The saga of Ellis Island immigration as told through Old World songs, Tin Pan Alley tunes and turn of the century newspapers.
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 hope, promise and music. Steerage Song is a musical kaleidoscope of their journey to America.
Steerage Song premiered in concert form at the Fitzgerald Theater in 2011. In the ensuing months, co-creators Peter Rothstein and Dan Chouinard continued to develop the docu-musical, blending the songs of 20 countries of Old Europe and the rhythms of Tin Pan Alley into a moving, fully-staged, new musical.
Steerage Song had its theatrical premiere in Minneapolis in the fall of 2013, a monthlong run produced by Theater Latté Da that was extended to accommodate demand. At year’s end it was named among the Star Tribune’s “Best of the Theater.” A grant-supported Minnesota tour followed in 2014, and a summer 2016 production at the Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield WI.
“The musical performance was exemplary”
– William Randall Beard, Star Tribune
“Steerage Song refers to the immigrants making the choice to not only change their life by going to America, but also the lives of their family for generations to come. This rings true for all of us. This is a show we can all connect with.”
– Erin Nagel, Broadway World
“Steerage Song is filled with fabulous music and marvelous texts, performed expertly by lavishly talented actor/singers. It’s universally enjoyable”
– John Olive, HowWasTheShow.com
St. Paul Pioneer Press review
Minneapolis Star Tribune review
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