The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern has planned a 2023-24 season of musicals, dramas and theatre for young audiences by celebrated theater makers.
“Each play is distinct, but all of them grapple, in one way or another, with art’s ability — in the face of real damage and devastation — to heal us,” said Tanya Palmer, assistant dean and executive artistic director for Northwestern’s School of Communication.
The fall season kicks off with Imagine U’s “Frida Libre,” Oct. 20-Nov. 5, directed by Northwestern alum Ismael Lara, Jr. (MFA in directing ’22). The play is an homage to friendship inspired by the childhood of legendary painter Frida Kahlo.
During the show’s run, 800 third-graders will view the performance as part of a partnership between Northwestern and Evanston/Skokie School District 65 schools to bring live theatre to local youth. For nearly two decades, the Wirtz Center at Northwestern has presented Imagine U’s popular performance series created especially for families with young children.
“The Prom” tells an all-too-timely story of homophobia shutting down a high school prom and the over-the-top Broadway performers who decide to save the day. This joyful, hilarious hit musical, directed by MFA directing candidate Tor Campbell, will run Nov. 10-19.
The final fall production slated is Will Arbery’s (MFA writing for the screen and stage ’15) “Heroes of the Fourth Turning,” a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in its Chicago debut, directed by alum Joan Sergey (’17).
Highlights of the winter/spring season include “Working: A Musical,” from the book by Studs Terkel, a reimagined take on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” a feminist riff on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” by playwright Kate Hamill and “How to Know the Wild Flowers: A Map,” co-created by Jessica Thebus and Julie Marie Myatt, based on a story of grief and healing following the 19th-century pandemic.
“All productions this season offer clues for ways we can resist despair and division,” Palmer said.
For more information and to explore the entire schedule, visit the Wirtz Center website, call 847-491-7282 or stop by the box office in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater at 30 Arts Circle Drive on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.