The Fourth Ward is a historic drama loosely based on events in the life of Jacob Riis, the author of How the Other Half Lives. It is the story of how he used his revolutionary new invention, flash photography, to bring light to the horrible living conditions of immigrants in New York City in the early 1900s. This heavy ensemble piece begins with Riis capturing photographs and crossing paths with the Vasnetov and McCauley families-Russian and Irish immigrants sharing tenement housing in the fourth ward. Riis begins a partnership with Aleksandrina Vasnetov that blossoms into romance. Meanwhile, we discover the struggles that the families must endure because of the poor living conditions-lack of space to continue dancing as they did Russia, mental health issues, separation from family members, and harsh dealings with New York City gangs. Through the heartache of these events, Riis is able to inspire the families and bring about social change.
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