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Visions and Voices, a Black Playwrights’ Reading Series

Available On-Demand FEB 12-14, 2021

The Black Playwrights’ Reading Series presented by the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts and features first year Master of Fine Arts directing students and undergraduate and graduate actors.  The plays were chosen by the directors in consultation with faculty and the center’s managing director from among hundreds and hundreds of scripts some which are familiar and others that deserve a wider audience and center around Racism in America, Police Brutality, Anti-Blackness, the Fight for Justice, and the Celebration of Black Lives.  These directors are the first all-black cohort to join Northwestern University’s MFA Directing Program.

FEB 12-14 The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead by Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by Manna-Symone Middlebrooks

A woman tries to feed her husband a fried drumstick. Dragons roam a flat earth. The last Black man in the whole entire world dies again. And again. Careening through memory and language, Parks explores and explodes archetypes of Black America with piercing insight and raucous comedy. A riotous theatrical event, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World hums with the heartbeat of improvisational jazz. Tickets.

Patrons will receive a link via e-mail that will allow them to view the performance On Demand.


Ticket Information

Single tickets are $10 (general public) and $5 (full-time, non-NU students) with the exception of Tomas and the Library Lady ($20 for adult plus child).  Admission for winter performances continues to be free to all Northwestern students with a valid NU e-mail address who complete the required registration form.  Patrons who have a credit on file from a canceled show earlier this year will be able to apply the credit to our winter or subsequent quarter offerings in 2021.


Questions?  E-mail our audience service team at or call 847-491-7282 Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We appreciate your patience while our team works remotely. The Wirtz Center Box Office is currently closed for in person service.

Frequently Asked Questions


MFA Director

Manna-Symone Middlebrooks
Most recently, Manna-Symone Middlebrooks served as the Casting Associate at The Folger Theatre from 2018-2020. She was Studio Theatre’s Artistic Apprentice for the 2017-2018 season. She has directed locally for festivals with Rorschach Theatre Company, Nu Sass Productions, and Post Shift Theatre Company. D.C assistant directing credits include The Amen Corner at Shakespeare Theatre Co.; The Folger Theatre‘s productions of Henry IV, Part I and Amadeus; BLKS with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Co.; Turn Me Loose at Arena Stage; Studio’s productions of The Remains, Translations, The Wolves, Curve of Departure, and Skeleton Crew; Broken Glass at Theater J; Scarred for Life at American University; and The Ruiners: A Modern Romance at Keegan Theatre. Manna-Symone holds a BA in Theatre Arts from American University and is an alumna of The British American Drama Academy. She will begin her MFA studies in Directing at Northwestern University in fall 2020.