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Theatre and Interpretation Center's 2012-2013 Season

Includes new musical “The Verona Project,” Waa-Mu and more

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August 27, 2012
Verona Project singers
Award-winning writer/director Amanda Dehnert’s new musical "The Verona Project" is a takeoff on Shakespeare's first comedy and an electric hybrid of theatre and live concert infused with original indie-folk-rock music.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- In its 32nd season, the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University brings together guest artists and events from Evanston, Chicago, New York City, London and beyond to explore the many different contemporary faces of poverty in America.

Featuring award-winning Chicago directors, an acclaimed Northwestern alumna, National Theatre Live broadcasts and the Imagine U Family Series, the season will begin in October with the American Music Theatre Project’s production of award-winning Northwestern faculty member Amanda Dehnert’s new musical, “The Verona Project,” which explores love, loss and the road to adulthood. In November, celebrated Chicago director William Brown takes audiences back to the endearingly eccentric Sycamore household in the 1930s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy “You Can’t Take It With You.”

In the winter months, Northwestern MFA directing student Jess McLeod returns to TIC with a piercing examination of minimum wage survival with “Nickel and Dimed,” based on the best-selling book by Barbara Ehrenreich. TIC will then welcome Marriott Theatre Artistic Associate Peter Sullivan to direct the 1950s battle of economic wits and wills in the heartwarming musical “The Pajama Game.” Under the artistic direction of Northwestern dance professor Annie Beserra, guest and faculty choreographers will use dance theatre, contact improvisation, Jump Rhythm Jazz and hip-hop to take on the complex issue of poverty in “Occupy Dance 2013.”

In April, TIC welcomes a Northwestern MFA directing alumna to the stage in an inaugural collaboration with Next Theatre Company and the Center on Wrongful Convictions, as Cat Miller returns to direct “The Exonerated,” which follows six former death row prisoners whose convictions were reversed. Also in April, award-winning Northwestern faculty member David H. Bell will again direct “Waa-Mu 2013.” The 2012-13 season will conclude with an eclectic experiment in dialogue, communal decision-making and shared responsibility conceived and directed by Northwestern faculty member and Sojourn Theatre founding artistic director Michael Rohd, “How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes (With 199 People You May or May Not Know).”

“We have conceived a season of plays and events that will entertain and allow us to explore and make visible the issue of poverty in America, with an emphasis in Chicago and Evanston,” said Northwestern theatre department chair Joseph Appelt. “Nearly 50 million Americans now live in poverty. Money is not the problem. Priority is the problem. Who is going to speak for the poor?”

In addition to its mainstage programming, TIC will continue its partnership with the National Theatre in London to bring the “best of British theatre” to Chicago. For a second season, National Theatre Live will offer TIC audiences the opportunity to share in some of the world’s greatest theatre performances. Four broadcasts have been announced so far, to include “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” based on the international best-selling novel by Mark Haddon; two broadcasts of “Frankenstein,” directed by Danny Boyle and featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in alternating roles; Stephen Beresford’s new play “The Last of the Haussmans”; and “Timon of Athens,” featuring Simon Russell Beale. Additional broadcasts will be announced later this season.

In the coming season, TIC also will continue its Imagine U Family Series, which will be expanded to include three full productions respectively directed by award-winning Northwestern faculty members Henry Godinez, David Catlin and Dan Cantor: “Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells,” “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley” and “Sideways Stories from Wayside School.” All Imagine U productions will now offer a discounted ticket price for children.

Productions in the 2012-13 season will be held in venues on the University’s Evanston campus: 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 2012-13 single ticket prices are listed below; single tickets will go on sale Sept. 6. Where applicable, ticket discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

Subscribers to the 2012-13 season may again select from two different packages. The 7-Play Subscription for $28 to $148 represents a 20 percent savings off single-ticket prices. The 5-Play Flex-Pass for $20 to $118 represents a 10 percent savings off single-ticket prices. Both 7-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.

CONSTRUCTION ALERT: A three-year construction project under way on the southeast end of the Northwestern University campus has closed the Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project will impact handicap parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters. Visit www.tic.northwestern.edu/construction to learn more.

MAINSTAGE PRODUCTIONS

“The Verona Project,” written and directed by Amanda Dehnert, Oct. 9-Nov. 4, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Award-winning writer/director Amanda Dehnert’s new musical “The Verona Project” is an electric hybrid of theatre and live concert infused with original indie-folk-rock music. A modern fable inspired by Shakespeare’s first comedy, “The Two Gentlemen of Verona,” the show takes an honest look at surviving love, loss and the road to adulthood. Seen through the eyes of a group of young musicians, “The Verona Project” explores the journeys we all take and the people we eventually become. Presented by the American Music Theatre Project in association with the Theatre and Interpretation Center at Northwestern University, “The Verona Project” is made possible, in part, by the generous support of the Alumnae of Northwestern, Broadway in Chicago, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's National Fund For New Musicals. Single tickets are $5 to $30; discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

