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October 2015 Theater and Stage on Screen at Northwestern

Single tickets to Green Day’s “American Idiot” available by phone or at box office

  • Bailiwick Chicago’s artistic director Lili-Anne Brown to direct Green Day musical
  • NT Live’s “The Audience” centers on Queen’s weekly meetings with her prime ministers 
  • Mainstage Season subscriptions available by phone or walk-up at the Wirtz Center

EVANSTON, Ill. --- An edgy musical based on a “powerhouse album” by the Grammy Award-winning rock band Green Day, and two encore broadcasts of National Theatre Live (NT Live) hit London play about Queen Elizabeth II and her prime ministers, starring Helen Mirren, will soon launch Northwestern University’s 2015-16 theater season.

Presented by the School of Communication’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, Mainstage productions and Stage on Screen broadcasts, featuring popular stars appearing on London or Broadway stages, will be held in venues on the University’s Evanston campus.


Upcoming fall stage events will include Green Day’s “American Idiot,” Oct. 16 to Oct. 25; an Imagine U Family Series production of “A Year With Frog and Toad,Nov. 6 to Nov. 22; and “As You Like It,Nov. 20 to Nov. 22 and Dec. 2 to Dec. 6, directed by M.F.A. directing candidate Risher Reddick.

Winter 2016 productions include Charles L. Mee’s “Big Love,Jan. 29 to Feb. 7, directed by M.F.A. directing candidate Gina Marie Hayes, and the Stephen Sondheim musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,Feb. 12 to Feb. 28, directed by Matt Hawkins and based on the ancient Roman comedies of Plautus with a new gender-bending twist; and Northwestern’s annual “Danceworks” concert from Feb. 26 to March 6

Spring Mainstage shows will feature a new adaptation of “The Tempest,April 22 to May 1, directed by M.F.A. directing candidate Hannah Todd in cooperation with The Actors Gymnasium, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Anna in the Tropics,May 13 to May 22, directed by Northwestern’s Henry Godinez.

Season subscriptions are available by phone or walk-up through the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts box office at 847-491-7282 or at


• “American Idiot,” with music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, book by Michael Mayer and Billie Joe Armstrong, and directed by Lili-Anne Brown, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Based on the Green Day albums “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown,” Johnny, Tunny and Will want to escape their suburban hometown and search for meaning and freedom in the city. They know they want something else, however they’re not sure what that is. Fear, war and drugs soon prove easier choices than freedom, eroding their friendship and dreams, and forcing the three to face a new fast-paced reality. With a crazed rock pulse, Lili-Anne Brown, artistic director of Bailiwick Chicago and a Northwestern alumna, directs an intense look into the hearts of young Americans craving purpose in a cynical world. Talk back discussions will follow the Oct. 16 and Oct. 22 performances. Single tickets to Green Day’s “American Idiot” are on sale now online for walk-up or phone orders. Tickets are $30 for the general public; $27 for Northwestern staff and faculty, area educators and seniors (over 62); and $10 for full-time students at the door (under 30 with current IDs), or $5 for Northwestern students (advance purchase only) or $10 at the door. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.


Upcoming Stage on Screen broadcasts will include National Theatre Live broadcasts of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet on Nov. 23, Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, with Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role; an encore showing of “Coriolanus” on Dec. 8 starring Tom Hiddleston; Charlotte Bronte’s classic “Jane Eyre” on Feb. 2; Donmar Warehouse’s highly-anticipated new production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” with a cast that includes Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey”), Janet McTeer (“The White Queen”) and Dominic West (“The Wire”); and Rosalie Craig in “As You Like It” on March 29, directed by Polly Findlay.

National Theatre Live (NT Live) is sponsored by Aviva and supported with public funding by Arts Council England. The Wirtz Center’s NT Live broadcasts are sponsored by a generous grant from The Alumnae of Northwestern University. 


NT Live: “The Audience,” (Encore) 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19 (tickets available) and 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 (sold out), at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Back again by popular demand, Helen Mirren reprises her Academy Award-winning role as Queen Elizabeth II in encore screenings 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 and from Tony Blair 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. 

For more information, visit or contact the Wirtz Center Box Office.

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