Northwestern Announces Theatre SeasonSeptember 26, 2006 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- The world premiere of the American Music Theatre Project's third musical “Asphalt Beach,” Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter's dark comedy “The Birthday Party” and performances by Northwestern's Mime Troupe are among the stage productions scheduled for Northwestern University's 2006-07 theatre season.
Also on the roster is Stephen Schwartz's musical “Pippin,” Mary Zimmerman's vision of Shakespeare's “Cymbeline,” an annual dance program featuring the choreography of Northwestern's dance faculty, Aurand Harris' family play “The Orphan Train,” Obie Award-winning British playwright Caryl Churchill's comedy “Cloud Nine” and Philip Barry's 1928 romantic comedy “Holiday.”
Prices for a Series A or B season subscription to eight shows is $145 for the general public; $130 for seniors 65 and older and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $70 for full-time students and children. A Series C subscription to nine shows is $155 for the general public; $140 for seniors 65 and older and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $80 for full-time students and children. Single ticket prices are indicated below. Single tickets and subscriptions will go on sale Sept. 5.
The upcoming theatrical productions will be held in venues on the Evanston campus, as noted below.
Northwestern's theatre department will launch the 2006-07 season with the world premiere of “Asphalt Beach” from Oct. 27 to Nov. 12 at the Josephine Louis Theatre, 20 Arts Circle Drive. Following the success of last spring's “WAS” and this summer's upcoming performances of “The Boys Are Coming Home” (July 28-Aug. 13), the American Music Theatre Project's third new work will be the world premiere of the hilarious rock musical “Asphalt Beach.” “Asphalt Beach” features music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, book by T. C. Smith and Peter Spears and direction by Amanda Dehnert. The musical is set in Asphalt Beach, N. J., home of “Our Lady of Suppressed Desire Academy for Rambunctious Young Girls,” where a rag-tag band of misfit girls struggle daily to break free from the dominating head-mistress, Sister Severia. The adversity leads them to discover that family isn't just something you inherit; it also is something you create. The Gilman & Gonzales-Falla Theater Foundation and Louise and Thomas Middleton are the honorary producers of “Asphalt Beach.” Single tickets are $10 to $25.
Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter's clever dark comedy “The Birthday Party” will be performed Nov. 10 to 19 at the Ethel M. Barber Theatre, 30 Arts Circle Drive, and is set in a small seedy boarding house at a coastal resort. The house is home to a man, his mentally wayward wife and their boarder -- a strange chap, unkempt and apparently in flight from someone. After an even stranger and threatening man and his menacing, muscle-bound henchman arrive, the boarding house owner's wife decides to celebrate the boarder's birthday. The ensuing celebration pushes the inhabitants of the boarding house over a psychotic precipice that only Pinter -- widely regarded as the United Kingdom's greatest living playwright -- could envision. Tickets are priced from $10 to $20.
The Northwestern University Mime Troupe returns to the Josephine Louis Theatre stage from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 for “The Mime Show.” The student mimes will write and stage the show and demonstrate this expressive silent form of communication during several performances. Theatre Professor Bud Beyer, the troupe's founder and director, will direct the show. Single tickets are priced from $10 to $20.
The mischievous and magical musical “Pippin” is the lively coming-of-age story of 8th century King Charlemagne's oldest son. Written by the composer of the Broadway and Chicago hit “Wicked,” “Pippin” will be performed Jan. 26 to Feb. 4 at the Louis Theatre. A surprise waits around every corner as Pippin wanders through the worlds of politics, love and war on his quest to find his true calling in life -- home and family. Dazzling and imaginative, “Pippin” won six Tony Awards in 1972 and features show-stopping ballads and dance numbers. Three-time Oscar Award-winning composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz's score is pop-influenced. Schwartz also wrote the music and lyrics for “Godspell” and “Children of Eden.” Single tickets are priced from $10 to $25.
Mary Zimmerman, renowned Tony Award-winning director, Goodman Theatre Artistic Associate and Lookingglass Theatre ensemble member, returns to the Northwestern stage for the first time since “Six Myths” (which became “Metamorphosis” on Broadway) to direct William Shakespeare's “Cymbeline” Feb. 9 to 18 at the Barber Theatre. This adventurous Shakespearean fantasy weaves a tale of the beautiful British Princess Imogen and her new husband Posthumus, who are parted by circumstances invoked by her wicked stepmother and her distant father, King Cymbeline. Disguises, misidentifications, convenient plot twists and romantic comedy abound in this ode to the fairy tale world. Single tickets are priced from $10 to $25.
Performances of Danceworks 2007 will be held Feb. 23 to March 4 at the Louis Theatre. The annual showcase features the finest choreography of Northwestern University's dance faculty. Joseph Mills, director of the University's Dance Program, will direct the 2007 edition. Single tickets are $10 to $20.
Aurand Harris' “The Orphan Train” will be performed April 12 to 15 at the Louis Theatre. This family-friendly presentation will be directed by theatre faculty member Rives Collins. “The Orphan Train” follows the inspirational adventure or eight orphaned children seeking a home. The moving story is based on actual events of an Orphan Train that departed New York City on May 28, 1914, and traveled to Midwestern towns in search of homes for the children. The production will travel to Evanston-area junior high schools following its Evanston campus performance run. Single tickets are $10 to $20.
Caryl Churchill's comedy “Cloud Nine” will be performed April 20 to 29 at the Barber Theatre. It is a hilarious riff on class, sex and race by the Obie Award-winning British playwright. A provocative and amusing study of colonialism and sexual politics set in Victorian Africa and contemporary England, it boasts one of the most unique dramatic structures in contemporary theatre. Seven actors double and some triple roles to portray 16 characters in a timeline that jumps more than 100 years -- from the late 19th century to the present-- though characters age only 25 years. Male characters are played by women, female characters are portrayed by men, a dutiful matron morphs into a vulnerable gay man and a patriarchal husband becomes a mischievous 5-year-old girl. Single tickets are $10 to $25.
Philip Barry's 1928 romantic comedy “Holiday” will be performed May 11 to 20 at the Louis Theatre. This is the story of a young man who plans to wed a girl of great wealth and social standing and who expresses his preference to live life as a holiday, much to his future father-in-law's chagrin and her sister's fascination. Written by legendary American playwright Philip Barry, who also wrote “The Philadelphia Story,” “Holiday” became a famous motion picture directed by George Cukor that starred Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. Single tickets are $10 to $25.
For more information or to order single or group tickets by phone, call the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282.
Online ticket sales for Mainstage productions also are available through TicketWeb.com by going to Northwestern's Theatre and Interpretation Center Web site at http://www.tic.northwestern.edu/tickets.html and clicking the TicketWeb icon.