Thaddeus and Slocum


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It’s 1908 and Chicago’s Majestic Theatre is the jewel of the vaudeville circuit. The only thing stopping Thaddeus and Slocum from becoming the next great stage act is as simple – and complicated – as black and white. Will laughter triumph and friendship endure as racial boundaries threaten to destroy their dreams of making the “big time?”

Lookingglass dives deep into the divided heart of American culture and show biz for a daring cavalcade of slapstick, song and dance, and burlesque as two best friends risk everything to make it to the top together.

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Chicago Tribune:
Highly Recommended.
“This is a singularly smart and complicated dramatic idea…even inviting an audience to laugh along with Thaddeus and Slocum’s funny routines while simultaneously laying bare the truth that American attitudes toward race always were based on paradox and power…Not to be missed.” Three and ½ Stars

Chicago Sun-Times:
“…vividly embodies the dynamics of race and show business in this city as they existed more than a century ago…”

Newcity Stage:
Highly Recommended.
Thaddeus and Slocum
 is the kind of theater that artists and audiences alike come to Lookingglass for. It is a big work that grapples with big ideas.”

Chicago Reader:
“It’s an examination of race, identity, and discrimination sprinkled with high-energy song-and-dance performances.”

Stage and Cinema:
“Living up to its title billing, Lookingglass Theatre Company’s world premiere Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure is a rampage down Memory Lane…. It’s well worth the ride….”

Chicago Critic:
Highly Recommended
“Lookingglass’s new play makes a strong case for why inclusiveness is vital to the arts, and does so through a masterful piece of tragic storytelling.”

Around The Town:
“Highly Recommended **** Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure is a certified hit in my book! …it is an insightful and thoroughly delightful glimpse at vaudeville in 1908. Thaddeus and Slocum’ got to me, so I give it 4 Spotlights.”

Chicago Theatre and Concert Reviews:
“…it entertains with its versatility, as well as its look at an era when racial prejudice was at the forefront of the entertainment industry. This show could be a prequel to Broadway’s terrific new musical, “Shuffle Along,” while it also serves to shed some light on a little-known chapter of Chicago history that needs to be experienced. The characters may be fictional, but the story is authentic. It’s all there in black and white.”

Chicagoland Musical Theatre:
“…the book by Lookingglass ensemble member Kevin Douglas is dramatic, humorous, thoughtful, important and (sadly) timely. Yes, perhaps this piece shows that we have come a long way in our racial relations since the days of black face performers, but it certainly calls attention to the current state and the reminder that society has a long, long way to go.”
“The first act is highly entertaining, illustrating what Lookingglass does best: physically impressive acrobatics married with thoughtful subject matter in a carefully crafted stage setup….”

Behind the Scenes

Thaddeus and Slocum: Reduced Shakespeare Podcast

Episode 501. Thaddeus And Slocum

Watch: A breakout song from ‘Thaddeus and Slocum’ at Lookingglass