“You Can’t Take It With You,” by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, directed by William Brown, Nov. 9-18, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. A quirky, colorful play written by comedy masters Kaufman and Hart, “You Can’t Take It With You” follows the happily dysfunctional and perfectly mad Sycamore family. When Tony Kirby, Alice Sycamore’s handsome fiancé, and his straight-laced, overly conservative parents come to the Sycamore household for dinner on the wrong night, the house immediately explodes with chaotic hilarity. Directed by Jeff Award-winner William Brown, this endearingly eccentric play reminds us that happiness cannot be bought. This production is supported in part by a grant from the Alumnae of Northwestern. Single tickets are $5 to $25; discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

“Nickel and Dimed,” by Joan Holden, based on “Nickel and Dimed, On (Not) Getting by in America” by Barbara Ehrenreich, directed by Jess McLeod, Feb. 1-10, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Based on the best-selling book by noted author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich, “Nickel and Dimed” is a piercing examination of the effects of bottom-line and welfare reform on working-class America. It follows the character of Ehrenreich as she travels across America to document the struggles of low-wage workers and takes on jobs as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aid and store clerk. Her accounts of the realities of minimum wage survival earned her praise from The New York Times as “our premier reporter of the underside of capitalism.” Single tickets are $5 to $25; discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

“The Pajama Game,” music and lyrics by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, book by George Abbott and Richard Bissell, directed by Peter Sullivan, Feb. 15-March 3, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Based on the novel “7 1/2 Cents” by Richard Bissell with a score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and directed by Marriott Theatre artistic associate Peter Sullivan, “The Pajama Game” centers around the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory where the worker's demands for a seven-and-a-half-cent raise is being ignored. In the midst of a potential strike, Babe, the leader of the Union Grievance Committee, and Sid, the handsome new factory superintendent, fall in love. Can Babe and Sid set aside their differences in order to make their relationship work, or will being on opposite sides of the fence lead to the demise of their romance? Single tickets are $5 to $30; discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

“Occupy Dance 2013,” artistic director Annie Beserra, March 1-10, at the Josephine Louis Theater. “Occupy Dance 2013” reveals the power of a community coming together to overcome obstacles and celebrate common goals. Through dance and text, choreographers take on the complex issue of poverty. Who is impoverished and what does that mean? How does poverty affect individuals and how does it affect the community at large? What fantasies and myths have our fears of poverty produced? Under the artistic direction of award-winning Northwestern dance faculty Annie Beserra, “Occupy Dance 2013” explores these timely topics through various dance forms including dance theatre, contact improvisation, Jump Rhythm Jazz and hip-hop. Single tickets are $5 to $25; discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

“The Exonerated,” by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, directed by Cat Miller, co-produced with Next Theatre Company and presented in partnership with the Center on Wrongful Convictions, April 19-May 5, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Based on real interviews conducted by playwrights Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, “The Exonerated” follows six former death row prisoners whose convictions were reversed. From their trials to their incarcerations to their eventual releases, this award-winning play uses the words of these innocent men and women as they share the stories of everything and everyone they lost when they were wrongly convicted, as well as the lives they are working to rebuild. The inaugural collaboration between TIC and Next Theatre Company, “The Exonerated” will be staged at TIC in partnership with the Center on Wrongful Convictions and will feature a cast of professional and student artists working together on this exploration of the criminal justice system. This program is partially sponsored by a grant from the Evanston Community Foundation. This production is sponsored in part by a grant from the Alumnae of Northwestern. Single tickets are $5 to $25; discounts are available for groups of eight or more. All proceeds from single-ticket sales for the April 19 performance will benefit the Center on Wrongful Convictions.

“How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes (With 199 People You May or May Not Know), conceived and directed by Michael Rohd, May 15-23, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. This is not a play; it is not a lecture; it is not an interactive workshop; it is not a physical theatre piece; it is not a public conversation. “How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes” is all of these things. Most significantly, it’s an opportunity to challenge a different audience at every show with the question: how do you attack the problem of poverty in America? Over the course of 90 minutes, the audience will listen, explore and ultimately choose how to spend $1,000 from ticket sales that will be sitting onstage in cash. It is an experiment in dialogue, in collective decision-making, in shared responsibility and in the potential for art to help us make our world a better place. Spectacularly eclectic in form, often delightful and occasionally uncomfortable, “How to End Poverty” will engage student and Chicago-area audiences alongside community experts. Come spend with us. This production is sponsored in part by a grant from the Alumnae of Northwestern, partially supported by a grant from the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts Committee at Northwestern and supported by an Innovations grant from Northwestern’s School of Communication. Single tickets are $5 to $25; discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” based on the international best-selling novel by Mark Haddon, adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliot, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Christopher, 15 years old, stands beside Mrs. Shears’ dead dog, Wellington. It has been speared with a garden fork, it is seven minutes after midnight, and Christopher is under suspicion. He records each fact in his book to solve the mystery. He has an extraordinary brain and is exceptional at maths, but is ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched, and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world. Single tickets are $10 to $20.

