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Northwestern Theatre and Dance in March

Andrew Lippa’s Off-Broadway musical “The Wild Party” ends March 1

EVANSTON, Ill. --- March will usher in the final winter performances of two Northwestern University Mainstage winter productions -- composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa’s Drama Desk award-winning Off-Broadway musical “The Wild Party” -- and Danceworks 2015: “Ties That Bind” -- a show that features original works by dance faculty and guest choreographers.

Both productions are presented by Northwestern’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.

Lippa expressed how impressed he was with the Wirtz Center production, after visiting the Evanston campus earlier this month to attend the opening night of his musical, which is set in the “Roaring 1920s” and features a Northwestern student cast.

“This production of “The Wild Party” is among the best I’ve seen,” Lippa said. “It is passionate, vital and richly detailed. These incredible students truly are the life of the party.”

“The Wild Party” closes on March 1 and “Danceworks 2015: “Ties That Bind” runs through March 8.

Performances of the Midwest premiere of a new musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” continue through March 1. Directed by Rives Collins, the popular Imagine U family production is geared for children ages 5 to 10 and their families.

The Wirtz Center also will host the final performance of Northwestern’s MFA Program’s Lab series presentation of Sam Shepard’s comedy “True West.”

The Wirtz Center’s Stage on Screen series will present Bolshoi Ballet’s “Swan Lake” and “Romeo and Juliet” as well as a National Theatre Live broadcast of the London staging of “Treasure Island” in March.

In addition, the Wirtz Center will host a special admission-free event in collaboration with the Goodman Theatre of Chicago’s March 7 through April 18 August Wilson Celebration. On March 30, Tony Award-winning Broadway actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson will perform  Wilson’s one-man autobiographical play, “How I Learned What I Learned,” on the University’s Evanston campus.

MAINSTAGE SEASON 2014-15

The Wirtz Center’s 2014-15 Mainstage season features award-winning directors and playwrights, acclaimed alumnae and faculty, groundbreaking plays and musicals and the annual Waa-Mu Show. The season reflects the evolving definitions of family and community and invites audiences to embrace the circumstances that unite and strengthen us. For more information and to order tickets to upcoming shows and Stage on Screen broadcasts, visit www.communication.northwestern.edu/wirtz/season.php.

The Wirtz Center’s 2014-15 season productions will be held, as noted, in venues on the University’s Evanston campus.

Single tickets for all Mainstage productions are on sale now. Where applicable, ticket discounts are available for groups of eight or more. Subscriptions and single tickets can be purchased by phone through the Wirtz Center Box Office at 847-491-7282 or online at wirtz.northwestern.edu.

For more information, phone 847-491-4819, visit the Wirtz Center website at www.wirtz.northwestern.edu or email wirtz@northwestern.edu.

MARCH 2015 MAINSTAGE PRODUCTIONS

• Andrew Lippa’s “The Wild Party,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1; at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus. With book, lyrics and music by Andrew Lippa, the musical is based on Joseph Moncure March’s 1928 narrative poem of the same name. It tells the story of two lovers who decide to throw a party to end all parties in their Manhattan apartment with a slew of colorful guests living life on the edge. As the decadent party reaches a climax, so does jealousy, lust and rage. A gun is fired, but who has been shot? The show will feature a nearly 30-member Northwestern student cast. The production is directed and choreographed by Tommy Rapley, company member of The House Theatre of Chicago, where he has choreographed more than 20 world premieres, including “The Sparrow” (Jeff Award), “Cave with Man” (Jeff Award), “The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan” and “Death and Harry Houdini.” Single tickets are $30 for the general public; $27 for seniors over 62 and Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators; and $10 for full-time students with valid IDs at the door, or $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchases only. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

• Danceworks 2015: “Ties That Bind,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5; 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 8, Northwestern University’s Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Under the artistic direction of faculty member Jeffrey Hancock, the 2015 Danceworks production will present an evening of cutting-edge dance that explores the connectivity of families and communities through a variety of unique and entertaining dance styles, including contact improvisation, dance theatre, West African, modern, jazz and salsa. Seven top choreographers, including Hancock, Kevin Durnbaugh, Darrell Jones, Amanda Lower, Sophia Rafiqi, Amy Swanson and Joel Valentin-Martinez, will each share their individual viewpoints on the powers of social unity and deconstruction using personal narratives as well as shared experiences from within their own community. They also will draw on a variety of themes, including culture, gender, pride and tradition. Talkback discussions with the Danceworks cast will follow the Feb. 27 opening night, March 1 Sunday matinee and March 5 evening performances. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for seniors over 62 and Northwestern University faculty, staff and area educators; and $10 for full-time students or $5 for Northwestern University students, advance purchase only.

IMAGINE U

Imagine U stage productions are geared for children ages 5 to 10 and their families and are designed to provide an insider’s look at the magical world of theatre. Performances may include an opportunity for children to talk afterwards with the cast or receive take-home programs filled with activities, art projects, fun facts and games.

