Scarlet Sisters Everleigh
Nov 6 to Nov 29, 2014 at the Berger Park Coach House
Approximate running time: 90 minutes
Performances run Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 7:30pm and Saturdays at 4pm and 7:30pm through November 29, 2014
No Show on Thursday, November 27
Special Holiday Matinee on Friday, November 28 at 3pm (no evening show on the 28th)
A world premiere play exploring the scandalous lives of the Everleigh Sisters, the famous madams from the legendary southside Chicago brothel, the Everleigh Club.
Living in New York City, Ada and Minna, former Everleigh Club madams, are struggling to enjoy their retirement. As a reporter starts to pry into the sisters past, their wall of secrets begins to crack. Funny, poignant, and sad, the Scarlet Sisters Everleigh is peek into the scandalous Chicago Levee District of the early 1900s.
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written and directed by Jason Paul Smith
original music and music arrangements by Gary Gimmestad
Katherine Bellantone, Jamie Birkner, Baird Brutscher, Tim Steinmetz, Shaina Summerville, Ann Marie White and Sheila Willis
Resident Stage Manager:
Resident Lighting and Set Designer:
Behind the Scenes Blog
October 28, 2014
As Jason and I began doing research on the Everleigh Club, it quickly became apparent that there were many, many stories to tell. Chicago’s Levee district in the first decade of the twentieth century is a touchstone, a window onto its recent past – the Civli War and the migration north – and to the near future – the next phase of Chicago’s gangland history. It was a colorful and extravagant time, indeed, but we decided to to narrow our focus to explore that world through the curious and sketchy history of the two sisters who became very successful madams – Everleigh?
Lester? Simms? – and after a decade of spectacular success, retired to a materially comfortable but socially awkward life in New York City.
Eighty-three years prior to the publication of Maya Angelou’s most celebrated poem, “Caged Bird,” Harry Von Tilzer and Arthur J. Lamb released a smash-hit sentimental ballad called “A Bird in a Gilded Cage.”
October 23, 2014
The most renowned piece of furniture in the Everleigh Club was a little piano covered in gold leaf – the primary symbol of the club’s gaudy opulence. Ada dearly loved the piano and even explained her refusal to marry a suitor because of his dislike of the piano.
When the sisters approached the Kimball Piano Company with their request to commission a gold-covered piano, the owner, William Wallace Kimball, recognized the club’s Levee district address and immediately saw through the lie about the sisters’ proposed “private conservatory of music” and turned them down, fearing a reflection on his company’s reputation. They succeeded with a dealer in new York who, presumably, didn’t know the meaning of their address.