Known today more from the folk song sung by Joan Baez and Paul Robeson ("I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night"), Joe Hill was a songwriter and IWW revolutionary in the early 1900s. The victim of a police frame-up in Utah, he was executed by a firing squad in in Utah 1915. This musical blends Joe Hill's work with sounds and struggles of today and asks, "how different was it really back then?"
Readings, auditions and rehearsals will begin soon, with a world premiere in September at Rustik Tavern in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
To get in touch with Brooklyn Tavern Theater, email Dan Furman at: email@example.com.
Graphic from "The Basics of Organizing," published by the IWW
When Joe Hill arrived in Utah, his friend Otto Appelquist was getting engaged to Hilda Erickson. But a romance seems to have developed between Joe and Hilda as well, and events were set into motion that led to Otto shooting Joe in a jealous rage. The state of Utah used the incident to frame Joe up for the murder of a grocer that happened that same night in Salt Lake City (one of the attackers was shot as he fled the scene).
Hilda Erickson visited Joe Hill every Sunday in prison until his execution 22 months later. The lyrics to this song, presumably written by Joe to Hilda, were discovered after his death. The song occurs just as Joe has met Hilda for the first time.
"Oh, Please, Let Me Dance This Waltz," Lyrics: Joe Hill, Music: Dan Furman. Sung by Laurént Williams, with Sailor Mayberry and Ursula D'Antillo Stout