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Northwestern Theatre Season Announced

“Pride and Prejudice” and “Moby Dick” included in mainstage productions

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August 20, 2013 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Audiences are invited into a conversation with the art and artists as the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University examines the different forms and faces of prejudice in its 33rd season.

Featuring award-winning directors and playwrights, acclaimed Northwestern alumnae, a collaboration with Actors Gymnasium, Tony Award-winning musicals, National Theatre Live broadcasts, the Imagine U Family Series and The Waa-Mu Show, the 2013/14 season will begin in October with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” a hilarious and touching Tony Award-winning musical of six young overachievers, directed by Northwestern alumnus Adam Goldstein. In November, award-winning Northwestern faculty member Jessica Thebus directs “Pride and Prejudice,” Jane Austen’s classic novel of attraction, vanity, manners and marriage, adapted by former Milwaukee Repertory Theater Artistic Director Joseph Hanreddy and acclaimed Chicago director J.R. Sullivan.

Two tales of star-crossed love fill TIC’s stages in the winter months, as Hanreddy makes his TIC directing debut with Northwestern alumna Lillian Groag’s “Aimee and Jaguar,” a tale of romance in war-torn Berlin between a mother of four and a Jewish girl living on fake IDs. Opening on Valentine’s Day, Timeline Theatre Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling directs a decadent and dangerous tale of a young American writer seeking inspiration for his next great novel in the seedy cabaret clubs of 1931 Berlin in the Tony Award-winning musical “Cabaret.” To close out the winter, founding director of Northwestern’s dance program, Susan A. Lee, will artistic direct “Danceworks 2014: Hot Buttons,” a rich tapestry of contemporary and modern dance forms riffing on themes inspired by the season’s production of “Pride and Prejudice.”

In collaboration with Actors Gymnasium, TIC welcomes back to the mainstage Lookingglass Theatre Company ensemble member and Northwestern faculty member David Catlin as he directs his tumbling and soaring adaptation of the classic Herman Melville tale of adventure and obsession, “Moby Dick.” Spring will mark the 83rd annual production of The Waa-Mu Show, directed by acclaimed Chicago director and Northwestern faculty member Geoff Button. To close out the season, Court Theatre Resident Artist Ron Oj Parson directs Alice Childress’ “Trouble in Mind,” a “scathingly funny, wise and extraordinary” (The Washington Post) satirical look at prejudice and ambition on Broadway in 1957.

Now in its third year at TIC, the National Theatre Live (NT Live) broadcast series continues to offer Evanston-area audiences the opportunity to experience the best of British theatre. Broadcasts in the 2013/14 season will include “The Audience,” starring Helen Mirren; “Othello,” starring Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear; a reprise of “Frankenstein,” featuring Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of the creature; “Macbeth,” starring Kenneth Branagh; a reprise of “The Habit of Art” starring Richard Griffiths, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour; a reprise of “Hamlet” starring Rory Kinnear; and “Coriolanus,” starring Tom Hiddleston and Mark Gatiss. Additional broadcasts, including “Warhorse,” will be announced later in the season. Single tickets to all NT Live broadcasts are on sale now through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282.

The 2013/14 season also marks the third year for TIC’s Imagine U Family Series, which will include a musical adaption of “The Hundred Dresses” directed by Northwestern faculty member Rives Collins and an adaptation of “Charlotte’s Web,” “the best children’s book of the past 200 years” according to The Children’s Literature Association, directed by Northwestern faculty member Mary Poole. As a new benefit to families, TIC has added the Imagine U Family Pass, which may be purchased for only $30 and provides families with four tickets to use in any combination for any Imagine U Family Series programming.

Productions in the 2013/14 season will be held, as noted, 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; or Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive.

