Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mary Alice Zimmerman  

Pen Name: None


Born: N/A


Illinois Connection

*Manilow Resident Director - Goodman Theatre

Biographical and Professional Information

Mary Alice Zimmerman is a Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Metamorphoses: A Play
ISBN: 0810119781

Northwestern University Press. 2002

This play is based on Ovid's 15-volume work of transformation myths. Positioned in and around a large pool on the stage, the characters enact Zimmerman's adaptations of Ovid's tales, juxtaposing the ancient and the contemporary in both language and image. The tone of the drama likewise echoes the themes of change and contrast, from the humour of Phaeton's therapy session to the tragedy of Midas and his daughter. The volume contains a production history, the play script, and, because the visual aspect of the play is important, photographs from some of its past productions.

The Arabian Nights: A Play
ISBN: 0810120941

Northwestern University Press. 2003

A twelve-member cast enacts Scheherazade's tales of love, lust, comedy, and dreams. Scheherazade's cliffhanger stories prevent her husband, the cruel ruler Shahryar, from murdering her, and after 1,001 nights, Shahryar is cured of his madness, and Scheherazade returns to her family. This adaptation offers a wonderful blend of the lesser-known tales from Arabian Nights with the recurring theme of how the magic of storytelling holds the power to change people. The final scene brings the audience back to a modern day Baghdad with the wail of air raid sirens threatening the rich culture and history that are embodied by these tales.

The Odyssey: A Play
ISBN: 0810120933

Northwestern University Press. 2003

This dramatic adaptation of Homer's myth begins with a modern young woman who is struggling to understand Robert Fitzgerald's translation of The Odyssey. A classical muse appears, and the young woman becomes the goddess Athena--a tireless advocate for Odysseus in his struggle to get home. With her trademark irreverent and witty twist on classic works, Zimmerman brings to life the story of Odysseus's ten-year journey, depicting his encounters with characters such as Circe, the Cyclops, Poseidon, Calypso, the Sirens, and others.

Journey to the West: A Play
ISBN: 0810120925

Northwestern University Press. 2004

This adaptation of a late sixteenth-century classic Chinese comic novel, Journey to the West, based on Anthony C. Yu’s translation, takes as its point of departure the true story of a seventh-century monk and his fabled pilgrimage from China to India in search of sacred texts. Mixing whimsy with spiritual weight, Zimmerman’s script combines comedy, adventure, and satire in a moving allegory of human perseverance.


-- *20 Joseph Jefferson Awards and Tony Award for Best Direction for ''Metamorphosis''