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Christopher Plummer Reprises His Stage Role on Film in "Barrymore"

Tickets available for Dec. 3 broadcast at Northwestern University’s Barber Theater

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Academy Award-winning actor Christopher Plummer reprises his Tony Award-winning stage role as John Barrymore -- “one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of all time” -- in a one-night-only broadcast at the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University.

The broadcast of “Barrymore” will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, in the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

Immediately following the “Barrymore” screening, TIC also will present the behind-the-scenes documentary “Backstage with Barrymore,” featuring Helen Mirren, Julie Andrews and Zoe Caldwell. The combined running time is two hours and nine minutes and both films are presented in association with BY Experience.

“Barrymore” is a new film based on the play by William Luce. Northwestern is the only venue in Illinois currently screening the 2011 film during its limited global engagement.

Set in 1942, “Barrymore” follows acclaimed American actor John Barrymore, a member of one of Hollywood’s most well-known multi-generational theatrical dynasties. No longer a star by box office standards, the film finds Barrymore reckoning with the ravages of his life of excess. He has rented a grand, old theatre to rehearse for a backer’s audition to raise money for a revival of his 1920 Broadway triumph in “Richard III,” which leads him to look back on the highs and lows of his stunning career and remarkable life.

Originally written for the stage by Luce and directed and adapted for the screen by Érik Canuel (“Bon Cop, Bad Cop”), “Barrymore” is a two-person drama starring Plummer (“The Sound of Music,” “Beginners”) in the role of Barrymore and John Plumpis (“The Lion King” national tour, “’Til There Was You”) in the role of Frank, the Prompter -- the person offstage who reminds actors of forgotten lines or cues.

Before its revival and sell-out run at the Elgin Theater in Toronto in the spring of 2011, “Barrymore” had a limited stage engagement on Broadway in 1997, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago. The original creative team then came together to create a hybrid of cinema and theatre with a filmed-capture of a live performance. Faithful to the original inception of the play, Canuel’s “Barrymore” also reflects some of the more evocative moments of Barrymore’s life and one of his more memorable performances caught on film, Richard from “Henry VI.” 

To read an interview with Canuel about his work on this project, visit

General admission tickets are $5 to $16; as a benefit to TIC Mainstage and NT Live subscribers, $12 tickets are available via phone orders only. Tickets can be purchased through the TIC box office at (847) 491-7282 or online at


A three-year construction project underway on the southeast end of the Northwestern University Evanston campus has closed Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project will impact handicapped parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters. Visit to learn more.

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