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Wirtz Center announces the 2019-2020 ‘Love and Power’ Mainstage subscription season

Lineup includes Tony winners ‘Fun Home’ and ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ and the darkly comic ‘Peerless’

Fun Home logo
The Tony Award winning musical 'Fun Home' runs Nov. 8 to 24 at the Wirtz Center

A wife on death row, a Harvard Law School student, an all-powerful ruler and an impoverished orphan are among the characters navigating the intersections of love and power in Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts’ 2019-2020 mainstage season.

Musicals include “Fun Home,” winner of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical, Nov. 8 to 24 and the Laurence Olivier Award-winner “Legally Blonde: The Musical” Feb. 14 to March 1, 2020.

Mainstage plays include an electrifying update of the 1928 play “Machinal” Oct. 25 to Nov. 10, Shakespeare’s tragedy “Julius Caesar” Jan. 31 to Feb. 9, 2020, the Peter Pan-inspired “Peter and the Starcatcher” April 24 to May 3, 2020, and “Peerless,” Jiehae Park’s edgy look at college admissions ambition gone too far.

Subscriptions are on sale now on the Wirtz Center website. Single tickets will be available online beginning Aug. 1. Please note the box office will be closed Aug. 17 to Sept. 2 for the summer break.

Wirtz Center’s new Managing Director Al Heartley’s first season of plays and musicals have been programmed around the theme “Love and Power.”

Al Heartley sm“Providing a wide range of offerings for our students and audiences was a top priority in curating the season,” Heartley said. “Each of these stories, along with our annual partnerships with The Waa Mu Show and the department of dance, will make for a dynamic season. 

Image: Al Heartley photographed by Justin Barbin

“Each show asks in its own way: How do love and power intersect with one another? Are they mutually exclusive? When does one overcome the other? These interrogations will guide our conversations as we explore each production as a community.”

All shows will be presented on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The season is as follows:

“Machinal”
Oct. 25 to Nov. 10
Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive
By Sophie Treadwell
Directed by Jaclyn Biskup

Inspired by the real-life case of convicted and executed murderer Ruth Snyder, this 1928 play is considered one of the high points of Expressionist theatre on the American stage and is re-imagined for a 21st-century audience in this thrilling new staging.

“Fun Home”
Nov. 8 to 24
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive
Book and lyrics by Lisa Kron
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Roger Ellis

Winner of the 2017 Tony Award for Best Musical and the first to award an all-female writing team, this enchanting and harrowing coming of age story asks an all-important question for older Alison -- what is true? And how do we confront our past and the past of those we have loved?

“Julius Caesar”
Jan. 31 to Feb. 9, 2020
Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Danielle Roos

An all-powerful ruler, a skeptical public and a nobleman face off in Shakespeare’s tragedy about ambition, influence and the devastating consequences of taking extreme measures to remove a political leader.

“Legally Blonde: The Musical”
Feb. 14 to March 1, 2020
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive
Book by Heather Hatch
Music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Directed and choreographed by Chris Carter

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the popular 2001 film adaptation, this musical comedy follows Elle Woods as she aims to impress the love of her life by getting into Harvard Law School. The original West End production earned three 2011 Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.

“Peter and the Starcatcher”
April 24 to May 3, 2020
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive
By Rick Elice
Directed by Nate Cohen

A young girl attempts to navigate the harrowing world of 19th-century England and comes to discover a new land of wonder and adventure in this Tony Award-winning adaptation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s best-selling novels.

“Peerless”
May 15 to 24, 2020
Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive
By Jiehae Park
Directed by Sarah Gitenstein

Two young women, L and M, strive to get into “the College,” a highly prestigious school which will secure their future in a timely “Macbeth”-inspired tale that confronts the myth of meritocracy and the extremes of how far people will go to succeed.

The Wirtz Center also presents “Danceworks 2020” under the artistic direction of Joel Valentín-Martinez, March 4 to 8, 2020, in the Josephine Louis Theater, and the 89th annual Waa-Mu Show, May 1 to 10, 2020, in Cahn Auditorium. These annual productions can be added on to the mainstage series subscriptions.

Six-play subscription prices range from $56 to $148. Flex Passes are also available for $115, which include six admissions to any mainstage or 2019 – 2020 Stage on Screen film event.

Single tickets are available online beginning Aug. 1 on the Wirtz Center website, and in person Sept. 24 at the box office and by phone at 847-491-7282.   

The Wirtz Center Box Office is located in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston. Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

The Wirtz Center is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. 

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