The Ballad of Joe Hill
First presented at The Eastern State Penitentiary in Sept 2006
The audience is lead through a series of passages through a crumbling prison. They meet an eerie woman, in rags and tatters who does not speak but begins to sing "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night..." She pulls a curtain back to reveal a rag tag band of men play out a journey to America, land of promise, like a silent movie.
These vaudeville-inspired clowns enact a troubled union leader's life story: A rail car ride. A mysterious drugstore murder. An unnamed woman whose reputation is in jeopardy. Prison riots break out while men sing the music the inspired the working masses. Ultimately, all we know is that Joe Hill cannot escape his date with a firing squad.
Juxtaposed against a crumbling historic ruin "Joe Hill" is both a condemnation and celebration of Hill's legacy.
An original musical theater piece "The Ballad of JoeHill" invaded an entire Eastern State Penitentiary cell block during the fall of 2006.
Directed by Adrienne Mackey
with writing by Tim Martin
Created by Robert DaPonte, Brendon Gawel, Liz Green, Justin Jain, Derrick Loafman, Adrienne Mackey, Tim Martin, Audrey Pernell, Dave Sweeny and Bradley Wrenn
Performed by Robert DaPonte, Ed Miller, Justin Jain, Ross Beschler, Dawn Falato, Dave Sweeny and Bradley Wrenn
Lighting Design by Maria Shaplin
Soundscape/Vocal Coaching by Adrienne Mackey
Costume Design by Rebecca Kanach
Stage Management by Flora Vassar
Photo Credit: JJ Tiziou www.jjtiziou.net