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Wirtz Center unveils 2018-2019 season of theater, dance and film

Tickets available online now; phone and box office sales begin Sept. 26

EVANSTON - Award-winning American musicals, bold interpretations of “Jane Eyre” and “Mary Stuart” and a timeless story of a boy and his purple crayon are among the highlights of Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts’ 2018-2019 season.

Musical productions include revivals of the Pulitzer and Tony Award winning “A Chorus Line” Nov. 9 to Dec. 2, (directed and choreographed by Broadway veteran Kurt Domoney), and the musical comedy classic “Guys and Dolls” Feb. 15 to March 3, 2019, (directed by Jeff Award winning director Nick Bowling). In addition, “The 88th annual Waa-Mu Show” will run May 3 to 12, 2019. The original full-length musical is written, composed, choreographed and performed by Northwestern students.

Mainstage plays feature a movement-based theatrical retelling of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” Oct. 26 to Nov. 11; a new adaptation of Chekhov’s comedy “The Cherry Orchard” Feb. 1 to 10, 2019; an all-female production of “Mary Stuart” April 26 to May 5, 2019; and Chicago playwright Lydia Diamond’s Jeff Award winning play “Voyeurs De Venus” May 17 to 26, 2019.

The latest edition of “Danceworks,” Northwestern’s annual showcase of the best in contemporary dance, will run March 1 to 10, 2019.

The wildly popular Imagine U series returns as well, with “Harold and the Purple Crayon” Sept. 29 and 30; the Broadway hit “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” Nov. 2 to 18; and the Chicago premiere of Susan Zeder’s Amelia Earhart-inspired drama “When She Had Wings” Feb. 24 to March 10, 2019.

Stage on Screen also returns for an eighth season with five National Theatre Live broadcasts confirmed to date.

The season starts next month.

Subscription packages and single tickets are now available online for the Mainstage, Imagine U and Stage on Screen series. Phone and in-person box office sales begin Sept. 26. Tickets and more information are available on the Wirtz Center website.

 Watch a video preview of the fall productions featuring interviews with the directors.

The fall season includes:

National Theatre Live: “Julie”

by Polly Stenham adapted from August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie”
directed by Carrie Cracknell
Sept. 28, 7 p.m.
Ethel M. Barber Theater
30 Arts Circle Drive  

Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown,” NT Live: “A Streetcar Named Desire”) and Eric Kofi Abrefa (“The Amen Corner”) are featured in the cast of this brand-new production directed by Carrie Cracknell (NT Live: “The Deep Blue Sea”) and broadcast live from the National Theatre to cinemas. Wild and newly single, Julie throws a late-night party. In the kitchen, Jean and Kristina clean up as the celebration heaves above them. Crossing the threshold, Julie initiates a power game with Jean -- which rapidly descends into a savage fight for survival. This new version of August Strindberg’s play “Miss Julie,” written by Polly Stenham, remains shocking and fiercely relevant in its new setting of contemporary London.

Imagine U: “Harold and the Purple Crayon”

by Claire Glubiak and Noah LaPook adapted from the book by Crockett Johnson
directed by Noah LaPook
One weekend only -- Sept. 29 and 30
Upstairs Blackbox Theatre, 1949 Campus Drive

One evening Harold decides to go for a walk in the moonlight. Armed only with a purple crayon, young Harold creates a landscape full of wonder and excitement. He and his trusty crayon travel through forests, across seas and past dragons before returning to bed, safe and sound. This freshly devised adaptation of the popular children’s book by Crockett Johnson utilizes circus, dance, clowning and shadow-puppetry to bring the timeless story to life.  

Performances are Saturday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

“Jane Eyre”

by Polly Teale adapted from the novel by Charlotte Brontë
directed by Kathryn Walsh
Oct. 26 to Nov. 11
Josephine Louis Theatre, 20 Arts Circle Drive

As an orphaned child, Jane Eyre is taught by a succession of severe guardians to stifle her natural exuberance, and as a result, she locks a part of herself away out of view from polite society. That is until she arrives at Thornfield Hall to begin work as a governess to the young child of Edward Rochester. Quickly, the wealthy man’s passionate nature reawakens Jane’s hidden self, but darker secrets are stirring in the attic above. Kathryn Walsh directs Polly Teale’s bold adaptation of the literary classic that uses theatrical movement to put the interior life of the novel on stage.

Performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Imagine U: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”

music and lyrics by Clark M. Gesner with additional lyrics by Andrew Lippa
based on the “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles M. Schulz
directed by Stephen Schellhardt
Nov. 2 to 18
Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive

Explore a day in the life through the eyes of Charlie Brown and his colorful friends in the Peanuts gang including Lucy, Sally, Schroeder, Linus and Snoopy. Based on the beloved Charles Schultz comic strip, this witty and big-hearted Broadway musical features charming songs and vignettes that remind us of the joys of friendship and the pleasure of the simple things in life. Musical numbers include “My Blanket and Me,” “The Baseball Game,” “Little Known Facts,” “Suppertime” and “Happiness.” Recommended for ages 3 and older.

