The Best of Broadway and Beyond Arrives in EvanstonSeptember 9, 2011 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- In its 31st season, the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University celebrates artists and events from Evanston, Chicago, Broadway and London, as well as TIC’s faculty and student community.
Beginning its season in October, TIC welcomes Victory Garden Theater’s co-founder Dennis Zacek with his stirring take on the award-winning crime drama by Northwestern alumnus John Logan, “Never the Sinner.” Also in October, Chicago’s acclaimed Second City improv troupe will make their way north to Evanston for a one-weekend-only customized Northwestern revue: “The Second City Does Northwestern: Wildcat on a Hot Tin Roof.” To close out the fall, in November, celebrated Northwestern faculty member Dominic Missimi will direct Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Rent.”
Also in the fall, TIC is introducing a brand new type of programming that will run throughout the year and give audiences access to one of London’s most celebrated theatre companies, the National Theatre. Partnering with National Theatre Live (NT Live) in a groundbreaking initiative, seven to eight highly-praised National Theatre productions will be broadcast to TIC, offering Chicago and North Shore audiences the opportunity to share in some of the world’s greatest theatre performances, including the critically acclaimed “One Man, Two Guvnors.”
Another new collaboration will begin in the fall, as TIC partners with the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) to present IN THE WORKS: a series of readings and workshops of new musicals in development. These include “Hero” by Michael Mahler and Aaron Thielen and “Triangle” by Curtis Moore, Thomas Mizer and Joshua Scher.
The season will continue in winter and spring with productions of “The Bluest Eye,” “Spring Awakening,” “The Little Prince,” “Danceworks 2012,” “Twelfth Night “ and the annual “Waa-Mu” show, written and orchestrated entirely by Northwestern students and earning recognition as “the greatest college show in America.”
2011-12 marks the second season of TIC’s Imagine U Family Series, offering children aged 5 to 10 and their families a hands-on look at theatre, music and dance. This year will include a musical adaptation of “A Year with Frog and Toad” as well as the fun and feisty “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse.”
For the second year, TIC is partnering with the Arts & Business Committee of the Evanston Arts Council and the City of Evanston in BackStage Evanston. Sponsored by Evanston businesses and featuring music, theatre and dance institutions from the Evanston community, this Sept.18 event offers North Shore audiences highlights of the coming season of each organization.
All 2011-12 season events will be held in venues on the University’s Evanston campus, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive; Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive; Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Drive; Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus Drive; or Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, as noted.
The 2011-12 single ticket prices are listed below; single tickets will go on sale Sept 14. Where applicable, ticket discounts are available for groups of 8 or more.
For the first time, Mainstage subscribers have the option of choosing between two different plans. The 8-Play Subscription for $75 to $154 represents a 20 percent savings off single ticket prices. The 5-Play Flex-Pass for $55 to $115 represents a 10 percent savings off single ticket prices. Both 8-Play subscription packages and 5-Play Flex-Passes are now on sale. Except as otherwise noted, tickets and subscriptions can be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or www.tic.northwestern.edu.
“Never the Sinner,” by John Logan, directed by Dennis Zacek, Oct. 14 to 23, at the Josephine Louis Theater. The first play by award-winning Northwestern alumnus John Logan, “Never the Sinner” recreates the first “trial of the century.” In 1924 Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb kidnapped and murdered a 14-year-old boy from Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood in an attempt to perform the perfect crime. The trial of the self-described Nietzschean supermen captivated the nation. Directed by former Victory Gardens Theater Artistic Director Dennis Zacek and featuring Northwestern faculty member Henry Godinez and acclaimed Chicago actor Torrey Hanson, “Never the Sinner” asks: Are they heartless murderers or are they much like all of us? This production is sponsored by a generous grant from the Alumnae of Northwestern. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Single tickets are $10 to $25; groups of 8 or more are $8 to $22.
“The Second City Does Northwestern: Wildcat on a Hot Tin Roof,” Oct. 20 to 23, at Cahn Auditorium. For more than 50 years, The Second City has been the heart and soul of Chicago comedy. Now some of the country’s most skilled comedians make their way up to Evanston for a Wildcat-centric revue. This no-holds-barred event will satirize everything purple through sketch comedy, songs and improvisation. No Northwestern tradition is safe! The event is presented in partnership with the Northwestern University Office of Alumni and Development, Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Single tickets are $30 with a special $10 rate for Northwestern students on Thursday, Oct 20; groups of 8 or more are $20 to $27.
“Rent,” music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, directed by Dominic Missimi, Nov. 4 to 20, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Inspired by Puccini’s opera “La Boheme,” “Rent” broke ground by focusing on a group of friends, drug use and the AIDS crisis. This Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, directed by Northwestern faculty member Dominic Missimi, offers a heartrending and ultimately hopeful look at love and friendship in the face of illness. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Single tickets are $10 to $25; groups of 8 or more are $8 to $22.
