•  ()
  •  ()
  • Print this Story
  • Email this Story

Northwestern Announces Eclectic, Electric 2009-10 Theatre Season

text size AAA
October 8, 2009 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- To begin the 2009-10 Mainstage Season in October, the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University welcomes Tony Award-winning director Frank Galati with his production of the classic farce-comedy "Arsenic and Old Lace," featuring guest artists Dennis Zacek and John Mohrlein and award-winning Northwestern acting faculty Cindy Gold and Mary Poole as the sinister, but hilarious sisters.

To continue the season in November, Joseph Jefferson Award-winning director and Northwestern's Music Theatre Program director Dominic Missimi will stage Leonard Bernstein's richly theatrical celebration of faith, "MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers," featuring new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz in consultation with Jamie Bernstein.

This winter, TIC will showcase the talents of its third-year Master of Fine Arts directing students with the "Masters-in-the-Making" series. Under the respective direction of Brant Russell, Geoff Button and Catherine Miller Hardy, the series will include David Greig's modern-day fable "The American Pilot," one young man's journey of self-discovery in the Tony Award-winning musical "The Who's Tommy" and a world-premiere adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel, "The Handmaid's Tale."

April ushers in the original high-octane production "Air Guitar High," written and directed by Northwestern faculty member Laura Schellhardt. Also in April, "Danceworks 2010" will celebrate a mix of tap, Jump Rhythm Jazz, ballet, modern and contemporary forms. TIC will close out the season in May with Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," directed by Laurence Olivier Award-nominated and Joseph Jefferson Award-winning Northwestern faculty member David H. Bell.

"Our 2009-10 season will feature an eclectic and electrifying exploration of new works and the revitalization of classic gems," said TIC Artistic Director Henry Godinez. "This season represents our commitment to providing students with an extraordinary opportunity to collaborate with professional guest artists and faculty in the creation of a powerful spectrum of great stories that is sure to move and entertain all of our audiences."

TIC also will offer its audience special events throughout the season, including the American Music Theatre Project's (AMTP) staged reading of "ACE," an exclusive two-night cabaret event "Holiday Divas!" and a staged reading of Joanna McClelland Glass' "Palmer Park," directed by Rives Collins, chair of Northwestern's department of theatre.

TIC performs in five spaces on the Northwestern University Evanston campus -- its 450-seat venue in the Ethel M. Barber Theater at 30 Arts Circle Drive, its 375-seat venue in the Josephine Louis Theater at 20 Arts Circle Drive, its 115-seat venue in the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater at 1949 Campus Drive, its 115-seat venue in the Mussetter-Struble Theater at 1949 Campus Drive and the 1,000-seat venue in Cahn Auditorium at 600 Emerson Street.

Post-Show Discussions
The TIC artistic staff and cast members will host post-show discussions for all eight Mainstage productions, which will follow the first Sunday matinee performance and Thursday evening performance. Post-show discussions are free to all patrons.

TICKET INFORMATION
The Theater and Interpretation Center 2009-10 subscription package prices are $127 for adults; $110 for seniors 65 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area educators; and $50 for full-time students and children. These prices represent a reduction in subscription prices from last season, as well as a more than 25 percent discount over single ticket prices.

Subscription benefits include a flexible exchange policy; secured seats to sold-out shows; the best seats in the house; complimentary tickets to select studio productions; and invitations to special events and programming. Subscriptions are available through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu. Single ticket prices are listed below and will go on sale Oct. 1 also through the Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu.

THEATRE AND INTERPRETATION CENTER 2009-10 MAINSTAGE SEASON

"Arsenic and Old Lace" by Joseph Kesselring and directed by Frank Galati, Oct. 24 to Nov. 8, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. A clever combination of the farcical and the macabre, Joseph Kesselring's play centers on two elderly sisters, famous in their Brooklyn neighborhood both for their charity and their befuddled nephew who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt. But the sisters have a secret -- a secret that is deadly for the lonely old gentlemen who appear on their doorstep looking for lodging. Under the direction of Tony Award-winning Frank Galati with costume design by Jeff Award-winning Virgil C. Johnson, this black comedy will feature guest star, Northwestern alumnus and Victory Gardens Theatre founder and artistic director Dennis Zacek, popular local actor John Mohrlein and award-winning Northwestern acting faculty Cindy Gold and Mary Poole.

"MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers" composed by Leonard Bernstein, featuring new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz in consultation with Jamie Bernstein and directed by Dominic Missimi, Nov. 12 to 15, at Cahn Auditorium. Originally commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy for the 1971 opening of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, "MASS" was composed by Leonard Bernstein based on the Tridentine Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. Featuring an eclectic mix of genres that includes rock, jazz, Broadway, blues, opera and hymns, "MASS" uses this large-scale musical canvas to examine one celebrant's crisis of faith. Jeff Award-winning director Dominic Missimi first staged the production on Northwestern's campus in 1991, describing the piece as "a work that defies categorization." Presented in partnership through TIC and the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music and conducted by Northwestern faculty member Ryan T. Nelson for one weekend only, "Mass" will feature new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz in consultation with Jamie Bernstein.

"The American Pilot" by David Greig and directed by Brant Russell, Jan. 29 to Feb. 7, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. After crashing in the hills of a war-torn foreign country, an injured American bomber pilot finds shelter in a farmer's barn. Unable to speak the local language, he is left with only the music on his iPod to communicate, and his fate -- ransom, death or freedom -- to be determined by the conflicting agendas of the farmer, his family and the local militia. Directed by Brant Russell, David Greig's entertaining and emotive fable of a man falling from the sky illuminates how a simple connection between two people could be the key to survival, and how often these connections are lost by one's inability to rise above circumstance. The production is presented as part of TIC's Masters-in-the-Making series.

