Skip to main content


Wirtz Center: Looking Back, Moving Forward!

And…we’re back!

More than 15 months ago, we closed down our dynamic performing arts venues to wrestle with the global pandemic. We have been focused on providing a diverse range of opportunities for our students to create and perform while at the same time inviting interested audiences to join us. All in all, 23 opportunities were provided that involved more than 1,340 students participating or viewing these offerings. As we move forward, the Wirtz Center is committed to providing a range of diverse and top-notch experiences for our students to create and perform while at the same time inviting audiences to join us. 

I’m happy to say we met the challenges presented and found glimmers of hope throughout this past season. This would not have been possible without your support.

The offerings for next season were chosen in the spirit of trying new models, adjusting to new challenges, and providing an even deeper commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

These include an arts open house; plays by Rajiv Joseph, Jiehae Park, and Quiara Alegría Hudes; as well as a rambunctious Broadway musical to welcome our audiences back. While we continue to finalize season details in accordance with University guidance around COVID-19, please know we are planning a return to safe, in-person, live performances this fall.

In line with Dean E. Patrick Johnson’s vision for the Wirtz Center as a collaborative hub across the School of Communication’s five departments—and as a close partner with our counterpart, the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for Performing and Media Arts in Chicago (more about this new venue soon)—we look forward to fostering more inspiring partnerships and innovative work within and around the theatrical form.  The Wirtz Center remains focused on providing a diverse range of opportunities for our students to create and perform live in front of audiences. Students will have the opportunity this fall to audition for all productions. More details about the process are located on our audition website

Thank you for your continued support, stay tuned for more announcements about the year ahead, and we look forward to welcoming you back!


Al Heartley                                                                                             
Managing Director, 
Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts 


Northwestern University
Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts

21/22 Mainstage Season

Open House: “A Weekend for the Arts at Wirtz”
OCT 15-17


Native Guard
In Partnership with the Alliance Theatre
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poetry by
Northwestern professor and former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey

Directed by Alliance Artistic Director Susan V. Booth
(Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for Performing and Media Arts in Chicago)
OCT 23-24


The Battlefields of Clara Barton

By Suzan Zeder & Jenn Hartmann Luck

In collaboration with the American Music Theatre Project
OCT 29-31


Imagine U: Last Stop on Market Street
By Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Adapted and Directed by Gloria Bond Clunie
NOV 12-21 (weekends)

DEC 3-12 (streaming)



MFA Collaboration Series: In His Hands
By Benjamin Benne
JAN 28-30


Something Rotten
Book by John O’Farrell and Karey Kirkpatrick and Music and Lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick
FEB 3-13


MFA Collaboration Series: peerless
By Jiehae Park
FEB 18-20


Imagine U: The Ballad of Mulan
By Alvin Chan
FEB 24 – MAR 6 (weekends)



MFA Collaboration Series: Late, A Cowboy Song

By Sarah Ruhl
APR 22-24

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

By Rajiv Joseph

APR 22-MAY 1


The 91st Annual Waa-Mu Show

APR 29-MAY 8

Water by the Spoonful

By Quiara Alegría Hudes

MAY 20-29

MFA Collaboration Series: Men on Boats
By Jaclyn Backhaus

MAY 27-29