CHICAGO – Firebrand Theatre is pleased to announce award-winning actress Barbara E. Robertson will star as Anna (Annie) Edson Taylor in its Chicago premiere of QUEEN OF THE MIST featuring book, music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party, Marie Christine) direction by Elizabeth Margolius and music direction by Charlotte Rivard-Hoster. Newly-arranged for an all-femme quintet, QUEEN OF THE MIST will play May 25 – July 6, 2019 at The Den Theatre’s Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Additional casting will be announced shortly. Single tickets go on sale Saturday, December 15, 2018 at firebrandtheatre.org. The press opening is Tuesday, May 28 at 7:30 pm.
QUEEN OF THE MIST is based on the astounding and outrageous true story of Anna (Annie) Edson Taylor, who in 1901 set out to be the first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design. Navigating both the treacherous Falls and a fickle public with a ravenous appetite for sensationalism, this unconventional heroine vies for her legacy in a world clamoring with swindling managers, assassins, revolutionaries, moralizing family, anarchists and activists. With a soaring score that incorporates turn of the century themes with LaChiusa’s signature complexity and insight, QUEEN OF THE MIST is the story of a single great fall, and how one woman risked death so that she could live.
Comments Firebrand Artistic Director Harmony France, “Anna (Annie) Edson Taylor was an extraordinarily accomplished and vibrant woman who made her own rules in a time when women had very few opportunities. To play such a phenomenal woman, you need to find a truly phenomenal woman. We are so fortunate to have Chicago legend Barbara Robertson, an extraordinarily accomplished and talented actor, filling these shoes. She and Elizabeth really enjoy working together and Barbara is passionate about Firebrand Theatre’s mission of empowering women. It just seems like it was meant to be, and I believe that Chicago is in store for a rare and unforgettable performance.”
Adds France, “We are also thrilled that Michael John LaChiusa, a feminist who writes beautiful material for women, has given us the go-ahead to make the quintet in Queen of the Mist exclusively for femme voices, which will be arranged by our company member Andra Velis Simon. While our mission is to employ and empower women on and off the stage, it can be a daunting task to achieve with our current musical theatre canon. However, with allies like Mr. LaChiusa supporting our efforts, the task gets easier. We thank him, all our allies, and our fellow feminists for being cornerstones of a great movement. Creative casting is the key to Firebrand’s survival, and supportive, visionary artists like Mr. LaChiusa help us expand and enrich the beautiful art form that gives so much to our community and our culture.”
Barbara E. Robertson has performed on many of Chicago’s stages, toured the country in the First National Tour of Angels in America I & II, as well as companies of Wicked, and has received two dozen awards and nominations for performing. This past summer, she played at Peninsula Players in the premiere of Sean Grennan’s Now and Then, as well as Miss Holmes (directed by Elizabeth Margolius) and Drowsy Chaperon; and appears in Goodman Theatre’s upcoming production of A Christmas Carol. This winter, Barbara will play Anne Marie in Steppenwolf’s production of Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2. Barbara can be seen in Robert Altman’s The Company; David Lynch’s The Straight Story, and upcoming projects: The T, Freelancer’s Anonymous and Working Man.
Firebrand is the first musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding opportunities on and off the stage.
Title: QUEEN OF THE MIST
Book, Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Director: Elizabeth Margolius
Music Director: Charlotte Rivard-Hoster
Cast: Barbara E. Robertson (Anna Edson Taylor). Additional casting to be announced.
Location: The Den Theatre’s Janet Bookspan Theatre 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Dates: Previews: Saturday, May 25 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, May 26 at 3 pm
Press performance: Tuesday, May 28 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, May 30 – Saturday, July 6, 2019
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Industry Night: Wednesday, July 3 at 7:30 pm
Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $55. $20 students/industry rush tickets available at the box office. Single tickets will go on sale Saturday, December 15, 2018 at firebrandtheatre.org.
About The Creative Team
Elizabeth Margolius (Director) is a Chicago-based stage and movement director with a primary focus in developing and directing new and rarely produced musical theatre, operetta and opera. Stage/movement directorial credits include: James and the Giant Peach (Viterbo University, WI), Machinal (Greenhouse Theater Center), The Bridges of Madison County (Peninsula Players, WI), Uncle Philip’s Coat (Greenhouse Theater – Jeff nomination for Best Solo Peformance), Haymarket: The Anarchist’s Songbook (Underscore Theatre – 3 Jeff nominations, including Best New Musical), Sitayana (Gift Theatre’s TEN Festival), The Girl in the Train (Chicago Folks Operetta), Goldstar, Ohio (ATC), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, asst. director to Barbara Gaines), The Mikado (the Savoyaires), The Last Cyclist (Genesis Theatrical), The Land of Smiles and The Cousin from Nowhere (Chicago Folks Operetta), Opus 1861 (City Lit Theater – 3 Jeff nominations, including Best Adaptation), Violet (Bailiwick Chicago –5 Jeff nominations, including Best Musical and Best Director), Bernarda Alba and Songs for a New World (BoHo Theatre). Elizabeth is an alumna of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in New York, a recipient of a full directorial scholarship at the Wesley Balk Opera-Music Theater Institute in Minneapolis, a respondent and workshop artist for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival and a finalist for the Charles Abbott Fellowship. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of DirectorsLabChicago; a forum for emerging nationally and internationally based stage directors. Elizabeth is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC).
Charlotte Rivard-Hoster (Music Director) is proud to make her debut with Firebrand! Favorite credits: Legally Blonde, Wizard of Oz (Paramount), Fun Home (Victory Gardens), Marry Me a Little (Porchlight), Urinetown (BoHo), Bat Boy (Griffin), Heathers (Kokandy), Methtacular! (About Face), The Light in The Piazza (Berklee). Charlotte has taught at The Chicago Academy for the Arts, Lake Forest College, Roosevelt, Merit School of Music, and this winter she continues her seventh year with the little musicians at Kellman Elementary through Foundations of Music. With immense gratitude to those I love and lean on, and to those who open doors and leave them open.
Firebrand Theatre’s 2018-19 season sponsor: Michael and Mona Heath of the HeathFund.
Firebrand Theatre is a musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding their opportunities on and off the stage. Firebrand is a 501(c)(3) Equity theatre.
Company members: Artistic Director: Harmony France; Advisory Board: Lili-Anne Brown, Emjoy Gavino, Kate Garassino, Amber Mak and Danni Smith; Company Members: Kasey Alfonso, Becca Brown, Sydney Charles, Liz Chidester, Heather Clark, Adelina Feldman-Schultz, Amanda Horvath, Jon Martinez, Eric Martin, Natalie O’hea, Amelia Jo Parish, Tyler Symone and Andra Velis Simon.