The Sparrow is a 2007 play written by Nathan Allen, Chris Mathews and Jake Minton. It is about an orphaned high school girl with supernatural powers who survives a deadly train accident, she must learn to deal with her emotions in order to help others in need. Ten years ago, the second graders' bus crashed into a train at a crossing. Emily Book was the only survivor, she moved away and attended another school, is now returning to Spring Farm High for her senior year. Emily has no living family, so Joyce McGuckin allows Emily to live in the McGuckin household. Joyce's daughter, was one of the children killed in the bus crash. Emily is nervous at school but she soon befriends the biology teacher, Mr. Christopher, he introduces her to class president and captain of the cheerleading squad. During PE, the other students throw dodgeballs at her. To defend herself, Emily stops time with her mysterious powers; the powers go unnoticed and the gym teacher sends all the students to detention. Emily shows up to detention, shocking the other students, as she did not participate in the dodgeball game.
This moment of the play brings up many feelings and memories for the students as well as Mr. Christopher. At the homecoming basketball game, the Spring Farm High Sparrows face off against their rivals, the Greenview Hornets; the Hornets' banner hangs over the gym due to their past victory over the Sparrows. At halftime, the cheerleaders enact a dangerous plan to throw Jenny to the ceiling so she can tear the Hornets' banner down, she gets stuck on Emily flies to her rescue, thus revealing her powers publicly. She is praised for her bravery, becomes popular. Mr. Christopher's biology class dissects fetal pigs and Emily uses her powers to make the Mr. Christopher and the students dance with the pigs. At the homecoming dance, Emily sees Mr. Christopher kissing Jenny. Out of jealousy, Emily attacks Jenny with her powers. Jenny realizes that Emily could have caused the bus accident years ago, by magically pushing the bus onto the train tracks; the next day in class she publicly asks Emily. Emily says nothing, runs from the room.
Soon the entire town turns against Emily. Joyce asks Emily if she caused the accident, Emily replies "I didn't mean to". Joyce blames her for the death of Sara, Emily runs away; when Jenny sees Mr. Christopher trying to smuggle Emily out of town, she shoots Christopher. After hearing the gunshot, the townspeople arrive. Emily uses her powers to heal Mr. Christopher. Emily leaves on a train to Chicago, ending the play. Emily Book: Has mysterious supernatural powers. Caused the bus accident that killed her second grade class. Awkward, bookworm, her superpowers reflect her emotions. She is not popular with the students until she saves Jenny at the basketball game and reveals her powers to everyone, she reminds the people of Spring Farm of the bus accident and helps them all to accept the tragedy and move on. Jenny McGrath: Head Cheerleader at Spring Farm High. Popular but insecure. Threatened by Emily's popularity among the students and with Mr. Christopher. Kisses Mr. Christopher at the homecoming dance.
Shoots Mr. Christopher. Dan Christopher: Biology Teacher. Popular with the students. Takes Emily under his wing when she moves back to Spring Farm, his wife, was driving the bus that crashed. Joyce McGuckin: Hosts Emily when she returns to Spring Farm. Lost her own daughter, Sara, in the bus accident. Married to Albert, mother of Charlie. Albert McGuckin: Hosts Emily when she returns to Spring Farm. Owns a hardware store in town. Has a soft spot for Emily though she reminds him of his daughter Sara. Charlie McGuckin: Son of Joyce and Albert who refuses to like Emily. Principal Jim Skor: Principal of Spring Farm High School. Has a lot of school spirit. Coach Gerald Adams: Gym Teacher and Basketball Coach; the Driver: The only person outside the Book household to know Emily's powers. Wants Emily to tell the town what caused the bus accident. Ensemble Roles: Students: Brad Gomer, Jonathon Simpson, Skye Thompson, Stuart Edgarton, Louie Nash, Phoebe Marks, Michelle Allen, Shannon Baker, Carol Schott, Evy Sullivan Adults: Sherriff Rosenthal, Margaret Rosenthal, Allison McGrath, Elizabeth Gilbert, Mark Gilbert, Tammy Adams The House Theatre of Chicago Maine South High School The play has received positive reviews.
Time Out Chicago called it "probably most aesthetically satisfying show to date." Edge said of the play: "it could well make you rethink everything you know about theatrical productions". The Sparrow at TheatreInChicago.com Review by Time Out Chicago Review by Edge The Sparrow at Broadway in Chicago
The South Side Irish is the large Irish-American community on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. The South Side Irish Parade is one of three; the South Side Irish Parade started in 1979. There was another South Side parade; the original Southtown Parade route was on 79th Street from Ashland Avenue to Halsted Avenue in the St. Sabina Parish in Auburn Gresham neighborhood; some years after Richard J. Daley was elected mayor in 1955, he moved the Southtown Parade downtown and changed the name to the St. Patrick's Day Parade, though it continued on its old route until at least 1958. On Saturday, March 17, 1979, best friends and original creators George Hendry and Pat Coakley, along with their wives, assembled 17 children from the West Morgan Park area; the parade route began from the 109th block of S. Talman streets. Marching to the parade theme of “Bring Back St. Pat”, an original parade float of a baby buggy covered with shamrocks and the 26 county flags of Ireland, the South Side Irish Parade was born.
The theme created by Hendry and Coakley was their way of wanting to bring back the South Side parade that they had enjoyed as children. They had delivered notices along the original parade route to encourage people to participate in the parade by standing and waving from their porches. Popularity continued to grow, in 1980 it was moved to Kennedy Park with an increased 300 participants, including children, a bag piper, it has grown since and was moved to its current route, down Western Avenue from 103rd Street to 115th Street through the Beverly and Morgan Park neighborhoods, in 1981. The parade, led by the Chicago Stockyard Kilty Band and held on either the Sunday before or the Sunday of St. Patrick's Day every year, it was considered to be one of the largest St. Patrick's Day community celebrations outside of Dublin; the 2008 parade was the 30th annual parade, held on Sunday, March 9, 2008. Of the two Chicago parades, the other being in downtown, the South Side Irish Parade was the more raucous occasion.
The 2009 parade was the last parade. On March 25, 2009, the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee announced that they were not planning to stage a parade in its present form in March 2010, they noted that the event had become too large for the community to accommodate and the difficulty in policing such a large crowd while maintaining the dignity of the event. However the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee outlined a security plan, saying they "feel will bring this great neighborhood tradition back as the family friendly event it was meant to be"; the parade returned on Sunday, March 11, 2012. Written by, Tom Black, Tom Walsh and Terry McEldowney, A. K. A; the Irish Choir Beverly, Chicago Bridgeport, Chicago Mount Greenwood, Chicago Clearing, Chicago Garfield Ridge, Chicago Canaryville, Chicago Evergreen Park, IL Oak Lawn, IL South Side Irish Parade