ST. PAUL, Minn., March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The world premiere of Theater Latte Da's original musical Steerage Song, which celebrates the journey of immigrants to America during the height of immigration, will debut at St. Paul's historic Fitzgerald Theater and will run June 2-5, 2011.
Created by Artistic Director Peter Rothstein along with musician and writer Dan Chouinard, the new musical docudrama is premiering in partnership with Minnesota Public Radio. Steerage Song will tell a story through music of the journey immigrants took from Europe to America through Ellis Island.
Ellis Island was the gateway to America—a land of opportunity for some, a land of exclusion for others. Five thousand immigrants a day passed through this "Island of Hope, Island of Tears." Packed into the steerage of steamships, they left their homelands with few possessions, but a wealth of optimism, perseverance and music.
"For 150 years immigration has been a volatile discussion in this country. In creating Steerage Song, I hope to chronicle the journey of millions of new Americans through their music which expressed their hopes, sacrifices, pains and joys," said Rothstein.
Steerage Song is a musical kaleidoscope of the journey to America. Rothstein and Chouinard have woven together a rich tapestry of European immigrant songs, patriotic tunes, and melodies of Tin Pan Alley in a tribute to the voices that created a new sound of America. They have spent the past few years gathering immigrant songs from 30 different European countries.
The show includes lyrics in fifteen different languages, but the driving force is the universal language of music. Providing a context for the music are quotes taken from immigrant guidebooks, Ellis Island documents, immigration legislation and articles about life in New York's Lower East Side tenement district.
"The history of immigration is both rich and cyclical," said Chouinard. "By remembering our own history, we can look with greater understanding on the faces of immigrants in our community today."
Rothstein and Chouinard each have a long and fruitful history of musical storytelling. Rothstein's last creation was All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, which used a similar structure of music and found texts to create a unique musical docudrama. Chouinard's most recent commission was for the Minnesota Historical Society about St. Paul's Rondo neighborhood—the history of its streets, its people and its music.
The impressive cast of singers and actors includes Sasha Andreev, Erin Capello, Denis Curley, Dylan Fresco, Jennifer Grimm, Jay Hornbacher and Natalie Nowytski. They are accompanied by some of Minnesota's finest musicians, including Peter Ostroushko on violin and mando; Laura McKenzie on harp, pipes and concertina; Dirk Freymuth on guitar and strings; Dale Mendenhall on reeds; and Music Director Dan Chouinard on accordion and piano.
By Peter Rothstein and Dan Chouinard
The Fitzgerald Theater - 10 E Exchange St, St Paul, MN 55101
Thursday, June 2, 8:00 PM
Friday, June 3, 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 4, 8:00 PM
Sunday, June 5, 2:00 PM
ABOUT THEATER LATTE DA
Theater Latte Da is a Twin Cities theater company recognized for its ability to connect story, music, artist and audience through diverse stories and theatrical innovation. Theater Latte Da specializes in advancing the art of musical storytelling through emotional, visceral and intellectual performances that resonate with our current world. The company's bold approach expands the genre by originating new works, radically reinventing classics from the musical theater canon, and experimenting with unusual forms, musical styles and storytelling techniques. For more information visit www.LatteDa.org.
For more information, please call 612-339-3003 or go to www.LatteDa.org
SOURCE Theater Latte Da