Wirtz Center at Northwestern University

Upcoming Events

Otto Frank
Runs Oct 05Oct 07, 2023
Obie Award-winning collaborators Roger Guenveur Smith and Marc Anthony Thompson have devised a new work inspired by Otto Frank, father of diarist Anne Frank.

Smith’s intimate meditation, scored live by Thompson, illuminates our present moment through a rigorous interrogation of our not-so-distant past. Smith’s version of Frank addresses his daughter beyond her time and his own, navigating his loss as the only survivor of his immediate family and negotiating his subsequent service to the living and the dead as the steward of her work.

IMAGINE U: Frida Libre
Runs Oct 20Nov 05, 2023
Inspired by the childhood of legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, Frida Libre is an uplifting story that explores the meaning of friendship, bravery, and transformation. Alex may seem like a quiet, shy boy, but he secretly holds big ideas inside his head. He wants to be a luchador (wrestler) and defeat bad guys in the ring. His life changes when he meets brave and colorful Frida, an unusual girl who dreams of being a doctor so she can help people. Forced to do a science project on butterflies and metamorphosis, the pair discovers how true friendship can help you overcome fear and transform your dreams into reality.
In the Beginning There was House
Music, Staged Reading
Runs Oct 20Oct 21, 2023
Inspired by the life and work of Chicago house music legend Frankie Knuckles, the genre-fusing duo behind UNIVERSES have partnered to present a reading of In the Beginning There was House, a new work originally commissioned by the Goodman Theatre. UNIVERSES was founded by Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz-Sapp to create moving, challenging, and entertaining works for the stage. Sapp and Ruiz-Sapp will be in residence throughout the 2023-24 Northwestern University academic year as part of the newly established Astere E. Claeyssens Artist-in-Residence program. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, they will be developing In the Beginning There was House with Obie-Award winning director Chay Yew.
Confessions of a Cockney Temple Dancer
Comedy, Dance, Performance Art
Runs Oct 26Oct 28, 2023
We all present different faces to the world, but some are more different than most. In this funny and visually stunning one-person show, Shane Shambhu reveals the secret life he kept from his school friends while growing up in the cultural melting pot of East London while training in the Indian performing art of Bharatanatyam. Combining physical theatre, spoken word, Indian dance, film, and an original score, this coming-of-age story draws on creator Shane Shambhu’s lived experience, capturing the multiple identities that the children of migrants develop growing up in the UK, showing one face at home and another to the outside world.
The Prom
Runs Nov 10Nov 19, 2023
Four eccentric Broadway stars are in desperate need of a new stage. So, when they hear that trouble is brewing around a small-town prom, they know it’s time to spotlight the issue…and themselves. The town’s parents want to keep the high school dance on the straight and narrow—but when one student just wants to bring her girlfriend to prom, the entire town has a date with destiny. On a mission to transform lives, Broadway’s brassiest join forces with a courageous girl and the town’s citizens, and the result is love that brings them all together. Winner of the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical, The Prom expertly captures all the humor and heart of a classic musical comedy with a message that resonates with audiences now more than ever.
Heroes of the Fourth Turning
Runs Nov 17Nov 19, 2023
It is nearing midnight in Wyoming, where four young conservatives have gathered at a backyard afterparty. They have returned home to toast their mentor Gina, newly inducted as president of a tiny Catholic college. But as their reunion spirals into spiritual chaos and clashing generational politics, it becomes less a celebration than a vicious fight to be understood. In this haunting new play, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2020, playwright Will Arbery, an alum of Northwestern’s MFA in Writing for the Screen & Stage, offers a story of grace and disarming clarity, speaking to the heart of a country at war with itself.
1949 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208
The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University produces and manages the performing arts productions of the School of Communication, Department of Theatre, and Department of Performance Studies, and has programmatic responsibility for theatre, music theatre and dance. Each year, as many as forty productions are mounted in its four different performance venues — the 439-seat Ethel M. Barber Theater, the 288-seat Josephine Louis Theater, the 100-seat Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater and the 100-seat Mussetter-Struble Theater — as well as in the University’s 1,000-seat Cahn Auditorium.