The 2013/14 single-ticket prices are listed below; single tickets for all seven mainstage productions and the Imagine U Family Series productions will go on sale Sept. 20. Where applicable, ticket discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

Subscribers to the 2013/14 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 4-Play Snow Bird Subscription for $79 to $89 represents a 15 percent savings off single-ticket prices. Both the 7-Play and 4-Play subscription packages and tickets for groups of eight or more 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 Evanston campus has closed the Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evenings and weekend events remains available, but the project will impact handicapped parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters. Visit TIC to learn more.

MAINSTAGE PRODUCTIONS

“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” music and lyrics by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin, conceived by Rebecca Feldman, additional material by Jay Reiss, directed by Adam Goldstein, Oct. 25-Nov. 10, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Do you have what it takes to win … or, even tougher, to fit in? Directed by Northwestern University alumnus Adam Goldstein, this hilarious and touching Tony Award-winning musical takes audiences right into the pressure cooker of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Under the bee's bright lights, six young overachievers must use their dictionary-thick knowledge of obscure words and the unexpected guidance of lovable bee officials to battle the oppression of role models, adults, other competitors and even their own selves to learn that winning isn’t everything and that champions come in all shapes and sizes. Single tickets are $10 to $30, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Pride and Prejudice,” adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan, directed by Jessica Thebus, Nov. 15-24, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Lively and bright Elizabeth Bennet encounters interfering parents, squabbling sisters, snobbish aristocrats and her own mistaken prejudices on her way to the alarming realization that she is in love with a man whom she professes to despise and who finds her barely tolerable. Or does he? Directed by Jeff-nominated Northwestern University faculty member Jessica Thebus and adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan, Jane Austen’s classic novel of attraction, vanity, manners and marriage sparkles with dancing, romance, wit and the “inconsistency of all human characters.” “Pride and Prejudice” is sponsored by a generous grant from The Alumnae of Northwestern University. Single tickets are $10 to $25, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Aimee and Jaguar,” by Lillian Groag, based on “Aimee and Jaguar” written by Erica Fisher, directed by Joseph Hanreddy, Jan. 31-Feb 9, at the Josephine Louis Theater. As war-torn Berlin crumbles underneath constant Allied bombing, a romance kindles between Lilly Wust, a mother of four with a husband away fighting for the Nazi cause, and Felice Schragenheim, a Jewish girl living on fake IDs and uncertain of her next meal. Written by Northwestern alumna Lillian Groag and directed by Joseph Hanreddy, “Aimee and Jaguar” investigates the complex and often contradictory nature of love in the emotionally charged final days of the Third Reich. “Aimee and Jaguar” is sponsored by a generous grant from The Alumnae of Northwestern University. Single tickets are $10 to $25, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Cabaret,” book by Joe Masteroff, based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, directed by Nick Bowling, Feb. 14-Mar. 2, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. The political unrest of 1931 Berlin is where young American writer Cliff Bradshaw seeks inspiration for his next great novel. Instead, he finds himself enmeshed in the decadent and dangerous Kit Kat Klub, a stained world filled with velvet sofas, tattered lamps and the beguiling cabaret singer Sally Bowles. Desire and dreams may only drift undisturbed for so long in this darkly political Tony Award-winning musical directed by Jeff Award-winning TimeLine Theatre Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, as Cliff must ultimately decide if his life is to be nothing more than a cabaret. Single tickets are $10 to $30, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Danceworks 2014: Hot Buttons,” artistic director Susan A. Lee, Feb. 28-Mar. 9, Josephine Louis Theater. Through the rich tapestry of contemporary and modern dance forms, Danceworks 2014 tackles our “hot buttons,” including manners, mannerisms, body types and attitudes about gender and sexuality. Under the artistic direction of Susan A. Lee, with choreography by Emma Draves, Sarah Edgar, Jeff Hancock, Lizzie Leopold, Amanda Lower, Joel Valentin-Martinez and Laura Wade, “Danceworks” considers movement and meaning with multiple riffs on themes inspired by this season’s production of “Pride and Prejudice.” Single tickets are $10 to $25, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Moby Dick,” adapted and directed by David Catlin, presented in collaboration with Actors Gymnasium, based on the novel by Herman Melville, Apr. 25-May 4, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Go tumbling, soaring and bounding across briny billows in this collaboration with Actors Gymnasium and their high-flying brand of aerial and physical storytelling. Aboard the Pequod, Captain Ahab sails the watery world, seeking revenge on a lone white whale who devoured his leg in a fateful encounter in the South Pacific. Adapted and directed by acclaimed Lookingglass ensemble member and Northwestern faculty member David Catlin (“The Little Prince”) from Herman Melville’s classic novel of adventure, obsession and fate, “Moby Dick” questions what it is that drives us to pursue the impossible and how that ambition ultimately consumes us. Single tickets are $10 to $25, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Trouble in Mind,” by Alice Childress, directed by Ron Oj Parson, May 16-25, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. It is 1957 and talented but struggling actress Wiletta Mayer has just been given her breakthrough role in Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching play practically ripped from the headlines and set to open on Broadway. But is fame worth more than perpetuating a stereotype? Directed by Court Theatre Resident Artist Ron Oj Parson, prejudice and ambition are uneasy bedfellows in this “scathingly funny, wise and extraordinary” (The Washington Post) satire by Alice Childress. Single tickets are $10 to $25, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE 

