Northwestern University to Conclude 2013-14 Mainstage Season with TROUBLE IN MIND, 5/16-25

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Northwestern University to Conclude 2013-14 Mainstage Season with TROUBLE IN MIND, 5/16-25

"Trouble in Mind" -- Alice Childress' rarely-produced mid-1950s satire about prejudice in a Broadway rehearsal room -- will be staged May 16 through May 25. It also will be the subject of a free symposium at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center on May 7.

Childress' drama will conclude Northwestern University's Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts 2013-14 Mainstage Season. The Wirtz Center was formerly known as the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University. For more information on the name change, visit www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2014/04/chicago-blackhawks-chairman-endows-performing-arts-center.html.

Guest directed by Ron OJ Parson, Court Theatre's artist-in-residence, and featuring professional actor Ray Baker and a Northwestern student cast, "Trouble in Mind" was called "scathingly funny, wise and extraordinary" by one national reviewer.

• Performances of "Trouble in Mind" will be staged at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University's Evanston campus. They will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, May 16; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 18; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 22; 8 p.m. Friday, May 23; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 24; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25. The production is recommended for children age 10 and older and adults.

• Post-show discussions will follow the May 16, May 18 and May 22 performances. Guest director Ron OJ Parson will participate in all three talkbacks.

• Northwestern's Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts will present an off-campus community symposium titled "The Roles We Have to Play: A discussion about racism in American theatre past and present," from 3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, at 1655 Foster Street in Evanston. Free and open to the public, it will feature a staged reading from the play with the student cast and discussions based on topics and themes from the play. The event will be moderated by Tim Rhoze, artistic director of Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre and include members of the student cast of "Trouble in Mind," director Ron OJ Parson, and Dino Robinson, founder of the Shorefont Legacy Center, an organization specializing in documenting the historical black experience in Chicago's north suburbs. For more information, email joel.solari@northwestern.edu or visit http://planitpurple.northwestern.edu/event/458094.

Set in 1957, "Trouble in Mind" follows a talented but struggling actress who has just been given her breakthrough role in an anti-lynching play practically ripped from the headlines and set to open on Broadway. But is fame worth more than perpetuating a stereotype?

"This play is as relevant today as it was when it was written in 1957, with many of the same racial stereotyping throughout the American Theatre," director Parson said. "Producing this play today is a great way to introduce many people, young and old, black, brown and white, to a history we should never forget."

Tickets for the Wirtz Center's "Trouble in Mind" are $25 for general public; $22 for seniors over 62 and Northwestern faculty and staff and educators; and $10 for full-time students with valid IDs (at the door) or $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

For more information, phone (847) 491-4819, visit the Wirtz Center website at www.wirtz.northwestern.edu or email wirtz@northwestern.edu.

Photo by Nick Gertonson

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