The Hypocrites Holiday-Hit Play “Burning Bluebeard” Returns


(left to right) Jay Torrence, Leah Urzendowski, Ryan Walters, Pam Chermansky, Anthony Courser and Molly Plunk in The Ruffians’ production of “Burning Bluebeard,” by Jay Torrence, directed by Halena Kays, presented by The Hypocrites. Photo by Evan Hanover.

Amanda Cooper, our director of concierge relations, is our concierge contributor this week with a recommendation of a must-see production.

The Hypocrites are bringing back the holiday hit “Burning Bluebeard” by Jay Torrence, directed by Halena Kays. This tale influenced by the horrific true story of Chicago’s 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire has been a crowd favorite for two years running. In the beginning, the cast emerges from the charred remains and shares a bit of Chicago history about the Iroquois Theatre. The grand Iroquois Theatre opened in November of 1903 in Chicago’s Theatre District on Randolph Street, one month before the fatal fire that killed more than 600 of its audience members. Yes, that is 300 more people than the actual Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

The cast, six ash-smudged clown performers, attempt to perform the entire Bluebeard tale in hopes of reaching the happy fairy-tale ending of the second act that was never performed due to the fatal fire. I have to admit being an audience member of a show about a show whose audience dramatically burned was a bit unsettling, but true to The Hypocrites theatrical style. “The Burning Bluebeard” is a vaudeville-style performance, with song and dance, acrobatics, and comedy. As the second act nears, the story takes a very dramatic turn as thoughts of the fire is forever burned in the actors minds, but is then out-shined by hope and happiness.

Burning Bluebeard will run now through Janu. 10, 2016 at The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. The production will include two performances on the 112th anniversary of the actual Iroquois Theatre fire: Wednesday, Dece. 30 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at

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