Book by June Finfer
Music and Lyrics by Elizabeth Doyle
Reviewed by Frank West
The singing and dancing in this musical are positive, friendly and inviting.
Lost and Found Productions use the choreography to tell the story of Daniel Burnham’s vision of a World’s Fair to celebrate the arrival of Columbus in the new world. We are told of his intense hard work to make the vision become reality.
Inspired by his work in planning the fair, Burnham went on to direct the plan of Chicago. As Burnham says in the play: “We are building for the future.”
The plan guided the orderly development of Chicago during the entire twentieth century. We can thank Burnham for Chicago’s many beautiful parks and boulevards.
The singing and dancing help the audience enter the World’s Fair and to feel its energy. “We’ve created a world filled with positive and challenging issues,” says Elizabeth Doyle, who wrote the music and lyrics for Burnham’s Dream.
The Fair’s buildings were painted gleaming white, hence White City. The huge success of the Fair brought positive attention and pride to Chicago. It was so successful that the third star on Chicago’s flag celebrates the Fair.
Chicago needed positive news because only a few years before, in 1886, the infamous Haymarket Massacre occurred. Seven police officers were killed and many of the workers were injured. Four innocent workers were hung.
The workers plight was desperate: 10 hour work days, low pay and unsafe work conditions were the worst of the abuse.
The year after the World’s Fair there was another bitter labor dispute.
This was the Pullman Strike that stopped rail traffic in much of the country.
The play is based on the book and lyrics written by June Finfer. She graduated from Northwestern in 1958 with a bachelors in Communication. Now she has also earned a B.A. in Theater, an M.A. in Literature and is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America.
Elizabeth Doyle wrote the music and lyrics. She is a singer, pianist, composer and music director. She and her songs have been featured on many venues: cabaret stage, radio and T.V.
The music for Burnham’s Dream is exciting, hopeful and energetic. It was chosen by Paul Thompson, the music director. He told The Daily Northwestern, “ the musical style is an eclectic mix of period ragtime, gospel, blues and classical composition.”
The actors and musicians were excellent.
I can’t say enough good things about how enjoyable Burnham’s Dream is.
The White City will be produced now through July 1 at Theater Wit. The theater is located at 1229 W Belmont, Chicago. A pay parking lot and valet parking are available.
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 3:00. Tickets $30 to $42, Seniors $37.
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Book by June Finfer