Midwest premiere, Imagine U, “James and the Giant Peach,” 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, 

11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28; and 2 p.m. (SOLD OUT) and 5 p.m. Sunday, March 1, at Northwestern University’s Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. This new musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's popular tale of adventure and magic will be directed by Northwestern faculty member Rives Collins (“The Hundred Dresses”). With book by Timothy Allen McDonald and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, it follows the story of James, who is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree. When James discovers a magic potion, which results in a tremendous peach and launches a journey of enormous proportions, he suddenly finds himself in the center of the gigantic peach among human-sized insects with equally oversized personalities. When the peach falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean, the group faces hunger, sharks and disagreements. Thanks to James' quick wit and creative thinking, the residents learn to live and work together as a family. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for Northwestern students, advance purchase only, or $10 at the door. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

MFA LAB SERIES SHOW -- MARCH 2015

The MFA Lab series matches excellent young theatre directors from Northwestern’s MFA program with emerging designers from its partner MFA program in stage design for exciting and unexpected collaborations. These artists are the next wave, given the freedom to create together on bold, risk-taking productions of plays by today's most groundbreaking writers. The MFA Lab also gives Northwestern student actors a place to showcase their talents in contemporary work and to develop artistic collaborations, which will stay with them, as they become the new face of American theatre. The series is presented in the intimate Wallis Theater, a flexible black box performance space perfectly designed for contemporary plays.

• “True West” by Sam Shepard,” 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28 and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 1, Northwestern University’s Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. Shepard’s comedy is about two brothers who encounter each other after five years of no contact. After they re-connect, they begin a battle for supremacy in which they rip apart each other, themselves and their mother’s suburban southern California kitchen. The production will be directed by School of Communication second-year MFA directing student Hannah Todd. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for Northwestern University students who purchase tickets in advance only or $10 at the door.

STAGE ON SCREEN – MARCH 2015

• Bolshoi Ballet, “Swan Lake,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. Featuring a libretto by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Julius Reisinger, the Bolshoi’s production of “Swan Lake” follows the story of Prince Siegfried’s 21st birthday, a cause for great celebration. During a majestic ceremony at the palace, young girls compete for his attention. They know that this newly-knighted prince must choose a wife during the opulent ball. Daunted by his responsibility, Siegfried flees into the night. At an enchanted lake, he encounters a strange flock of swans, one of whom transforms into the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Cursed by a sorcerer, Odette is a white swan by day and a human by night. Only a pledge of true love can break the spell. Tickets are $20 for the general public; $16 for Northwestern faculty and staff (in-person or phone order only); or $10 for full-time students with valid IDs.

• National Theatre Live, “Treasure Island,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of murder, money and mutiny is brought to life in a new stage adaptation by Bryony Lavery. Broadcast live from the National Theatre in London, the play begins on a stormy night, when Jim, the innkeeper’s granddaughter, opens the door to a terrifying stranger. At the old sailor’s feet sits a huge sea chest, full of secrets. Jim’s dangerous voyage begins when she invites him in. The broadcast is suitable for audiences from age10 to adults. Tickets are $20 for the general public; $16 for Northwestern faculty and staff (in-person or phone order only); or $10 for full-time students with valid IDs.

• Bolshoi Ballet, “Romeo and Juliet,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. In Verona, the rivalry between the Capulets and the Montagues brings bloodshed to the city. When the Capulets organize a masked ball in honor of their daughter Juliet, Romeo Montague and his friend Mercutio attend incognito because of the hatred that tears the two houses apart. When Romeo and Juliet fall madly in love, they become distraught when they realize they belong to rival families. Shakespeare’s timeless story is brought to the stage through breathtaking choreography and Prokofiev’s score. With its famous melodies, rhythmic variety and universal theme, this story of impossible love remains an all-time favorite, and is one of the world’s most popular ballets. The production features performances by dancers Alexander Volchkov and Anna Nikulina, which make the immortal tale of the lovers of Verona an unforgettable experience. Tickets are $20 for the general public; $16 for Northwestern faculty and staff (in-person or phone order only); or $10 for full-time students with valid IDs.

ONE BOOK ONE NORTHWESTERN

One Book One Northwestern is the University’s community-wide reading program hosted by the Office of the President. The selection for the 2014-15 academic year is Claude Steele’s book “Whistling Vivaldi” (W.W. Norton, 2010). One Book also has scheduled film screenings, lectures, themed dinner/panel discussions and more throughout the current academic year. All events are free and many are open to the public. For information, visit www.northwestern.edu/onebook/ or email onebook@northwestern.edu.

SPECIAL EVENT, August Wilson Celebration: “How I Learned What I Learned,” 

7 p.m. Monday, March 30, Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus. Wilson’s one-man autobiographical play will be performed by Tony Award-winning Broadway actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson. The hourlong performance relates to the Goodman Theatre’s spring 2015 citywide “August Wilson Celebration.” The seven-week retrospective of the late playwright’s life will be held in honor of the late playwright and his frequent collaborations with the Goodman. The Goodman will present a citywide retrospective of Wilson’s life and work and his artistry and influence on culture in collaboration with Chicago’s various off-Loop theaters and Northwestern University. The retrospective will take place from March 7 through April 18, marking the 70th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize-winner’s birth (in 1945) and the 10th anniversary of his death (in 2005). Admission to Northwestern’s March 30 one-man performance is free and open to the public. For more information on the August Wilson Celebration, visit the Goodman Theatre website at www.goodmantheatre.org/artists-archive/creative-partners/playwrights/august-wilson/.

ARTS CIRCLE DRIVE

After nearly three years of construction, Northwestern University’s Art Circle Drive has reopened to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The road, drive-up handicap access to all Wirtz Center theaters, the pedestrian path at the lakefront and all sidewalks are now open for public use. New improvements to the South Beach Garage also has eliminated the need to use the stairways at the east and west ends of the two-story parking structure, which is now accessible to persons with disabilities for easy access to the Wirtz Center theaters. Additional parking is also available in the new Segal Visitors Center at 1841 Sheridan Road.

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