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Wirtz Center presents Chicago premiere of ‘When She Had Wings’

Imagine U observes Women’s History Month with Amelia Earhart-inspired family production

The Wirtz Center presents the Chicago premiere of 'When She Had Wings' Feb. 24 to March 10. Photo by Collin Quinn Rice.
The Wirtz Center presents the Chicago premiere of 'When She Had Wings' Feb. 24 to March 10. Photo by Collin Quinn Rice.

EVANSTON -- A young girl in her treehouse dreams of flying just like her hero Amelia Earhart in “When She Had Wings” by award-winning playwright Suzan Zeder.

The play closes the 2018-2019 Imagine U family series at Northwestern University’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts. Performances are Feb. 24 to March 10 in the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive on the Evanston campus.

A creative drama workshop based on the themes of the play will be offered to school age children and their families following the 2 p.m. performances on March 2 and 9.

Rives Collins, Northwestern School of Communication theater professor, directs the Chicago premiere production of Zeder’s play, which received its world premiere in the 2015 Women’s Voices Theater Festival in Washington, D.C.

B. is a fiercely determined young girl and aspiring pilot who has decided that she must realize her destiny to fly before turning 10. In a makeshift airplane built in her backyard treehouse, she recounts the thrilling and legendary victories of her hero, Amelia Earhart. That night, following a tremendous summer thunderstorm, a mysterious birdlike visitor takes up residence in her imaginary cockpit, and B. wonders if the strange creature might be an incarnation of her hero and her inspiration to finally take flight.

“I knew it was a story I wanted bring to Imagine U because of its charm, its whimsy and the grandeur of its heart,” Collins said. “I think it will enchant families with movement and music and mystery even as it offers children a healthy dose of empowerment and self-esteem, and by presenting it during women’s history month, it also celebrates a marvelous role model from a century ago.”

Performances are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. The sensory-friendly performance is Sunday, March 3 at 2 p.m. Post show discussions will follow the performances on Feb. 24, March 1, March 8 and March 10. The production is recommended for ages six and up.

Imagine U will offer a free 45-minute creative drama workshop with Northwestern teaching artists following the 2 p.m. performances March 2 and 9. Children and their families will explore the themes of the show through a variety of games and creative drama-based activities. The workshop is open to any child who attends the show, but it will be most engaging for students who are of school age and their families. Space is limited and advance reservations are required. Registration is available on the Wirtz Center website. Contact for more information.

“When She Had Wings” tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for full-time students. Tickets for Northwestern students are $6 in advance or $10 at the door.

Tickets may be purchased on the Wirtz Center website, by phone at 847-491-7282 or in-person at the Wirtz Center box office, 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 Sundays and Mondays.

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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