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  Burning Bluebeard at Ruth Page Center For Arts

Burning Bluebeard

Ruth Page Center For Arts
1016 N. Dearborn Pkwy Chicago

Porchlight Music Theatre plays host to a fast-growing Chicago holiday tradition for a strictly limited engagement! Burning Bluebeard, created and performed by the critically acclaimed theatre troupe The Ruffians, has been touted as "a show you won't quickly forget and that you could only see in Chicago" by the Chicago Tribune, and NewCity says the production is "filled to the brim with irreverent humor, riveting dance sequences and enough charm to fill a bucket..." Told with music, clowning, tumbling, acrobatics and dance, "Burning Bluebeard," is a physical-performance phenomena inspired by the true story of Chicago's former Iroquois Theatre and the unforgettable events that resulted in tragedy for 600 theatergoers at Christmastime in 1903. A holiday tradition for many since its debut in 2011, each performance excavates the poetic and poignant remains of a piece of Chicago's rich history and leaves the audiences with an unforgettable experience.

Thru - Dec 27, 2019

Price: $45

Show Type: Comedy/Drama

Box Office: 312-337-6453

Ruth Page Center For Arts Seating Chart

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  Burning Bluebeard Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...But Burning Bluebeard pushes beyond its title: In a final tableau the sextet are granted a happy rather than hideous ending, with the wife killer Bluebeard properly disposed of (as the children on December 30, 1903 never got to see). For one more night — and nine seasons so far — The Ruffians’ art, a salute to thespians past and future, has triumphed over the Iroquois Theatre’s senseless slaughter. The purgation works: In perhaps their finest offering ever, The Ruffians deliver a “gift” for Chicagoans whether they deserve it or not."
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Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Recommended

"...Let's Play, 'Recommend' Chicago's Holiday Legend a haunting tale, of The Ruffians Burning Bluebeard, where a fake moonlight sparked real flames. We suggest you read up on the history of The Iroquois Theatre and this play so you can understand its totality. "
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"... If you prefer watching the tragic rather than the magic of Christmas, then “Burning Bluebeard”, written by Jay Torrence and directed by Halena Kays, is sure to ignite your interest. Funny, macabre, and frightfully delightful, the performance tells the story of the inferno at the Iroquois Theater, in Chicago, during the Wednesday matinee of “Bluebeard”, a children’s show playing on December 30, 1903. The modern retelling is largely a prologue to the second act of the original musical, where audience members were caught in an electrical fire followed by a stampede, and then burned alive."
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Julia W. Rath

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...Sometimes, when a show resonates, trying to describe it or how it does what it does feels like breaking its bones: the experience, so elegantly manifested, becomes subsumed by the words and then crammed into a trunk for digestible recommendation. It’s easier sometimes, but in this instance words fail me."
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Persephone Jones

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Every component works in sync for this production, directed with fierce showmanship by Halana Kays, and supported by a team of magically gifted theatrical artists. The actors in this year's remount are terrific and together create a must-see production, a surreal interpretation of one of Illinois' most tragic historical events, that's impossible to forget."
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Colin Douglas - Highly Recommended

"...The Ruffians theater troupe recounts this tale - seminal to Chicago's theater communit - in Burning Bluebeard, in a truly inspired production. The performance incorporates dance, music, mime, acrobatics, in a that evokes the atmospheric gymnastics of Cirque de Soleil, or perhaps even more the defunct Red Moon Theater for those who remember it). Let's say from the start Burning Bluebeard is entrancing, mesmerizing, and something not to be missed."
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Bill Esler

The Fourth Walsh - Highly Recommended

"...New this year is BURNING BLUEBEARD on Porchlight's stage. The change takes the already terrific show up several rungs. The show benefits from being in a traditional theatre setting. The arched remains of "Sunset Boulevard" (Scenic Designer Jeff Kmiec) is the perfect backdrop. An exit through a stage door is lit with a surreal radiance (Lighting Designer Maggie Fullilove-Nugent). The strongest effect from the alternative stage is it's uncomfortably easier to imagine that chaotic 15 minutes experienced by the audience. From my middle seat perch, I'm overly aware of where the exit signs are."
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Katy Walsh

Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Highly Recommended

"...Daring director Halena Kays wisely, expertly guides the interactive show from the bizarre to the beautiful to the breaking, and then back ‘round the other way. Jay Torrence’s titanic script is a madcap multigenre experiment that works without a hitch due to its roots in real emotion, regret, and quixotic hope. Together, true to theatrical traditions, Kays and Torrence work a gag a minute. Burning Bluebeard brilliantly takes big beats from vaudeville, pantomime, Lip Sync Battle and even Icelandic techno as its delightfully deranged veers between merry and melancholic on its masterfully-crafted descent into madness and ascent into forgiveness"
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Ian Rigg

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...In its restaging of Mr Bluebeard, the Ruffians incorporate many elements typically found in pantomimes of the time, including silent scenes consisting only of dancing or some sort of physical movement, slapstick, audience participation, cross-dressing, risque humor, gags, and exquisite use of contemporary songs. The latter is pitch perfect: the contained chaos of Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit" in the early moments foreshadows what is to follow. It feels right too that the opening piano chords of John Lennon's wistful "Imagine" seamlessly morphs into the cynicism of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab.""
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June Sawyers

Chicago Theater and Arts - Recommended

"...Though there are a few slow spots early on as we are trying to understand where the plot line is headed, the talented cast excels at telling the story through their dialogue as well as physical movement - - and the breathtaking finale is experiential theater at its best."
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Reno Lovison

PicksInSix - Highly Recommended

"...You will have a few "Titanic" moments along the way, but I will not spoil the ending or divulge more about the exceptional work and truly artful storytelling of a legendary Chicago story-an imaginative production that will warm your heart even as it chills you to the bone."
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Ed Tracy

TotalTheater - Highly Recommended

"...In the eight years since its premiere, Burning Bluebeard has played in a variety of settings, but the 1927-vintage Ruth Page Center for the Arts, currently leased to Porchlight Music Theater, is the one most closely approximating the gilded-age Iroquois palace, its balcony permitting objects to be dropped into waiting arms below and rendering painfully vivid the story of the fly-wire ballerina forced to plunge from its rail in a blaze, not of glory, but muslin costume in flames. It can be argued that accidents of this magnitude could as easily occur in other cities, but Chicago playgoers who might wonder why a painted scrim is always raised in view of the audience before the start of a play, or why seats in Row "I" are as rare as thirteenth-floor rooms in hotels, or why pedestrians avoid the alley at Randolph and Dearborn even in daytime will find answers in this deceptively brief (100 minutes) docu-fantasy."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...Full of beauty and wonder, Burning Bluebeard is a must-see. This writer has certainly not stopped thinking about the performance since, and feels confident that she has a new Chicago holiday tradition."
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Lauren Katz

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