“The Bluest Eye,” by Lydia Diamond, based on the novel by Toni Morrison, directed by Rives Collins, Jan. 27 to Feb. 5, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Adapted by award-winning Northwestern alumna Lydia Diamond from Morrison’s acclaimed debut novel, “The Bluest Eye,” asks the universal question: What is beauty? Young Pecola has always yearned for the blue eyes that she believes will make her more beautiful and ease her hardships in school, her neighborhood and her own home. Directed by Northwestern University faculty member Rives Collins, “The Bluest Eye” was commissioned in 2005 by the Steppenwolf for Young Adults and the New Plays Initiative at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Single tickets are $10 to $25; groups of 8 or more are $8 to $22.
“Spring Awakening,” book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik, directed by Geoff Button, Feb. 10 to 26, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Winner of eight Tony awards and featuring “the most gorgeous Broadway score this decade” (Entertainment Weekly), with songs by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, “Spring Awakening” is a celebration of youth and self-discovery that combines classic text and rock and roll. It follows a group of 19th-century German teens as they grapple with sexuality, morality and rebellion in a world of unresponsive adults. “Spring Awakening” explodes the boundaries of musical theatre to reveal the journey of growing up. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Due to adult situations and content, parental supervision is recommended for ages 18 and younger. Single tickets are $10 to $25; groups of 8 or more are $8 to $22.
“Danceworks 2012,” artistic direction by Annie Beserra, Feb. 24 to March 4, at the Josephine Louis Theater. This annual audience favorite features original works by Northwestern’s acclaimed faculty choreographers and performances by up-and-coming student dancers. Under the artistic direction of award-winning Northwestern faculty member Annie Beserra, “Danceworks 2012” is a defiant and evocative contemporary celebration of Jump Rhythm Jazz, ballet, modern and world forms. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Single tickets are $10 to $25; groups of 8 or more are $8 to $22.
“The Little Prince,” by Rick Cummins and John Scoullar, based on the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, directed by David Catlin, April 13 to 22, at the Josephine Louis Theater. “The Little Prince” comes to life under the direction of Lookingglass ensemble and Northwestern University faculty member David Catlin. An aviator crashes in the Sahara desert and, in his attempts to get unstuck, meets a strange and wonderful little prince. In a world moving so fast that an entire month may be lived within a single day, this classic all-ages tale of imagination, whimsy and unrequited love reminds us that “what is essential is invisible to the eye.” This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Single tickets are $10 to $25; groups of 8 or more are $8 to $22.
“Twelfth Night,” by William Shakespeare, directed by Mary Poole, May 11 to 20, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Shipwrecked on the shores of Illyria, aristocratic-born Viola assumes her twin brother is dead and takes on the identity of a young male page to gain work in an unfamiliar land. Her compromised identity puts her at the center of a complicated love triangle that is hilarious, melancholy and always entertaining. Under the direction of award-winning Northwestern faculty member Mary Poole, this classic comedy is a delightful adventure about mistaken identity and misguided hearts. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Single tickets are $10 to $25; groups of 8 or more are $8 to $22.
AMERICAN MUSIC THEATRE PROJECT/IN THE WORKS
“Hero,” music and lyrics by Michael Mahler, book by Aaron Thielen, directed by Jess McLeod, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16 and Sept. 18, at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater. Aspiring comic book artist Hero Batowski lives anything but a superhero life -- he’s 28 years old, works in his family’s comic book shop and still lives with his dad. When a series of unexpected events occur, Hero is left to decide whether he’s ready to face his fears and get his life on track. This quirky contemporary musical explores the extraordinary moments in ordinary life when there are no superheroes to come to one’s rescue. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. This event is open to this season’s 8-Play subscribers only.
“Triangle,” music by Curtis Moore, lyrics by Thomas Mizer, book by Thomas Mizer, Curtis Moore and Joshua Scher, directed by Meredith McDonough, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct 2, at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater. Against the backdrop of New York’s historic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, two couples from different eras -- a Jewish seamstress, her Italian foreman, a modern scientist and the mysterious man who appears in his lab -- grapple with what it means to risk everything for love. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. This event is open to this season’s 8-Play subscribers only.