“The Audience,” by Peter Morgan, directed by Stephen Daldry, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sep. 10, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Helen Mirren reprises her Academy Award-winning role as Queen Elizabeth II in the West End production of “The Audience,” broadcast from London’s Gielgud Theatre. For 60 years, Elizabeth II has met each of her 12 Prime Ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace -- a private meeting like no other in British public life. “The Audience” imagines a series of pivotal meetings between the Downing Street incumbents and their Queen – sometimes intimate, sometimes explosive. Single tickets are $10 to $20; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Othello,” by William Shakespeare, directed by Nicholas Hytner, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 5, at the Josephine Louis Theater. The National Theatre presents a major new production of William Shakespeare’s celebrated play about the destructive power of jealousy. Olivier Award-winning actor Adrian Lester (“Henry V” at the National Theatre, BBC’s Hustle) takes the title role. Playing opposite him as the duplicitous Iago is fellow Olivier Award-winner Rory Kinnear (“The Last of the Haussmans,” “James Bond: Skyfall”). Single tickets are $10 to $20; discounts available for groups of eight or more. 

“Frankenstein” (reprise), by Nick Dear, directed by Danny Boyle, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 12, at the Josephine Louis Theater. National Theatre Live’s 2011 broadcast of Frankenstein returns to cinemas as part of the National Theatre's 50th anniversary celebrations. Oscar-winner Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting,” “Slumdog Millionaire”) directs a sensational production with Benedict Cumberbatch (“Star Trek: Into Darkness,” BBC’s “Sherlock”) and Jonny Lee Miller (“Trainspotting,” CBS’s “Elementary”) alternating roles as Victor Frankenstein and his creation. This broadcast will feature Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller in the role of Victor Frankenstein. Single tickets are $10 to $20; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Macbeth,” by William Shakespeare, directed by Rob Ashford, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Josephine Louis Theater. NT Live broadcasts Manchester International Festival’s electrifying production of “Macbeth,” with Kenneth Branagh (“My Week With Marilyn,” “Hamlet”) as Macbeth, and Alex Kingston (“Doctor Who,” “ER”) as Lady Macbeth. Directed by Olivier and Tony Award-winner Rob Ashford (“Anna Christie” at the Donmar Warehouse, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” on Broadway) and BAFTA Award-winner Kenneth Branagh, this unique production of Shakespeare’s tragic tale unfolds within the walls of an intimate deconsecrated Manchester church. Single tickets are $10 to $20; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“The Habit of Art” (reprise), by Alan Bennett, directed by Nicholas Hytner, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Benjamin Britten, sailing uncomfortably close to the wind with his new opera seeks advice from his former collaborator and friend, W H Auden. During this imagined meeting, their first for 25 years, they are observed and interrupted by, amongst others, their future biographer and a young man from the local bus station. Featuring Richard Griffiths, Alex Jennings and Frances de la Tour. Single tickets are $10 to $20; discounts available for groups of eight or more. 

