A cutting-edge musical written by the Grammy Award-winning rock band Green Day, fresh takes on Greek and Shakespeare classics, a new production of a popular Imagine U family show and more are part of Northwestern University’s 2015-16 Mainstage season.

Presented by the University’s School of Communication, upcoming fall stage events will include “Green Day’s American Idiot,” Oct. 16 to Oct. 25; an Imagine U Family Series production of “A Year With Frog and Toad,” Nov. 6 to Nov. 22; and “As You Like It,” Nov. 20 to Nov. 22 and Dec. 2 to Dec. 6, directed by M.F.A. directing candidate Risher Reddick.

Winter 2016 productions include Charles L. Mee’s “Big Love,” Jan. 29 to Feb. 7, directed by M.F.A. directing candidate Gina Marie Hayes, and the Stephen Sondheim musical “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” Feb. 12 to Feb. 28, directed by Matt Hawkins and based on the ancient Roman comedies of Plautus with a new gender-bending twist; and Northwestern’s annual “Danceworks” concert from Feb. 26 to March 6.


Spring shows will feature a new adaptation of “The Tempest,” April 22 to May 1, directed by M.F.A. directing candidate Hannah Todd in cooperation with The Actors Gymnasium, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Anna in the Tropics,” May 13 to May 22, directed by Northwestern’s Henry Godinez.


Subscriptions are available and can be purchased through the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts box office at 847-491-7282. 


• Single tickets to “Green Day’s American Idiot” are on sale now online and available for walk-up or phone orders. Ticket prices are $30 general public; $27 for Northwestern staff and faculty, area educators and seniors (over 62); and $10 for full-time students at the door (under 30 with current IDs), or $5 for Northwestern students (advance purchase only) or $10 at the door.

• Single tickets to “As You Like It” are on sale now online and available for walk-up or phone orders. Ticket prices are $25 for the general public; $22 for Northwestern faculty and staff, area educators and seniors (over 62); $10 full-time students (under age 30 with current IDs), and $5 for Northwestern students (advance purchase only) or $10 at the door.

• Single tickets to “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” will be on sale Thursday, Sept. 25. Ticket prices are $30 for the general public; $27 for Northwestern faculty and staff, area educators and seniors (over 62); $10 full-time students (under age 30 with current IDs), and $5 for Northwestern students (advance purchase only) or $10 at the door.

• Single tickets to “The Tempest” will be on sale Thursday, Sept. 25. Ticket prices are $25 for the general public; $22 for Northwestern faculty and staff, area educators and seniors (over 62), $10 full-time students (under age 30 with current IDs), and $5 for Northwestern students (advance purchase only) or $10 at the door.

Single tickets to the remaining season will be available at a later date to be announced. The Wirtz Center Box Office is located in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive.  The box office can be reached at 847-491-7282, Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m.


The following Mainstage season events will be held in venues on the University’s Evanston campus, including the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive; Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, as noted. For more information, visit

• “Green Day’s American Idiot,” with music by Green Day, lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, book by Michael Mayer and Billie Joe Armstrong, and directed by Lili-Anne Brown, 7:30 p.m.Friday, Oct. 16; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Based on the Green Day albums “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown,” Johnny, Tunny and Will want to escape their suburban hometown and search for meaning and freedom in the city. They know they want something else, however they’re not sure what that is. Fear, war and drugs soon prove easier choices than freedom, eroding their friendship and dreams, and forcing the three to face a new fast-paced reality. With a crazed rock pulse, Lili-Anne Brown, artistic director of Bailiwick Chicago and a Northwestern alumna, directs an intense look into the hearts of young Americans craving purpose in a cynical world. Talk back discussions will follow the Oct. 16 and Oct. 22 performances.

• “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare, directed by Risher Redick, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Is it too late to set conditions after you’ve fallen in love? Banished by her uncle to the Forest of Arden, Rosalind disguises herself as a man and puts her would-be husband to the test, discovering both her partner and herself in an instant. Letting go and opening your heart are at the center of this contemporary production staged by MFA directing candidate Risher Reddick, in which violence and isolation give way to love, communion, and song and dance. Talkback discussions will follow theNov. 20 and Dec. 3 performances.

