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Northwestern Theatre in October

Tony Award-winning musical “Spelling Bee” to kick off TIC’s 2013-14 season Oct. 25

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Writers and non-writers who refer to dictionaries to properly spell or pronounce a word will enjoy the hilarious stage production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Oct. 25-Nov. 10, at Northwestern University. 

The Tony Award-winning musical will launch the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern’s 2013-14 theatre season.

Directed by Northwestern alumnus Adam Goldstein, “Spelling Bee” is the first of many events that invite audiences to join a conversation with the art and artists as TIC examines the different forms and faces of prejudice in its 33rd season. 

The season will feature award-winning directors and playwrights, acclaimed Northwestern alumni, a collaboration with Actors Gymnasium, Tony Award-winning musicals, National Theatre Live broadcasts, the Imagine U Family Series and the Waa-Mu Show.

TIC’s season continues in November with Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” Nov. 15-24, directed by award-winning Northwestern faculty member Jessica Thebus. Austen’s classic novel was adapted by former Milwaukee Repertory Theater Artistic Director Joseph Hanreddy and acclaimed Chicago director J.R. Sullivan.

Two tales of star-crossed love will fill TIC’s stages this winter as Hanreddy makes his TIC directing debut with Northwestern alumna Lillian Groag’s “Aimee and Jaguar,” Jan. 31- Feb. 9. Set in war-torn Berlin, it is a tale of romance between a mother of four and a Jewish girl living on fake IDs. Timeline Theatre Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling directs the Tony Award-winning musical “Cabaret,” Feb. 14-March 2, a decadent and dangerous tale of a young American writer seeking inspiration for his next great novel in the seedy cabaret clubs of 1931 Berlin. To close out the winter season, Susan A. Lee, founding director of Northwestern’s dance program, will direct “Danceworks 2014: Hot Buttons,” Feb. 28-March 9, a rich tapestry of contemporary and modern dance riffing on themes inspired by “Pride and Prejudice.”

The Actors Gymnasium and TIC welcome Lookingglass Theatre Company ensemble member and Northwestern faculty member David Catlin back to the TIC mainstage as director of a tumbling and soaring adaptation of “Moby Dick,” April 25-May 4. Spring will mark the 83rd annual production of the Waa-Mu Show, May 2-11, directed by acclaimed Chicago director and Northwestern faculty member Geoff Button. To close out the season, Court Theatre Resident Artist Ron Oj Parson directs Alice Childress’ “Trouble in Mind,” May 16-25. The Washington Post called it a “scathingly funny, wise and extraordinary” satirical look at prejudice and ambition on Broadway in 1957.

In its third year at TIC, the National Theatre Live (NT Live) broadcast series offers Evanston-area audiences a chance to experience the best of British theatre. Broadcasts this season include “Othello,” Nov. 5, starring Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear; a reprise of “Frankenstein,” Nov. 12 and 13, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of the creature on Nov. 12 and featuring Jonny Lee Miller in the role on Nov. 13; “Macbeth,” Nov. 19, starring Kenneth Branagh; a reprise of “The Habit of Art,” Dec. 10, starring Richard Griffiths, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour; a reprise of “Hamlet,” Jan. 14, starring Rory Kinnear; “Coriolanus,” March 4, starring Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss; and The National Theatre’s original stage production of “War Horse,” April 1, featuring actors working with life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s internationally renowned Handspring Puppet Company. Single tickets to all NT Live broadcasts are on sale now through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online.

The 2013-14 season also marks the third year of TIC’s Imagine U Family Series, which will include a musical adaption of “The Hundred Dresses,” Nov. 1-10, directed by Northwestern faculty member Rives Collins, and an adaptation of the beloved children’s classic “Charlotte’s Web,” May 2-11. “Charlotte’s Web” will be directed by Northwestern faculty member Mary Poole. As a new benefit to families, TIC has added the Imagine U Family Pass, available for only $30 and providing families with four tickets to use in any combination for any Imagine U Family Series programming.

Productions will be held, in venues on the University’s Evanston campus: the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive; Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive; Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Drive; or Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, as noted.

Single-ticket prices are listed below; single tickets for all seven mainstage productions and the Imagine U Family Series productions are on sale now. Where applicable, ticket discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

Subscribers to the 2013-14 season can again select from two different packages. The 7-Play Subscription for $28 to $148 represents a 20 percent savings off single-ticket prices. The 4-Play Snow Bird Subscription for $79 to $89 represents a 15 percent savings off single-ticket prices. Both the 7-Play and 4-Play subscription packages and tickets for groups of eight or more are now on sale. Except as otherwise noted, tickets and subscriptions can be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282.

Northwestern’s department of performance studies will present a three-day Performance Studies Graduate Student Conference, “In Bodies We Trust: Performance, Affect and Political Economy,” Oct. 11-13, and three performances of Theater in the Dark,” Oct. 18 and 19. The latter event will require audiences to sit in the dark and listen to a play guided by four voice actors, reminiscent to the old radio dramas of the early 20th century. Both are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required for the conference.

Construction Alert: A three-year construction project under way on the southeast end of the Northwestern University Evanston campus has closed the 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 TIC online for more information.


“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman, additional material by Jay Reiss, directed by Adam Goldstein, Oct. 25 through Nov. 10, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Do you have what it takes to win … or, even tougher, to fit in? Directed by Northwestern University alumnus Adam Goldstein, this funny and touching Tony Award-winning musical takes audiences right into the pressure cooker of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Under the bee's bright lights, six young overachievers must use their dictionary-thick knowledge of obscure words and the unexpected guidance of lovable ‘bee’ officials to learn that winning isn’t everything and that champions come in all shapes and sizes. Single tickets are $10 to $30, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more. 


Performance Studies Graduate Student Conference: “In Bodies We Trust: Performance, Affect and Political Economy,” Oct. 11-13, Alvina Krause Studio, Peggy Dow Auditorium, Harris Hall, 1881 Sheridan Road, Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. The three-day conference invites graduate students, artists and activists to generate new understandings among affect, political economy and performance. It includes a keynote address by Judith Hamera, a collaborative plenary with Northwestern and Chicago-area faculty, panel discussions, performances, movement workshops, and catered receptions to building community with attendees across disciplines and artistic interests. Admission is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

Theatre in the Dark, 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, and 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, Alvina Krause Studio, Peggy Dow Auditorium, Harris Hall, 1881 Sheridan Road, Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. Theatre in the Dark is an intimate experience harkening back to the old radio drama of the early 20th century. Using Ernest Hemingway’s hair-raising story “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” the show will rely upon the audience to conjure up the visuals of the play guided by four voice actors while immersed in the utter dark. Ben Kemper and Andre Squerra will direct. It is presented by Northwestern’s department of performance studies. Admission is free and open to the public. 

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