"The Who's Tommy" music and lyrics by Pete Townshend, book by Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff and directed by Geoff Button, Feb. 18 to March 7, at the Josephine Louis Theater. A rock-and-roll adventure explodes in "The Who's Tommy." Released in 1969, the rock-opera "Tommy" became the first concept album of its kind, chronicling the story of a young man whose life is forever altered and defined by a terrible act of violence, all amidst a backdrop of gritty power chords. Based on the album and composed by legendary guitarist Pete Townshend, "The Who's Tommy" takes audiences on the journey of a child who lives buried inside himself, only to become a man who lives too much for others, and his ultimate discovery that what sets us apart is what gives us our place in the world. With a Tony Award winning score that "lifts the audience right out of its seats" and a rock-concert staging, Jeff Award-nominated director Geoff Button brings the story of Tommy to light in a new, electrifying way. It is presented as part of TIC's Masters-in-the-Making series.

"The Handmaid's Tale" adapted and directed by Catherine Miller Hardy, based on the book by Margaret Atwood, March 5 to 14, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. What happens when the revolution is over? Based on the novel by Margaret Atwood and adapted by Catherine Miller Hardy, "The Handmaid's Tale" is the story of one woman's life in the Republic of Gilead, an authoritarian regime in what was, until recently, the United States of America. Offred is a handmaid, one of the few remaining fertile women, given to a wealthy and powerful couple to bear "their" children. As weeks stretch into months and this strange new world becomes the norm, Offred must turn to us: to preserve the life she knew, to hold fast to her dreams of escape and to face her own complicity. "The Handmaid's Tale" is presented as part of TIC's Masters-in-the-Making series.

"Air Guitar High" adapted and directed by Laura Schellhardt, April 9 to 18, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Nothing ever happens in Scrug, Iowa, until the U.S. Regional Air Guitar Championships come through town. Inspired by real air guitar competitions and the unstoppable draw of games like "Guitar Hero," "Air Guitar High" is the story of a group of teenagers determined to take their futures into their own hands. The production is presented through the TIC Children's Theatre Tour.

"Danceworks 2010" with artistic direction by Susan A. Lee, April 23 to May 2, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Featuring the original works of Northwestern's nationally and internationally renowned faculty and celebrated guest artists, "Danceworks 2010" is an electric celebration of tap, Jump Rhythm Jazz, ballet, modern and contemporary forms. Northwestern University's Dance Program celebrates its 30th anniversary this season.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare and directed by David H. Bell, May 21 to 30, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Shakespeare's boisterous fantasy of ardent lovers, bumbling actors and the conjuring fairy kingdom is one of the most beloved comedies of all time. With sleight-of-hand that subverts the line between dreams and reality, Laurence Olivier Award-nominated and Jeff Award-winning director David H. Bell creates a modern world at once musical and magical, raucous and outrageous, where reveries threaten to become a darkly sensual nightmare.

Single tickets for "Arsenic and Old Lace," "MASS" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" are $25 for the general public; $20 for seniors 65 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area teachers; and $10 for full-time students.

Single tickets for "Danceworks 2010" are $20 for the general public; $18 for seniors 65 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area teachers; and $10 for full-time students.

Single tickets for "The American Pilot," "The Who's Tommy," "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Air Guitar High" are $15 for the general public; $12 for seniors 65 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area teachers; and $10 for full-time students.

SPECIAL EVENT PRODUCTIONS FOR 2009-10

"ACE" by Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor and directed by David H. Bell, Sept. 25 to 27, at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater. Part of the American Music Theatre Project OutLOUD Reading series, "ACE" is the epic story of one young boy's search to come to terms with his past, find his place in the present and unlock his future. An exploration of the heroic men and women from our greatest generations by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker (conductor of Cirque de Soleil's "Ka"), this musical reading will be directed by David H. Bell and performed by students from the Northwestern Music Theatre Certificate Program. All three performances of this complimentary event are sold out. To be placed on a waiting list, contact the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282.

"Holiday Divas!" directed by David H. Bell, Dec. 7 and 8, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. "Sing in the holiday season! This exclusive, two-night-only cabaret event will feature Chicago's leading music theatre divas and divos -- including Hollis Resnik, Ross Lehman and friends -- performing beloved holiday classics.

Discounted tickets are currently available for "Holiday Divas!" to 2009-10 Mainstage Season subscribers. Full-price tickets will go on sale to the public Oct. 1. Single tickets are $30 for the general public; $25 for subscribers; and $22 for subscribers who are seniors 65 and older, Northwestern faculty and staff and area teachers.

"Palmer Park" by Joanna McClelland Glass and directed by Rives Collins, Jan. 17 and 18, at the Mussetter-Struble Theater. In 1967, the worst of the race riots in the United States occurred in Detroit, resulting in the flight of more than 100,000 white city residents. But not every white resident left. In "Palmer Park," Tony Award-nominated playwright Joanna McClelland Glass tells the story of one neighborhood that struggled to uphold the ideal of integration. Directed by Rives Collins, this staged reading is part of the Big Ten university theatre initiative. Admission is free and open to the public, with advance reservations required through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282. However, ticket availability is limited for the Jan. 17 performance of "Palmer Park."