 Performances are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

“A Chorus Line”

by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Edward Kleban
directed and choreographed by Kurt Domoney
Nov. 9 to Dec. 2
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive

A Broadway chorus audition comes to life in one of the most celebrated musicals of all time. The inner lives and poignant ambitions of professional chorus dancers are explored with a brilliantly complex fusion of song, dance and drama. The Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning show features one powerhouse number after another including “What I Did for Love, “One,” “At the Ballet,” “The Music and the Mirror” and “I Hope I Get It.” Instantly recognized as a classic when it premiered in 1975, “A Chorus Line”ran for a record-breaking 15 years and is considered by many the ultimate tribute to Broadway musical theatre.

Performance times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.  There are no performances during Thanksgiving week, Nov. 19 to 28.

National Theatre Live: “King Lear”

by William Shakespeare  
directed by Jonathan Munby
Nov. 17, 2 p.m. 
Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive  

Sir Ian McKellan stars as Lear in Chichester Festival Theatre’s sold-out production that transferred to the West End for a limited run through Nov. 3, 2018.  Jonathan Munby directs this contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s tender, violent, moving and shocking play, called “nuanced and powerful” by The Times London.

National Theatre Live: “The Madness of King George III”

by Alan Bennett
directed by Adam Penford
Dec. 8, 2 p.m.
Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive  

Written by one of Britain’s best-loved playwrights Alan Bennett (“The History Boys,” “The Lady in the Van”), this epic play was also adapted into a BAFTA Award-winning film following its premiere on stage in 1991. The cast of this new production includes Olivier Award-winners Mark Gatiss (“Sherlock,” “Wolf Hall,” NT Live: “Coriolanus”) in the title role, and Adrian Scarborough (“Gavin and Stacey,”“Upstairs Downstairs,” “After the Dance”). It’s 1786 and King George III is the most powerful man in the world. But his behavior is becoming increasingly erratic as he succumbs to fits of lunacy. With the King’s mind unravelling at a dramatic pace, ambitious politicians and the scheming Prince of Wales threaten to undermine the power of the Crown, and expose the fine line between a King and a man.

Subscription Packages

Subscription packages are $148 for general admission, $132 for seniors (62+) and area educators, $100 for Northwestern University faculty and staff, $56 for area students, and $28 for Northwestern University students. 

The Wirtz Center now offers a six ticket Flex Pass for $100 which includes admission to any Mainstage production or Stage on Screen broadcast. The Flex Pass may be redeemed for six tickets to one performance, two tickets to three performances or any other such combination. The Flex Pass is not valid for Imagine U or MFA Lab productions or the Waa-Mu Show.

Single Ticket pricing varies for Mainstage, Imagine U and Stage on Screen events.

 More information on subscriptions and single tickets is available on the Wirtz Center website.

Beginning Sept. 26, tickets can be purchased by phone at 847-491-7282 or in-person at the Wirtz Center box office which is located in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. 

Box office hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.  The box office is closed on Sundays and Mondays. 

 The season continues in 2019 with:   

National Theatre Live: “Antony & Cleopatra”
by William Shakespeare
directed by Simon Godwin
Jan. 12, 2019
Ethel M. Barber Theater

“The Cherry Orchard”
adapted by Stephen Karam from Allison Horsely’s literal translation of the play by Anton Chekhov
directed by Hassan Al Rawas
Feb. 1 – 10, 2019
Josephine Louis Theater

“Guys and Dolls”
music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
directed by Nick Bowling
Feb. 15 to March 3, 2019
Ethel M. Barber Theater

National Theatre Live: “I’m Not Running”
by David Hare
Feb. 16, 2019
Josephine Louis Theater

Imagine U: “When She Had Wings”
by Suzan Zeder
directed by Rives Collins
Feb. 24 – Mar 10, 2019
Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater

“Danceworks 2019”
artistic director Joel Valentín-Martinez
choreographed by Jeff Hancock, Paige Fraser, J'Sun Howard and Joel Valentin-Martinez
March 1 to 10, 2019
Josephine Louis Theater 

“Schiller’s Mary Stuart”
adapted by Peter Oswald from the play by Friedrich Schiller
Directed by Alex Mallory
April 26 – May 5, 2019
Ethel Barber Theater

The 88th annual Waa-Mu Show
directed by Stephen Schellhardt
May 3 to 12, 2019
Cahn Auditorium 

“Voyeurs de Venus”
by Lydia R. Diamond
directed by Tasia A. Jones
May 17 to 26, 2019
Josephine Louis Theater

The Wirtz Center is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. 

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