“Frankenstein,” a new play by Nick Dear based on the novel by Mary Shelley, directed by Danny Boyle, 7 and 10:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Oscar-winner Danny Boyle (“127 Hours,” “Slumdog Millionaire”) returned to the theatre to direct this visionary production, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in alternating roles of the Creature and Victor Frankenstein. Playing to nearly sold-out houses as part of TIC's 2012 SummerStage season, it returns this fall for two more broadcasts. Miller will play the role of the Creature in the 7 p.m. broadcast, and Cumberbatch will play the role of the Creature in the 10:30 p.m. broadcast. Single tickets are $10 to $20.

“The Last of the Haussmans,” a new play by Stephen Beresford, directed by Howard Davies, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Anarchic, feisty but growing old, high society drop-out Judy Haussman remains in spirit with the Ashrams of the 1960s while holding court in her dilapidated Art Deco house on the Devon coast. After an operation, she’s joined by her wayward offspring, a sharp-eyed granddaughter, the local doctor and a troubled teenager who makes use of the family’s crumbling swimming pool. Featuring Julie Walters (“Mamma Mia!,” “Harry Potter”), Rory Kinnear (“Hamlet”) and Helen McCrory (“The Queen,” “Hugo”), Beresford’s eagerly anticipated new play is a funny, touching and sometimes savage portrait of a family that’s losing its grip. Single tickets are $10 to $20.

“Timon of Athens,” by William Shakespeare and directed by Nicholas Hytner, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Simon Russell Beale (“London Assurance,” “Collaborators”) takes the title role in Shakespeare’s strange fable of consumption, debt and ruin, written in collaboration with Thomas Middleton. Wealthy friend to the rich and powerful, patron of the arts, ostentatious host, “Timon of Athens” is surrounded by free-loaders and sycophants. Vastly outspending his resources, he calls upon his associates for help, who in turn hang him out to dry. After a final, vengeful banquet, Timon withdraws to a literal and emotional wasteland, pouring curses on a morally bankrupt Athens.

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. Additional NT Live broadcast dates will be announced later this season. Subscribers to the NT Live season may select from two different packages: the 3-Broadcast Series for $48 or the 4-Broadcast Series for $64. Both packages reflect a 20 percent savings off single-ticket prices.

IMAGINE U FAMILY SERIES

“Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells,” by Allison Gregory, based on the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park and directed by Henry Godinez, Nov. 9-18, at the Mussetter-Struble Theater. Junie B. loves Christmas. A lot. She loves the presents, elf costumes, presents, Santa and, of course, presents. Only one thing could ruin her holiday joy: blabbermouth May and her tattling ways. When Junie B. pulls out May’s name for the Secret Santa exchange, can she salvage her holiday spirit, or will she let May know exactly what she thinks of her? Single tickets are $8 to $10; discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

“The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley”; book by Timothy Allen McDonald; lyrics by Timothy Allen McDonald and Jonathan K. Waller; music by David Weinstein, Jonathan K. Waller, Timothy Allen McDonald and Stephen Gabriel; based on the book “Flat Stanley” by Jeff Brown; and directed by David Catlin; Feb. 8-17, at the Mussetter-Struble Theater. Stanley has always dreamed of doing great things, but he resigns himself to playing with his little brother…until the morning he wakes up completely flat. Stanley can now fold up into an envelope, hide in paintings, become a surfboard and travel wherever he wants. He is finally having the adventures of his dreams, but something is still missing. “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley” looks at what happens when our big dreams come true and we don’t have anyone to share them with. Single tickets are $8 to $10; discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

“Sideways Stories From Wayside School,” a play adapted from Louis Sachar’s Wayside School Novels, adapted by John Olive and directed by Dan Cantor, May 3-12, at the Mussetter-Struble Theater. Welcome to Wayside School, where nothing is normal. Not only did the builder accidentally put each classroom on top of the other, but the students of the 30th floor have a problem: their teacher, Mrs. Gorf, can turn children into apples. Take a zany journey through the stairways of Wayside School as the students of the 30th floor try their best to navigate the temptation of pigtails, the non-existent 19th floor, a wayward cow and zillions of other challenges -- including accepting one another for who they are. Single tickets are $8 to $10; discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

Imagine U productions are recommended for children ages 5 to 10 and their families. Subscriptions to the Imagine U 3-Play Series are $24 for adults and $18 for children, reflecting a 20 percent savings off single-ticket prices.

WAA-MU 2013

“Waa-Mu 2013,” directed by David H. Bell, May 3-12, at Cahn Auditorium. Explore “Waa-Mu 2013” through the exceptional student-written and student-orchestrated music and stunning performances that have earned Waa-Mu recognition as “the greatest college show in America.” Single tickets are $10 to $30 and will go on sale in December through the TIC Box Office. Season subscribers may purchase tickets now.
Topics: Campus Life