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Northwestern University Theater in April

Wirtz Center to present re-envisioned version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”

  • “The Tempest” is filled with movement, original music and magical feats
  • Shakespeare play to be presented in cooperation with The Actors Gymnasium
  • 85th annual Waa-Mu Show directed by 11-time Jeff Award winner David H. Bell

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A re-envisioned Shakespeare play set on a remote island and heavy on sorcery and romance -- and the 85th installment of the annual Waa-Mu Show, which will take audience members on an epic adventure -- are sure to lure theater fans to Northwestern University’s Evanston campus this spring.

Presented by the School of Communication’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, both April events will take place on the University’s Evanston campus, as noted. 

Details related to the Wirtz Center’s April Mainstage production of Shakespeare’s play and the 85th annual Waa Mu Show: “Another Way West,” follow. 

For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit or contact the Wirtz Center Box Office at 847-491-7282.


William Shakepeare’s “The Tempest,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 22; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 24; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28; 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1, Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Through movement, original music and Shakespeare’s transcendent language, this 90-minute production re-imagines “The Tempest” on an island where its primal magic is conjured in the bodies and voices of a nine-actor ensemble. The omniscient Prospero stands apart, wielding the island’s power to manipulate monsters and spirits, kings and drunkards, a treacherous sibling and a daughter in love. But is Prospero’s ability to control the forces around him worth the isolation it brings? The role of Prospero will be portrayed by Northwestern alumnus and theatre faculty member David Catlin, a founding member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company, the recipient of the 2011 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. The School of Communication production will be directed by Hannah Todd, a third-year directing MFA candidate at Northwestern University, in cooperation with The Actors Gymnasium, an Evanston-based organization specializing in circus, aerial and performing arts classes for adults and kids, theater shows and award-winning event entertainment. Todd is the co-founder of We Happy Few Productions ( in Washington, D.C. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $22 for Northwestern faculty and staff and seniors over the age 62, and $10 for full-time students under age 30 with a current ID; and $5 for Northwestern students on advance purchase only, or $10 at the door. 


The 85th Annual Waa-Mu Show, “Another Way West,” 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5; 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston campus. The Waa-Mu Show is Northwestern University’s original musical -- written, performed and presented by Northwestern students. This year’s show follows an ambitious student named Kate, who sets off on a research expedition across the Oregon Trail to solve a mystery left by the journal of her ancestor and namesake, Kathleen O’Reilly. Soon after Kate sets out into the wilderness, she unexpectedly becomes the sole legal guardian of her young nieces and nephews. Together they continue Kate’s adventure into the heart of the mythical American West. The journal entries bring history to new life along the trail where the modern-day and past adventures intertwine. Kate looks to the past for guidance; Kathleen to the future for hope, as they both forge their formidable journeys towards finding a new understanding of home. The Waa-Mu Show is directed by the School of Communication’s David H. Bell, professor of music theatre. Bell, who also is an internationally renowned professional director, has worked extensively worldwide and has been nominated for 44 Joseph Jefferson (“Jeff”) awards, winning 11. Tickets for the general public range from $25 to $30 for the general public; $22 for seniors over age 62, Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators/administrators, and $10 for full-time students with IDs. More information about this year’s production is available online.

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