocca, Victoria Olivier, David Kaplinsky, Summer Hofford and James Smart

LaKecia Harris with Khaki Pixley, Mike Mazzocca, Victoria Olivier, David Kaplinsky, Summer Hofford and James Smart

Evan Hanover

Haymarket: the Anarchist's Songbook 

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through June 12 2016
Price: $20-$25
underscoretheatre.org
Underscore Theatre's original musicalized treatment of Chicago’s Haymarket riot and its aftermath fairly bursts with promise, from Elizabeth Margolius's imagistic staging to Erik Barry's seductive lighting to Robert Ollis's and Tyler Merle Thompson’s exacting musical direction. David Kornfeld's haunting if somewhat derivative score cunningly fuses American folk and European cabaret. Throw in a stalwart nine-person cast who play nearly every acoustic instrument known to man, and you should have a smash. But Alex Higgin-Houser's alternately overfocused (act one) and underfocused (act two) book and workmanlike lyrics turn much of the two-hour show clumsily diagrammatic. And the inconsistent effort to focus the show around Lucy Parsons, firebrand widow of one unjustly executed Haymarket "coconspirator," ultimately comes to nothing. Glimpses of greatness abound. Rigorous reworking awaits. —Justin Hayford

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