“Hamlet” (reprise), by William Shakespeare, directed by Nicholas Hytner, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Following his celebrated performances at the National Theatre in “Burnt by the Sun,” “The Revenger's Tragedy,” “Philistines” and “The Man of Mode,” Rory Kinnear plays Hamlet in a dynamic new production of Shakespeare’s complex and profound play about the human condition, directed by Nicholas Hytner. He is joined by Clare Higgins (Gertrude), Patrick Malahide (Claudius), David Calder (Polonius), James Laurenson (Ghost/Player King) and Ruth Negga (Ophelia). Single tickets are $10 to $20; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Coriolanus,” by William Shakespeare, directed by Josie Rourke, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Mar. 4, at the Josephine Louis Theater. NT Live broadcasts the Donmar Warehouse’s production of “Coriolanus,” Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge, with Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers,” “War Horse” (film), BBC's “The Hollow Crown”) in the title role and Mark Gatiss (“Season's Greetings” at the National Theatre, BBC's “Sherlock”) as Menenius. When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city calls once more on her hero and defender: Coriolanus. But he has enemies at home, too, and Coriolanus must confront the march of realpolitik and the voice of an angry people. Single tickets are $10 to $20; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

National Theatre Live is supported using public funding by Arts Council England. NT Live is proudly sponsored by AVIVA. The Theatre and Interpretation Center’s National Theatre Live broadcasts are sponsored by a generous grant from The Alumnae of Northwestern University. Single tickets to all broadcasts are on sale now through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282. Additional broadcasts will be announced later this season.

IMAGINE U FAMILY SERIES

“The Hundred Dresses,” by Ralph Covert and G. Riley Mills, based on the book by Eleanor Estes, directed by Rives Collins, Nov. 1-10, at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater. Wanda Petronski claims to have 100 beautiful dresses at home -- despite wearing the same faded blue dress to school every day. Maddie Reeves joins the rest of the kids at Franklin Elementary School, teasing Wanda for speaking strangely, having a funny last name and living in the wrong part of town. But when the teasing gets out of hand, Maddie has a tough decision to make. Based on the Newbery Honor Book by Eleanor Estes and directed by acclaimed Northwestern faculty member Rives Collins (“The Secret Garden,” “How Can You Run With A Shell On Your Back?”), this musical adaptation asks: would you have the courage to stand up for someone, even if it means standing alone? Single tickets are $8 to $10, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

“Charlotte’s Web,” adapted by Joseph Robinette, from the book by E.B. White, directed by Mary Poole, May 2-11, at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater. Chin up! After a restless first night in the Zuckerman family barn, a wide-eyed young pig named Wilbur meets a witty and resourceful spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur learns through his fellow barnyard creatures of some unsettling plans for his future, Charlotte takes it upon her spinnerets and her trusty web to save him. Directed by award-winning Northwestern faculty member Mary Poole, this magical tale of what it means to be a good writer and a good friend features the much-loved characters created by E.B. White. Single tickets are $8 to $10, with $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase; discounts available for groups of eight or more.

Geared toward children and their families, Imagine U performances may include an opportunity for children to talk afterwards with the cast or receive take-home programs filled with activities, art projects, fun facts and games. New this year, families may purchase the Imagine U Family Pass for only $30 and receive four tickets to use in any combination they choose for any Imagine U production. The Imagine U Family Pass and tickets for groups of eight or more are on sale now through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282. Single tickets to both shows will go on sale on Sept. 20. 

THE WAA-MU SHOW

The 2014 Waa-Mu Show, directed by Geoff Button, May 2-11, at Cahn Auditorium. Explore this year’s show 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 later this fall through the TIC Box Office. Subscribers may purchase tickets now with their season ticket order.