The 34th Mainstage season of plays and musicals at the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University features award-winning directors and playwrights, alumni and faculty, plays and musicals and The Waa-Mu Show.

The season reflects on the evolving definitions of family and community and invites audiences to embrace the circumstances that unite and strengthen people.

The 2014/15 season will begin in October with “The Laramie Project,” a sobering account of modern-day prejudice and intolerance directed by Northwestern faculty member Rives Collins.
In November, Northwestern faculty emeritus Dominic Missimi directs “Little Women: The Musical,” based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of personal discovery, tragedy and hope, adapted by Allan Knee.

The winter months bring sharp social satire to the Wirtz Center as Northwestern MFA directing candidate Jerrell L. Henderson directs Lynn Nottage’s quick-witted “Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine,” the story of a once-successful business woman fighting her way out of social ruin and trying to reunite with her family along the way.

In February, the day before Valentine’s Day and just after his return from directing “Godspell” at the Marriott Theatre, Matt Raftery directs and choreographs Andrew Lippa’s “Wild Party,” a raucous and steamy prohibition tale of loosened inhibitions, burning jealousy and a fateful gunshot. To close out the winter, Northwestern’s dance lecturer, Jeff Hancock, will provide artistic direction to “Danceworks 2015: Ties that Bind,” a full evening of dance that explores the connectivity of families and communities through a variety of unique and entertaining dance vocabularies.

The Wirtz Center’s spring season spans more than a century, beginning with Northwestern MFA directing candidate Aaron Snook directing Frank Galati’s adaption of John Steinbeck’s Depression-era classic, “The Grapes of Wrath,” a deeply moving testament to the strength of community and family.

Spring also will mark the 84th annual production of The Waa-Mu Show, following the success of last season’s “Double Feature at Hollywood and Vine.” The Waa-Mu Show is a beloved Northwestern theatre tradition that continues to place itself at the forefront of new musical theatre writing, living up to its name as the “greatest college show in America” (Associated Press).

Finally, to close out the season, Northwestern MFA directing candidate Lauren Shouse directs Sarah Ruhl’s electrifying comedy “In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play,” a deliberate investigation of relationships, intimacy and what it means to seek connection.

Productions will be held, as noted, in 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.

Information about tickets is available by calling 847-491-7282.