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Wirtz Center’s ‘Imagine U Storytime’ announces February lineup

Northwestern artists share “Choose Your Own Tale of ‘Peter Rabbit,’” poems by Shel Silverstein and more

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Four more interactive children’s programs will debut Feb. 7 to 28 with the latest lineup of “Imagine U Storytime,” the online storytelling series presented by the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts and the department of theatre at Northwestern University. 

The series includes classics like Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” and a choose-your-own-adventure rendition of “Peter Rabbit.” Young audience members will be stunned by wicked teachers in “Wayside School vs. Ms. Gorf” and learn to express themselves through a telling of Jamie Lee Curtis’s “Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods that Make My Day.” 

The weekly video series airs weekly on the Wirtz Center YouTube channel. New videos are posted at 6 p.m. on Sundays and remain online for streaming.

“Imagine U Storytime” began in April 2020 as a way to connect community members through the arts during the global pandemic.

According to Rives Collins, department chair of theatre at Northwestern’s School of Communication, the series aims to provide engaging content for families to enjoy together at home, as well as highlight the talented students, faculty and alumni in the theatre for young audiences training program.

“It has been remarkable to see what our story artists have created to delight young audiences,” said Lynn Kelso, Imagine U founder and creative mentor. “We are very excited to return to continue to share these artistic gifts with our families in these challenging times.”

Upcoming Imagine U programs: 

“Where the Sidewalk Ends, And Other Poems”

Sunday, Feb. 7, 6 p.m. CST
In creating his iconic poetry collection, Shel Silverstein created fictional worlds that highlight the frustrations and explorations of being a child so clearly that adults remember them years later. Performed by Clay Lawhead (’23), Olivia Behr (’23), Rachael Dec (’23) and Olivia Behr (’23), this Storytime is an homage to the playfulness and sincerity of artistic expression that Silverstein showcases excellently. 

“Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods that Make My Day,” a book by Jamie Lee Curtis

Sunday, Feb. 14, 6 p.m. CST
With each new day comes new emotions and feelings to experience. Understanding, accepting and celebrating those feelings as they happen is important. Through this book reading by Jane Wiertel (’22), viewers will explore their many emotions and find fun ways to express themselves just like the main character in the story.

“Choose Your Own Tale of Peter Rabbit”

Sunday, Feb. 21, 6 p.m. CST
Would you follow along with Peter’s adventures, or would you make your own decisions? Would you wander into Mr. McGreggor’s garden or stay with your sisters? Find out what happens next in this interactive journey inspired by Beatrix Potter’s classic story and told by Benjamin Jouras (’23). 

“Wayside School vs. Ms. Gorf” 

Sunday, Feb. 28, 6 p.m. CST
Meet Ms. Gorf, a temperamental teacher who, at the drop of a dime, turns any student who misbehaves into an apple! But when she goes a bit too far with her zany disciplinary method, it is up to her very own students to stop her wickedness and save Wayside School from becoming an apple farm forever. Matthew Threadgill (’21) adapts this story from “Sideways Stories of Wayside School,” a short story cycle by Louis Sachar.