Neo-Futurists’ Burning Bluebeard Marks 115th Anniversary of Iroquois Theatre Fire

Photo by Evan Hanover. The Neo-Futurists are staging their sad and fantastical romp based on the true story of Chicago’s 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire, in which 600 audience members were killed. This short run production, done in collaboration with the Ruffians, runs only through Monday, December 31. Sunday, December 30, is the 115th anniversary of the fire. The play is the story of six clown performers who emerge from the burnt remains and perform a vaudevillian show of music, clowning, tumbling, acrobatics and dance. It’s a version of an English Christmas pantomime, a traditional family entertainment. This is the Neo-Futurists’ 30th anniversary year and the seventh year they have staged Burning Bluebeard, written by Jay Torrence and directed by Halena Kays. The show stars Pamela Chermansky, Torrence, Ryan Walters, Kaitlyn Andrews, Dave Honigman and Crosby Sandoval. You can see Burning Bluebeard at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, on Friday, December 28, at 7:30 pm; Saturday, December 29, at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday, December 30, at 3pm; and a special New Year’s Eve performance on Monday, December 31, at 7pm. Tickets ($35 or $25 for students/seniors) are available at Still deciding what to do on New Year’s Eve? An optional New Year’s Eve VIP Package ($75) is available that includes performances of Burning Bluebeard (7:30 pm) and The Infinite Wrench, the Neo-Futurists’ late-night show of 30 two-minute plays in an hour at 11pm. In between shows, VIP ticket holders will be treated to a full dinner, live performances and music, brews from Metropolitan Brewery and type-written poetry on demand from Poems While You Wait. The evening will conclude with a champagne or sparking apple juice toast.
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Nancy S Bishop

Nancy S. Bishop is publisher and Stages editor of Third Coast Review. She’s a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and a 2014 Fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. You can read her personal writing on pop culture at, and follow her on Twitter @nsbishop. She also writes about film, books, art, architecture and design.