Wirtz Center’s 2024-25 season explores individual responsibility (2024)

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  • Release Date: July 9, 2024

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EVANSTON, Ill. --- The 2024-25 season at the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus offers a series of plays that grapple with questions of individual responsibility.

“Two critical questions inform the season,” said Tanya Palmer, Wirtz Center executive artistic director. “In the face of significant personal risk, what duty does each of us have to stand up for what we believe in? And what role can art and the artist play in making societal change?” Palmer is also assistant dean for Northwestern’s School of Communication.

Imagine U, Northwestern’s theater for young audiences, presents “The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra, Go!” from Thursday, Oct. 24 to Sunday, Nov. 3. The story follows a brother and sister with not-so-great superpowers who are suddenly responsible for the fate of the world.

Kicking off the 2025 season, the Wirtz Center will present the Chicago premiere of composer and lyricist Gabriel Kahane’s “February House” from Friday, Feb. 2 to Sunday, March 2. Based on the biography “February House,” by Sherill Tippins, the musical chronicles an unlikely group of artists in Brooklyn struggling to create a utopian community as World War II looms.

Henry Godinez, chair of the department of theatre, will direct a re-imagined production of “Man of La Mancha,” from Friday, April 25 to Sunday, May 4. This play-within-a-play, set in a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility on the U.S.-Mexico border, portrays a group of detained migrants from around the world performing the story of Don Quixote, a fictional character on a quest to right all the wrongs of the world.

Details about the 94th annual Waa-Mu show will be announced in the fall.

Flexpasses and individual tickets are available for purchase today. The $125 Flexpass can be redeemed for six tickets to any production in any combination during the 2024-25 season.

Tickets can be purchased from the Wirtz Center website by calling 847-491-7282 or by visiting the Wirtz Center box office located in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus. Visit the Wirtz Center website for box office hours.

Wirtz Center 2024-25 season:

Fall 2024

Imagine U: “The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra, Go!”
Oct. 24 to Nov. 3
Ethel M. Barber Theater
30 Arts Circle Drive

Violet and Bruce Wong just don’t fit in with the other Earth kids. Sure, they have superpowers, they’re just not very good ones. But when an evil beast called the Space Chupacabra appears, intent on universal destruction, the Wong kids must travel to far reaches of outer space to stop it … if they can only stop bickering. Violet and Bruce ultimately realize that being different isn’t just okay, it might just be the most important thing ever. Written by Lloyd Suh and directed by Jamal Howard, the action-driven storytelling, puppetry and visual magic of “The Wong Kids” will transport its audience into the galaxy’s far reaches.

Nov. 15 to 24
Josephine Louis Theater
20 Arts Circle Drive

Sophocles’“Antigone,” translated by poet and MacArthur Fellow Anne Carson, remains unequaled in its ability to combine all the fundamental contradictions of the human condition into a single, universally relevant drama. Following the bloody power struggle between her brothers, Antigone attempts to secure a respectable burial for her brother Polynices, in defiance of the edict of her uncle, King Creon. Antigone is accused of treachery and must answer to Creon himself. Her fraternal love is unwavering, as is her rejection of her uncle’s political views. She stands firm, and her obstinacy threatens to bring the entire state to its knees. The production is directed by MFA directing candidate Tae-Heum Yeon.

Winter 2025

Feb. 7 to 16, 2025
Josephine Louis Theater
20 Arts Circle Drive

A cutting and comic play,“Museum”is both an enchanting mosaic of incidents and an incisive account of how we use visual images to make our own meaning. On the final day of an art exhibit entitled “The Broken Silence,” the flamboyant artists, collectors, browsers and curators — and the security guards who watch over it all — create their own zany pieces of art in this visual, verbal and musical feast. Written by the legendary American absurdist Tina Howe, “Museum” is directed by Kathryn Walsh.

“February House”
Feb. 21 to March 2, 2025
Ethel M. Barber Theater
30 Arts Circle Drive

“February House” is an inventive new musical by acclaimed composer and songwriter Gabriel Kahane, who The New Yorker called “one of the finest songwriters of the day.” During the early days of World War II, flamboyant fiction editor George Davis brings together poet W. H. Auden, novelist Carson McCullers, composer Benjamin Britten and burlesque darling Gypsy Rose Lee in a communal utopian experiment. “February House” looks athow the residentsof 7 Middagh Street transformed a dilapidated Brooklyn boardinghouse into a tumultuous and remarkable makeshift family searching for love, inspiration and refuge from the looming war in Europe.

