When singer-songwriter Tom Irwin discovered an old book of handwritten notes in his family’s farmhouse, he had no idea where it would take him. The book was a diary written in 1893 by Harry Glen Ludlam, a 16-year-old boy whose family sold the house to Irwin’s great-grandfather. The diary took Irwin back to a time of corn shucking, barn dances and butternut picking. Harry wrote of adventures like visiting the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and of difficulties such as a family crisis that forever changed Harry’s life. Irwin began writing and performing songs based on the diary entries and in 2012 he recorded the songs and compiled them into a collection also called “Sangamon Songs.” This new musical, adapted by John W. Arden, takes the story to the next level, giving life to Harry and tying his experiences across the generations to those of Irwin. Sangamon Songs: A Musical Play is narrated by Tom Irwin and features local musicians Theresa O’Hare, J. D. Wilson and Ross Sermons. Tickets $20. uispac.com.

Sangamon Songs: A Musical Play
Nov. 9-10, 7pm
Sat, 3pm Sun
UIS Performing Arts Center
1 University Plaza

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