THE WORLD PREMIERE of BURNHAM’S DREAM: THE WHITE CITY
Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, Chicago. Parking lot available.
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June 1 to July 1, 2018
Thursdays-Fridays-Saturdays 7:30 PM, Sundays 3 PM
box office: www.theaterwit.org or call 773 975 8150
Book by June Finfer
Music by Elizabeth Doyle
Lyrics by June Finfer and Elizabeth Doyle
Burnham’s Dream is the tale of ambition of a city and of an architect. It is Chicago’s Dream City that lived for only a few months, then vanished. But its influence on our lives continues today. When Chicago is chosen to host the 1893 Columbian Exposition World Fair, Burnham and Root are hired to plan and build it. It is the chance of a lifetime for ambitious Burnham and his partner, but at great personal cost.
THE MUSICAL – BURNHAM’S DREAM
In music and song, dance and dialogue, Burnham’s Dream explores the politics and passions behind this unique national event. The music is reminiscent of the Gay Nineties, the dress and lifestyle reflect a Gilded Age, but the urban problems are like those of our time –– integrating immigrants into our society, seeking equal opportunity and rewards by women and Blacks, economic inequalities, improving the quality of life of all. Towards the end of the 19th century, most of the population of Chicago was born somewhere else, or their parents were. They came to Chicago to find opportunity in a fast-growing city. Dan Burnham was one of them.
THE BACKSTORY When Dan Burnham arrived with his parents from upstate New York, he was 8 years old. The City of Chicago was 17. Burnham and Chicago grew up together. He never went to college, but at 25, when the center of the city was destroyed by the Chicago Fire of 1871, he was a draftsman in an architectural office, ready to help to rebuild it. By the time he was in his early 40s, he had become the busiest architect in the city, along with his partner, John Root.
THE FAIR LED TO A PLAN FOR CHICAGO
“This same spirit which carried out the Exposition in such a manner as to make it a lasting credit to the city is still the soul of Chicago, vital and dominant… This spirit — the spirit of Chicago — is our greatest asset. It is not merely civic pride: it is rather the constant, steady determination to bring about the very best conditions of city life for all the people…” Daniel Burnham, 1909 Plan of Chicago