Northwestern’s Winter Performance Season – New Ways to Delight Audiences

The Glass Menagerie” MFA designs

Tickets for virtual Wirtz Center and American Music Theatre Project shows now available

The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts and the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University announce the virtual performance lineup for Dec. 9, 2020, to April 11, 2021. Online productions include a cyberpunk drama that raises questions about identity in the digital age; a video album filmed in Chicago featuring songs by Salzman and Cunningham; Imagine U’s adaptation of the story “Tomás and the Library Lady” and three offerings from the “Visions and Voices” Black playwright reading series.

Tickets are on sale now on the Wirtz Center website.

“We have learned much from the fall about how to adapt to our current circumstances and produce work safely and virtually,” said Al Heartley, managing director of the Wirtz Center. “Our broad winter lineup continues to expand on opportunities for our students and explore new ways to delight audiences with quality productions.”

The winter lineup is as follows:

Streaming Dec. 9, 10 and 12 is the Alpha Phase run of “[re: CLICK],” acyberpunk drama for the #MeToo era. The streaming event is the first test run of a co-production between the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern and the University of California, Davis department of theatre and dance. The show will be performed by undergraduate students from both schools through a special website created by Northwestern alumna Jackie Fox (MFA ’20). Viewers can choose from various portals on the show’s homepage, which alter the storytelling perspective for each patron. 

“[Re: CLICK]” follows a hacktivist named Fresh, who turns industrial espionage into high artBased on the play “Click” by Jacqueline Goldfinger – this story of trauma, transformation and reclaiming who you are – is adapted, directed and co-produced by Roger Ellis, assistant professor of theatre at Northwestern and Margaret Laurena Kemp, associate professor of theatre and dance at UC Davis, and features original music by UC Davis alumni Richard Chowenhill and Ramteen Sazegari. The creative team will continue to develop and expand the world of “[re: CLICK]” with a yet-to-be announced Beta Phase production in 2021. 

Note: “[re: CLICK]” contains strong language and emotionally charged material around the topics of sexual assault, sexual violence and suicidal ideation. 

Admission is free and open to the public. RSVP online for the event link.

The Wirtz Center presents an audio drama of Tennessee Williams’ 1937 memory play “The Glass Menagerie,” told through the lens of a Chinese American family. MFA directing student Alvin Chan directs the production which runs Jan. 8 to 10, 2021, and features images of the constructed set and costumes designed by MFA students.  

The Glass Menagerie” MFA designs

The Northwestern Musical Theatre Certificate Program class of 2021 takes the virtual stage April 9 to 11, 2021, with “Home Calls: The Songs of Salzman and Cunningham.” Filmed on locations throughout Chicago, this video revue showcases songs from the award-winning songwriting team, Salzman and Cunningham (“Next Thing You Know,” “Michael Collins”). Directed by David H. Bell with music direction by Ryan T. Nelson, the program embodies the touching, fun and heartbreaking moments that make up life.

Visions and Voices, a Black Playwrights Reading Series” returns with three offerings. 

  • In Steve Harper’s “A Few Short Plays to Save the World” and “What You Did,” Jan. 22 to 24, 2021, MFA directing student Tor Campbell directs two short plays that tackle urgent issues of racial equity facing our country today, seen through the stories of puzzled theatre artists trying to effect real change. 
  • An encore of “Wine in the Wilderness” returns Feb. 5 to 7, 2021. MFA directing student Jasmin B. Gunter directs Alice Childress’s acclaimed, but rarely performed work, examining the intersection of race, gender and class. 
“Wine in the Wilderness” playreading

Suzan Lori-Parks’ “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead,” will be presented Feb. 12 to 14, 2021. MFA directing candidate Manna-Symone Middlebrooks directs the final play in the series, which explores the archetypes of Black America with piercing insight

The final winter offering, Imagine U’s “Tomás and the Library Lady,” will premiere March 12, 2021, and will be available on-demand for three consecutive weekends. Directed by MFA directing candidate Ismael Lara, Jr. and adapted for the stage by José Cruz Gonzáles, the play tells the true story of how author, poet and educator Tomás Rivera, the son of Mexican migrant workers, fell in love with reading and writing at age nine when his family moved from Texas to Iowa.

Pricing and subscriptions

All programs in the winter season can be streamed on-demand for a limited time. Tickets are $10 per program, with the exceptions of “Tomás and the Library Lady” priced at $20 for one adult and one child, and “[re: CLICK],” which has free admission. A special $25 package is available for the three “Visions and Voices” readings.  

“Wine in the Wilderness” playreading

Admission is free to current full-time Northwestern students who complete the online reservation form. A valid Northwestern University e-mail address is required.

For tickets and more information, visit the Wirtz Center website.

“Wine in the Wilderness” playreading

Box office staff can be reached at wirtz@northwestern.edu or by phone at 847-491-7282. Box office hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Dec. 16. Beginning in January, hours will expand to 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Wirtz Center Box Office is currently closed for in-person service. 

The Wirtz Center is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theatre, dance and visual arts. 

Photos are courtesy of The Wirtz Center

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