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Northwestern University Theater in February

“Big Love,” “Danceworks” and NT Live’s “Jane Eyre” to be held in renovated Louis Theater

  • In “Big Love,” runaway brides feel marriage represents prenuptial entrapment
  • “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” filled with music and dance
  • Danceworks to feature choreography by Tony and Olivier Award winner Garth Fagan, others
  • Stage on Screen will stream National Theatre Live broadcast of Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” 

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s recently enhanced Josephine Louis Theater will be the Evanston campus site of two Mainstage February 2016 productions as well as a National Theatre Live (NT Live) broadcast of “Jane Eyre.”

Presented by the School of Communication’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, “Big Love,” Jan. 29 to Feb. 7, the winter season’s opening production, is a modern takeoff of a Greek myth by Aeschylus. Adapted by American playwright and historian Charles L. Mee, the play follows a group of reluctant runaway brides being pursued by their jilted grooms.

Danceworks 2016, Feb. 26 to March 6, the dance program’s annual showcase, will feature innovative choreography by Tony and Olivier award-winner Garth Fagan; 2015 Guggenheim Fellow Rosy Simas; Hedwig Dances Artistic Associate Maray Gutíérrez, and Northwestern dance faculty members Jeffrey Hancock and Joel Valentín-Martínez.

Feb. 2, the Wirtz Center’s Stage on Screen will stream a National Theatre Live broadcast of Charlotte Brontë’s inspiring “Jane Eyre.”

The rehabbed Louis Theater is part of the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Arts Circle Drive, and formerly known as the Theater and Interpretation Center.

The Louis Theater now features 288 comfortable new seats, two internal aisles, more wheelchair accessible seating, a reconfigured floor that reduced the rake (sloping angle) of the theater and seating that is broken up into six sections. 

More information about the February Mainstage, 2016 MFA Lab Series and Imagine U productions and upcoming Stage on Screen broadcasts follow:

FEBRUARY 2016 MAINSTAGE PRODUCTIONS

  • “Big Love” by Charles L. Mee, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Fifty terrified brides fleeing an arranged marriage take refuge in an Italian Villa, with 50 angry grooms hot on their trail, hell-bent on reclaiming their “property.” As tensions rise and their trip down the aisle nears, sisters Tyona, Olympia and Lydia hatch a desperate plan to escape the darker side of love and matrimony. Northwestern University School of Communication MFA candidate Gina Marie Hayes directs a radicalized version of an Aeschylus play that explores the gender divide and gives new meaning to “until death do us part.” Talkback discussions will follow the Friday, Jan. 29 and Thursday, Feb. 4 evening performances. Single tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for Northwestern faculty and staff, educators and seniors over age 62; and $5 for Northwestern students with valid IDs on advance purchase only, or $10 at the door.
  • “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb, 12; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28; Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Filled with music and dance, this production features book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Set in Rome, this musical follows a quick-thinking slave named Pseudolus, who attempts to win freedom in a matchmaking scheme that sparks a vaudevillian romp of Grecian slaves, soldiers and whores. Turning the ancient comedies of Plautus into a farce for the ages, Matt Hawkins, House Theatre Company Member and a Northwestern adjunct professor, directs this satirical Tony Award-winning musical comedy with a reimagined take on gender stereotypes, social class, and the intersection of love and comedy. Post-show discussions will follow the Feb. 12 and Feb. 25 evening performances. Tickets are $30 for the general public; $27 for Northwestern faculty and staff; educators and seniors over 62; and $10 for full-time students with valid IDs (at the door) or $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase only. Discounts are available for groups of eight of more.
  • Danceworks 2016, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3; 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 4; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 6, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston. Joel Valentín-Martínez, director of the School of Communication’s dance program, leads the artistic direction of this year’s annual dance showcase, featuring exciting and innovative choreography by Tony and Olivier Award-winner Garth Fagan, 2015 Guggenheim Fellow Rosy Simas, Hedwig Dances artistic associate Maray Gutiérrez, and Northwestern dance faculty member Jeffery (“Jeff”) Hancock, and Joel Valentín-Martínez. Using the foundations of contemporary modern dance, this performance will showcase a broad range of choreographic styles and voices across the diverse and multi-cultural spectrum of many dance styles and techniques. Post-show discussions will follow the Feb. 26 and March 3 performances. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for Northwestern faculty and staff, educators and seniors over 62; $10 for full-time students under 30 with a valid ID; and $5 for Northwestern students on advance purchase only or $10 at the door.

IMAGINE U

Now in its fifth year, Imagine U productions are geared toward children and their families. Performances often include an opportunity for children to interact afterwards with the cast and receive colorful take-home programs filled with activities, art projects, fun facts and games. Past productions have included “The Hundred Dresses,” the Chicago premiere of “James and the Giant Peach,” “A Year with Frog and Toad,” “ Charlotte’s Web,”  “The Relcutant Dragon,” and many more. 

  • “Balloonacy” by Barry Kornhauser, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, Evanston campus. This award-winning play for very young audiences is packed with physical comedy. It tells the tale of a lonely old man who discovers an unlikely friendship that floats into his life unexpectedly through the window: a red balloon. Set in his solitary ways, the old man begrudgingly encounters the friendly balloon that seems intent on becoming his friend.  It also shows how with a little imagination and acceptance, companionship can come from the most unlikely of places. Tickets are $10 for the general public; $5 for children 18 years and under; $5 for Northwestern students on advance purchase only or $10 at the door.

2016 MFA LAB SERIES

The School of Communication’s MFA Lab series matches promising 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.

  • MFA Lab Series, “Equivocation” by Bill Cain, 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14; Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. Set in 1605 England, Cain’s play tells the story of a foiled terrorist plot to assassinate the King and blow-up Parliament with 36 barrels of devilish gunpowder. As a result, playwright William Shagspeare receives a royal commission to write the “true history” of the plot in order to create a new soul for his bitterly divided and chaotic country. But as Shag and the acting company of the Globe rehearse the King’s version, they discover that the government’s version might, in fact, be a cover-up. Now Shag, the greatest writer of his time and of all times, must navigate the dangerous politics between writing a lie (and losing his soul), or writing the truth (and losing his head). Tickets are $10 for the general public; and $5 for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase only. For more information, phone 847-491-7282 or visit the Wirtz website or email wirtz@northwestern.edu.

WINTER 2016 STAGE ON SCREEN BROADCASTS

The Wirtz Center’s ongoing Stage on Screen series offers the best of international theater captured live for the big screen.

  • National Theatre Live broadcast, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Almost 170 years later, Charlotte Brontë’s story of the trailblazing Jane is as inspiring as ever. This bold and dynamic production uncovers one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfillment on her own terms. From her beginnings as a destitute orphan, Jane Eyre’s spirited heroine faces life’s obstacles head-on, surviving poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal before taking the ultimate decision to follow her heart. This acclaimed re-imagining of Brontë's masterpiece was first staged by Bristol Old Vic last year, when the story was performed over two evenings. Director Sally Cookson now brings her celebrated production to the National Theatre, presented as a single, exhilarating performance. Running Time: 210 minutes (3 hours, 30 minutes). Watch Video Trailer. Tickets are $20 for the general public; $16 for Northwestern faculty and staff (in person and phone order only) or $10 for full-time students (under 30 with current IDs. 

For more information, visit wirtz.northwestern.edu or contact the Wirtz Center Box Office at 847-491-7282.

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