Saturday at CSPS Hall: One-man play tells the story of labor hero Joe Hill

Joe Hill’s Last Will

CSPS Hall — Saturday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m.

On Nov 19, 1915, after a questionable trial over a trumped-up murder charge, labor activist and songwriter Joe Hill was executed by firing squad in Utah. Since his death, he has become a legend, memorialized in poetry, prose, song and the play Joe Hill’s Last Will, a 2011 piece by folk songwriter and musical theatre composer-lyricist Si Kahn. Storyteller and multi-instrumentalist John McCutcheon begins a five-city tour of this one-man play on the 100th anniversary of Joe Hill’s death, landing at Legion Arts’ CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids on Sat., Nov 21.

Photo by Doug Oines
Photo by Doug Oines

Joe Hill’s Last Will marries Hill’s own songs with a script by Kahn. McCutcheon originated the role of the Swedish-born agitator back in 2011 in the play’s first production. Kahn and McCutcheon are, in true folk music tradition, both activists in their own rights as well as musicians; they are fitting partners to bring Hill’s story to the stage. Born Joel Hägglund in 1879, Joe Hill emigrated to the U.S. in 1902. He traveled the country as a migrant worker and was well known as a member of and organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (or “Wobblies”).

The play is an exploration of the night before Joe Hill’s execution, as he sits in a Salt Lake City prison cell. It takes its title from the note titled “My Last Will,” written by Hill in poem form, beginning: “My will is easy to decide / For there is nothing to divide.” A CD of McCutcheon’s performances of the music from the play was successfully funded through Kickstarter and released in May. Joe Hill’s Last Will begins at 8 p.m. at CSPS Hall on Saturday, Nov. 21. Tickets are still available.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »




Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.