2002 - 2003
Ellis Island, 1910: boatloads of immigrants land in America, awestruck by the sights and sounds. But lurking around every corner are those who would take advantage of the immigrants by hiring them to work under horrible conditions for low wages. Among the newcomers are Rebecca Hershkowitz and her son David.
Six years ago, Rebecca's husband Nathan preceded them to America but he has not come to meet them at the boat. Mother and child are about to be sent back when two strangers, Bella and her father Avram, also immigrants, overhear Rebecca's plight and pretend to be her kinfolk. Rebecca places a newspaper ad to locate Nathan. In the meantime, she and David stay with Bella and Avram.
Rebecca is hired to sew at Bronstein's shop. She meets Saul, who is trying to unionize workers against Bronstein for better pay. Rebecca and Saul are attracted to each other but Rebecca resists her feelings. Meanwhile, Bella hopes to marry the industrious Ben but her father disapproves. Avram also refuses to allow Bella to work in a shop. Against his wishes, Rebecca secures Bella a job in a shirt factory.
Nathan is finally reunited with his family, but they find him greatly changed. He's involved with the political corruption at Tammany Hall. As the announcement is being made about whether Nathan will get a coveted political job, news arrives about a fire in the factory where Bella works. Rebecca flees to her friend ... is Bella safe?
Later, back at Bronstein's, Rebecca demands better wages. She leads her co-workers in a public protest. Nathan warns his wife that anti-union thugs will quash the uprising. He gives her an ultimatum: abandon her cause or lose him! Seeing Nathan's true colours, Rebecca and David are ready to pursue their dreams without him.
Artistic Director: Michael Gareau
Musical Director: Brian Boggs
Choreographer, Assistant to the Artistic Director: Valerie Keenleyside