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Northwestern Theater In June, July And August

Wirtz Center’s Summerstage events include a musical, NT Live broadcast and more

  • Johnny Mercer Foundation’s “Songwriters in Concert” toasts its 10th anniversary on June 27
  • Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpiece “Into the Woods” to be staged this summer
  • National Theater Live re-broadcasts of “The Audience” starring Helen Mirren June 25 and July 22

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Chicago area “stay at home” vacationers or visitors in town for business or pleasure should consider taking advantage of one or more of Northwestern University’s live or broadcast theatrical events this summer.

Presented by Northwestern’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, SummerStage 2015 events will include a June 27 concert commemorating the University’s 10th anniversary of The Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project. The program will feature new songs by more than a dozen young songwriters from across the country.  

Performances of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into The Woods” begin July 17 and run through Aug. 2. Sondheim’s musical, which won three Tony Awards, combines the plot of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, including “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Rapunzel” and “Cinderella,” and explores the wishes and quests of the characters. 

The Wirtz Center's Stage on Screen broadcasts -- sponsored by a generous grant from The Alumnae of Northwestern University -- include two critically acclaimed National Theatre Live productions. An encore presentation of Peter Morgan’s “The Audience,” starring Helen Mirren as Britain’s long-reigning Queen Elizabeth II, will be broadcast June 25 (SOLD OUT) and July 22, and a new production of  “Everyman,” directed by Rufus Norris with Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) in the lead role, is scheduled for Aug. 4.

National Theatre Live is the National Theatre’s groundbreaking project to broadcast the best of British theatre live from the London stage to venues across the United Kingdom and around the world. It is supported by public funding by Arts Council England and is supported by AVIVA, a British multinational insurance company. 

The Wirtz Center’s Stage on Screen series also will present a Stratford Festival broadcast of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” on July 21, a steamy story of two powerful rulers whose insatiable love leads to tragedy.

The following SummerStage 2015 season events will be held in venues on the University’s Evanston campus, including the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive; and the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive as noted.

Single tickets for the following events are on sale now. Where applicable, ticket discounts are available for groups of eight or more. Single tickets can be purchased by phone through the Wirtz Center Box Office at 847-491-7282 or online at

For more SummerStage 2015 information visit or email


JUNE 2015 

Stage on Screen, National Theatre Live re-broadcast of “The Audience,” 7 p.m. Thursday, June 25 (SOLD OUT) and 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 22 (newly added) at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Helen Mirren reprises her Academy Award-winning role as Queen Elizabeth II in an encore screening of the original West End production of “The Audience,” captured live in London in 2013, and featuring an exclusive new Q&A with key members of the cast and creative team. For 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II has met with each of her 12 prime ministers in a private weekly meeting. This meeting is known as The Audience. No one knows what they discuss, not even their spouses. From the old warrior Winston Churchill, to the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, right up to today’s meetings with the current incumbent David Cameron, the Queen advises her prime ministers on all matters both public and personal. Through these private audiences, we see glimpses of the woman behind the crown and witness the moments that shaped a monarch. Single tickets are $10 to $20.

• Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project -- “Songwriters In Concert,” 8 p.m. Saturday, June 27 at the Josephine Louis Theater. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project completes its weeklong workshop with Songwriters In Concert -- a one-night-only concert featuring the new work of 15 emerging songwriters from around the country in genres ranging from pop and folk to music theatre and country. Also featured in this celebratory concert will be the 2015 Master Teachers Craig Carnelia, Andrew Lippa and Lari White along with special guests, including Mercer Songwriters Project alumni and Drama Desk nominated songwriters Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair. Single tickets are $10 to $30.


• “Into The Woods,” music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine, directed by Scott Weinstein with music direction by Ryan T. Nelson, 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 17; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 19; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 24; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 26; 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 31; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. When a baker and his wife learn their wish to have a child is threatened by a witch’s curse, their quest to break the spell brings them face to face with Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (of “Beanstalk” fame) and Rapunzel. Their fondest wish is granted as they enter the dark, mysterious woods, believing a “happily-ever-after” is in sight. However, when a giant threatens to destroy their village, they must abandon their perfect storybook lives and come together to write a new ending to their fairy tale. Single tickets are $5 to $30. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

Stage on Screen, Stratford Festival broadcast of “Antony and Cleopatra,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. The steamy story of a midlife affair that shook the foundations of the ancient world comes to vivid life in the Stratford Festival production of Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra,” starring Geraint Wyn Davies and Yanna McIntosh as the powerful rulers whose insatiable love leads to the greatest of tragedies. Director Gary Griffin paints an unforgettable landscape depicting the devastation wrought by the heart’s transgressions. Single tickets are $10 to $20. 

Stage on Screen, National Theatre Live broadcast of “Everyman,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) winner and Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) takes the title role in this dynamic new production of one of English drama’s oldest plays, directed by the National Theatre’s new director Rufus Norris (“Broken,” “London Road”). ‘Everyman” is successful, popular and riding high when Death comes calling. He is forced to abandon the life he has built and embark on a last, frantic search to recruit a friend, anyone, to speak in his defense. But Death is close behind, and time is running out. One of the great primal, spiritual myths, “Everyman” asks whether it is only in death that we can understand our lives. A cornerstone of English drama since the 15th century, it now explodes onto the stage in a startling production with words by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and movement by Javier De Frutos. Single tickets are $10 to $20.

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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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