The story by Seth Bockley is based on the biography “February House” by Sherill Tippins. MFA directing candidate Seth Roseman directs the Chicago premiere.

MFA Writing for the Stage and Screen Alumni Production: “Lobster”
March 7 to 9, 2025
Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater
1949 Campus Drive

Nora loves Patti Smith. Nora is Patti Smith. Nora is stoned out of her mind in the Chelsea Hotel, but the Chelsea Hotel is her mind, no, the Chelsea Hotel is an out-of-use portable classroom in the Pacific Northwest, and that portable classroom is a breeding ground for lobsters young women. A coming-of-age story about art, theater, friendship, grief and desire from recent Northwestern MFA alum Kallan Dana, “Lobster” captures the distance between who we are in high school and who we want to be — and the courage and desperation it takes to bridge that gap. “Lobster” is directed by Dado.

“Danceworks 2025: signal::transfer”
March 14 to 16, 2025
Location TBD

Northwestern’s annual dance showcase features new works by acclaimed and nationally recognized guest choreographers and faculty. Thomas F. DeFrantz is the artistic director.

Spring 2025

“Man of La Mancha”
April 25 to May 4, 2025
Location TBD

“Man of La Mancha”is one of the world’s most popular musicals; the original 1965 production won five Tony Awards, including “Best Musical.” Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th-century masterwork,“Don Quixote,Man of La Mancha”was originally set during the Spanish Inquisition when Cervantes is in prison awaiting trial. In this re-imagined version directed by theatre department chair and Goodman Theatre Artistic Associate Henry Godinez, the Cervantes character is imprisoned in an ICE facility on the U.S.-Mexico border, along with a growing group of migrants from across the world, all looking for safety and opportunity. He and his fellow prisoners perform a play-within-a-play, telling the story of the elderly Alonso Quijana, who renames himself Don Quixote and goes on a quest to right all wrongs in the world. The rousing score includes the classic numbers “The Impossible Dream,” “I, Don Quixote,” “Dulcinea,” “I Really Like Him” and “Little Bird.”

“Man of La Mancha” was written by Dale Wasserman, with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion. Its world premiere was directed by Albert Marre.

Imagine U: “A Tale of Peter Rabbit”
April 25 to May 11, 2025
Mussetter-Struble Theater
1949 Campus Drive

Award-winning writer Trista Baldwin gives Beatrix Potter’s timeless tale of Peter Rabbit a modern twist. What does it mean to be a good bunny? If everyone thinks you’re a bad bunny, can you ever be good?In this moving and adventurous re-imagining of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale, Peter Rabbit and his three sisters come together to tell a story of their very own. Tor Campbell directs the Imagine U production.

“As It Is in Heaven”
May 23 to June 1, 2025
Josephine Louis Theater
20 Arts Circle Drive

Based on true events in the history of the Shakers, the play explores the generational shifts that occur when a younger cohort comes in and begins to disrupt or change how things have been done. “Tis a gift to be simple,” sing the Shakers of Pleasant Hill. But as the young women in the community claim new spiritual gifts, Sister Hannah and the other elders must judge whether these gifts are real or rebellious. Set during America’s surge of Utopian communities, the play wrestles with belief and doubt in a swiftly changing world. “As It Is in Heaven” by Arlene Hutton features music by Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. The production is directed by MFA directing candidate Francesca Patrón.

June 2025
Location TBD

Combining oral history with magical realism and poetry,“Honeypot”bears witness to the real-life stories of queer Black women throughout the American South. In this new adaptation for the stage of E. Patrick Johnson’s award-winning creative nonfiction book, women from all walks of life recount their experiences on topics ranging from coming out and falling in love to mother/daughter relationships, religion and political activism — richly and dynamically revealing the complexity of identity. “Honeypot” is written by Johnson, dean of the School of Communication at Northwestern, and adapted and directed for the stage by D. Soyini Madison.

Wirtz Center’s 2024-25 season explores individual responsibility (2024)
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