“BackStage Evanston,” 3:30 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Presented by the Arts & Business Committee of the Evanston Arts Council and the City of Evanston, BackStage Evanston showcases five-minute performances from 17 Evanston music, dance and theatre groups. The event features performances by Actors Gymnasium, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, Evanston Dance Ensemble, Evanston Symphony Orchestra, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, The Lakeside Singers, Light Opera Works, Music Institute of Chicago, The Musical Offering, Next Theatre Company, North Shore Choral Society, Northwestern University theatre department, Piccolo Theatre, Piven Theatre Workshop, Renovo String Orchestra, the Savoyaires and Theatre Zarko. Advance tickets are $20 and can be purchased through www.BackStageEvanston.com or by phone at (847) 448-8260. This $20 admission is redeemed at the event for a special ticket offer of equal value from any of the participating organizations.
NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE
“One Man, Two Guvnors,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, Josephine Louis Theater. Directed by National Theatre director Nicholas Hytner and starring James Corden (“The History Boys”), this fun-filled comedy is set in 1963 England and based on “The Servant of Two Masters.” This production was hailed by the Daily Telegraph as “one of the funniest productions in the National’s history” and “the feel good hit of the summer.” Single tickets are $20; groups of 8 or more are $18.
“The Kitchen,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, Josephine Louis Theater. In the kitchen of an enormous West End restaurant in 1950s London, the orders are piling up: a post-war feast of soup, fish, cutlets, omelets and fruit flans. But in the clamor of the kitchen, all is on the brink of collapse. Arnold Wesker’s extraordinary play premiered at the Royal Court in 1959 and has since been performed in more than 30 countries. Directed by the National Theatre associate director Bijan Sheibani, “The Kitchen” puts the workplace center stage in a blackly funny and furious examination. Single tickets are $20; groups of 8 or more are $18.
“Collaborators,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, Josephine Louis Theater. This new play by John Hodge (screenwriter of “Trainspotting,” “Shallow Grave” and “The Beach”) is directed by National Theatre artistic director Nicholas Hytner. It centers on an imaginary encounter between Joseph Stalin and Russian playwright Mikhail Bulgakov (best known for his novel “The Master and Margarita”). Alex Jennings (“The Habit of Art”) will play Bulgakov and Simon Russell Beale (“London Assurance”) will play Stalin. Single tickets are $20; groups of 8 or more are $18.
“The Comedy of Errors,” 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, Ethel M. Barber Theater. Dominic Cooke, director of London’s Royal Court Theatre, comes to National Theatre for the first time to direct this Shakespeare classic, opening in the Olivier Theatre in late November and continuing in repertoire through March 2012. Famed British comedian and actor Lenny Henry makes his National Theatre debut as Antipholus of Syracuse. Single tickets are $20; groups of 8 or more are $18.
National Theatre Live is presented in partnership with BY Experience HD, Arts Council England and Aviva. TIC’s broadcasts are sponsored by a generous grant from the Alumnae of Northwestern. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Three of four more NT Live broadcast dates will be announced later this season. Subscriptions to the four scheduled broadcasts are available for $64, which reflects a 20 percent savings off single ticket prices.
IMAGINE U: FAMILY SERIES
“A Year With Frog and Toad,” music by Robert Reale, book and lyrics by Willie Reale, based on the books by Arnold Lobel, directed by Sophie Rich, Oct. 28 to Nov. 6, at the Mussetter-Struble Theater. Frog and Toad aren’t perfect animals by any stretch of the imagination. They fight, they make mistakes and they sometimes let feelings get the better of them. But, despite their differences, friendship always wins out in the end. Children and parents alike will delight in the life adventures of two unlikely best friends in this heartwarming and joyous musical adapted from the children’s book by Arnold Lobel. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Recommended for ages 5 to 10. Single tickets are $10.
“Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse,” by Kevin Henkes, adapted by Kevin Kling, and directed by Chelsea Taylor, April 13 to 22, at the Mussetter-Struble Theater. Who doesn’t want to be Queen of Everything? With her brand new purple plastic purse and red cowboy boots, Lilly is a mouse-on-the-go, a force to be reckoned with, ready for anything. But at age six, sometimes it’s easy to forget that other people have feelings too. Based on the book of the same name, “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” is a fun and imaginative reminder to audiences young and old of lessons that sometimes can only be learned the hard way. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Recommended for ages 5 to 10. Single tickets are $10.
Two Imagine U Saturday morning events will be announced later this season. Subscriptions to the Imagine U 2-Play Series are $16.
WAA-MU 2012“Waa-Mu 2012,” directed by David H. Bell, April 27 to May 6, at the Cahn Auditorium. Explore the Northwestern University student experience through the exceptional student-written music and stunning performances that have earned Waa-Mu recognition as “the greatest college show in America.” Take a unique journey with the cast of Waa-Mu 2012 as they venture beyond the comfort of campus to discover America for themselves. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. Single tickets are $10 to $30 and will go on sale in December through the TIC Box Office. Season subscribers may purchase tickets now.