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Wirtz Center’s 2019-2020 Stage on Screen series presents the best of British theater on film

Stage on screen actors

Transport yourself to London’s top theaters to experience the glorious larger-than-life characters of Shakespeare, Mary Shelly, Arthur Miller and other dramatic masterpieces as they come alive on the big screen. Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts is proud to present the 2019-2020 Stage on Screen series that programs the best of British theater as captured by National Theatre Live for viewing by theater fans around the world.  

Stage on Screen programs will be shown at either the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, or the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus.

Notable performances include Benedict Cumberbatch in Nick Dear’s adaptation of Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein,” which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, and Sally Field and Bill Pullman in Miller’s shattering drama “All My Sons.” 

“As a University performing arts center, it is central to our mission to provide our audiences with a variety of programming to engage with,” said Wirtz Center Managing Director Al Heartley. “Our Stage on Screen series brings the best of British theater to the screen adding to the cultural vibrancy of the Northwestern and Evanston-area communities.”  

The schedule for the screenings is as follows: 

National Theatre Live Encore: “Frankenstein

By Nick Dear
Based on the novel by Mary Shelley
Directed by Danny Boyle
Saturday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. (with Benedict Cumberbatch as The Creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Dr. Frankenstein)
Sunday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m. (with Miller as The Creature and Cumberbatch as Dr. Frankenstein )
Josephine Louis Theater
20 Arts Circle Drive

“Frankenstein” returns to international cinemas to mark the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s most famous novel. Captured live in 2011 from London’s Royal National Theatre stage, this thrilling, sold-out production became an international sensation, experienced by nearly half a million people in cinemas around the world. Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the increasingly desperate and vengeful Creature is determined to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal.

National Theatre Live: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Nicholas Hytner
Sunday, Nov. 17, at 2 p.m.
Josephine Louis Theater
20 Arts Circle Drive 

A feuding fairy King and Queen of the forest cross paths with four runaway lovers and a troupe of actors trying to rehearse a play. As their dispute grows, the magical royal couple meddle with mortal lives leading to love triangles, mistaken identities and transformations -- with hilarious, but dark, consequences. Captured live from the Bridge Theatre in London, the cast features Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones”), Oliver Chris (NT Live’s “Young Marx”), David Moorst (NT Live’s “Allelujah!”) and Hammed Animashaun (“Barber Shop Chronicles”). Directed by Nicolas Hytner (NT Live’s Julius Caesar”), the sold-out summer 2019 run transforms the Bridge Theatre into a forest filled with flying fairies and moonlight revels, surrounded by a roving audience following the action on foot. 

National Theatre Live: “The Lehman Trilogy

By Stefano Massini
Adapted by Ben Power
Directed by Sam Mendes
Sunday, Nov. 24, at 2 p.m. - SOLD OUT
Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m.
Josephine Louis Theater
20 Arts Circle Drive

The story of a family and a company that changed the world, told in three parts on a single evening. Academy and Tony Award-winner Sam Mendes (“Skyfall,” “The Ferryman”) directs Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles, who play the Lehman Brothers, their sons and grandsons. On a cold September morning in 1844, a young man from Bavaria stands on a New York dockside, dreaming of a new life in the new world. He is joined by his two brothers and an American epic begins. One hundred sixty-three years later, the firm they establish -- Lehman Brothers --spectacularly collapses into bankruptcy and triggers the largest financial crisis in history.

National Theatre Live Encore: “One Man, Two Guvnors

By Richard Bean
Based on “The Servant of Two Masters” by Carlo Goldoni, with songs by Grant Olding
Directed by Nicholas Hytner
Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater
30 Arts Circle Drive

Featuring a Tony Award-winning performance from James Corden, host of “The Late Late Show,” the hilarious West End and Broadway hit “One Man, Two Guvnors” returns to cinemas to mark National Theatre Live’s 10th birthday. Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe, a small time East End hood, now in Brighton to collect £6,000 from his fiancée’s dad. But Roscoe is really his sister, Rachel, posing as her own dead brother, who’s been killed by her boyfriend, Stanley Stubbers. Holed up at The Cricketers’ Arms, the permanently ravenous Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a second job with one Stanley Stubbers, who is hiding from the police and waiting to be re-united with Rachel. To prevent discovery, Francis must keep his two guvnors apart.   

National Theatre Live: “Small Island

Adapted by Helen Edmundson
Based on the novel by Andrea Levy
Directed by Rufus Norris
Sunday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m.
Josephine Louis Theater
20 Arts Circle Drive

Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning novel comes to life in an epic new theatre adaptation filmed live on stage as part of National Theatre Live’s 10th birthday. “Small Island” embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 -- the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. The play follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.

A company of 40 actors take to the stage of the National Theatre in this timely and moving story. “Small Island” is recommended for audiences aged 15 and up due to use of strong language. As part of depicting the experience of Jamaican immigrants to Britain after the Second World War, at times characters in the play use language that is racially offensive. 

National Theatre Live: “All My Sons

By Arthur Miller
Featuring Sally Field and Bill Pullman
Directed by Jeremy Herrin
Saturday, April 4, at 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 5, at 2 p.m.

Broadcast from The Old Vic in London, Academy Award-winner Sally Field (“Steel Magnolias,” “Brothers & Sisters”) and Bill Pullman (“The Sinner,” “Independence Day”) star in Arthur Miller’s blistering drama. America, 1947. Despite hard choices and even harder knocks, Joe and Kate Keller are a success story. They have built a home, raised two sons and established a thriving business. But nothing lasts forever and their contented lives, already shadowed by the loss of their eldest boy to war, are about to shatter. With the return of a figure from the past, long buried truths are forced to the surface and the price of their American dream is laid bare. 

Tickets are $20 for general public, $16 for seniors, area educators, Northwestern faculty, staff and emeriti and $12 for full-time students. Tickets are available online at the Wirtz Center website, by phone at 847-491-7282 or in person at the Wirtz Center box office in the Barber Theater lobby, 30 Arts Circle Drive. 

Box office hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from Noon to 4 p.m.   

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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