• “Big Love” by Charles L. Mee and directed by Gina Marie Hayes, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29; 7:30 p.m Saturday, Jan. 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4; 7:30 p.m.Friday, Feb. 5; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Fifty terrified brides fleeing an arranged marriage take refuge in an Italian villa, with 50 angry grooms hot on their trail, hell-bent on reclaiming their “property.” As tensions rise and their trip down the aisle nears, sisters Tyona, Olympia and Lydia hatch a desperate plan to escape the darker side of love and matrimony. MFA candidate Gina Marie Hayes directs a radicalized version of an Aeschylus play that blows open the gender divide and gives new meaning to “until death do us part.” Talkback discussions will follow the Jan. 29 and Feb. 4 performances.

• “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, based on the plays of Plautus, and directed by Matt Hawkins, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21; 7:30 p.m.Thursday, Feb. 25; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Rome is flipped upside down when a quick-thinking slave named Pseudolus attempts to win freedom in a matchmaking scheme that sparks a vaudevillian romp of Grecian slaves, soldiers and whores. Turning the ancient comedies of Plautus into a farce for the ages, Matt Hawkins, a House Theatre company member and Northwestern theatre professor, directs this satirical Tony Award-winning musical comedy with a reimagined take on gender stereotypes, social class and the intersection of love and comedy. Talkback discussions will follow the Feb. 12 and Feb. 25 performances.

• “Danceworks 2016,” with artistic direction by Joel Valentín-Martínez, featuring choreography by Garth Fagan, Rosy Simas, Maray Gutiérrez, Jeff Hancock and Valentín-Martínez, 7:30 p.m.Friday, Feb. 26; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 3; 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 4; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 5; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 6, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Joel Valentín-Martínez, School of Communication dance program director, leads the artistic direction of this year’s annual dance showcase featuring innovative choreography by Tony and Olivier award-winner Garth Fagan, 2015 Guggenheim Fellow Rosy Simas, Hedwig Dances artistic associate Maray Gutiérrez, and Northwestern dance faculty members Jeff Hancock and Joel Valentín-Martínez. Using the foundations of contemporary modern dance, this evening will showcase a broad range of choreographic styles and diverse and multi-cultural spectrums and techniques, creating an entertaining evening of performances. Talkback discussions will follow the Feb. 26 and March 3 performances.

• “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, directed by Hannah Todd and produced in cooperation with The Actors Gymnasium, 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 22; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23; 2 p.m. Sunday, April 24; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28; 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater. Through movement, original music and Shakespeare’s transcendent language, this 90-minute production re-imagines “The Tempest” on a living, breathing island where its primal magic is conjured in the bodies and voices of a nine-actor ensemble. The omniscient Prospero stands apart, wielding the island’s power to manipulate monsters and spirits, kings and drunkards, a treacherous sibling and a daughter in love. But is Prospero’s ability to control the forces around him worth the isolation it brings? The role of Prospero will be portrayed by School of Communication faculty member David Catlin, a founding member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company and recipient of the 2011 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Talkback discussions will follow the April 22 and April 28 performances.

• “Anna in the Tropics,” by Nilo Cruz and directed by Henry Godinez, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 13; 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 15; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19; 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 20; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 21; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at the Josephine Louis Theater. Set in 1929 Florida, with factory mechanization on the rise, a group of Cuban immigrants maintain the cigar rolling industry with pride and tradition. As they toil away in the factory hand rolling each cigar, a well-dressed and well-spoken lector arrives and reads “Anna Karenina” to them, igniting their passions even as they struggle to uphold tradition in the face of encroaching modernity. Henry Godinez, Goodman Theatre Resident artistic associate and Northwestern theatre professor, directs this Pulitzer Prize-winning play about the threat of change in a world where time is money, and the efficiency of encroaching machination makes factory workers irrelevant. Talkback discussions will follow the May 13 and May 19 performances.


The following Imagine U family event will be held on the University’s Evanston campus, at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, as noted. Tickets are $10 and are currently on sale. For more information, visit or phone 847-491-7282.

• Imagine U, “A Year With Frog and Toad,” with book and lyrics by Willie Reale, music by Robert Reale, based on the books by Arnold Lobel and directed by Jerrell L. Henderson, 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6; 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8; 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13; 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15; 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20; 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, at the Hal and Martha Hyer Wallis Theater. Waking from hibernation in the spring, Frog and Toad plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding and learn life lessons along the way. The two best friends celebrate and rejoice in their differences that make them unique and special. Part vaudeville, part make-believe and all charm, “A Year With Frog And Toad” tells the story of a friendship that endures, weathering all seasons.

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