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Waa-Mu 'Jubilee' Celebrates 75 Years

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March 13, 2006 | by Judy Moore

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s 2006 Waa-Mu Show “Jubilee!” (April 28 to May 7) marks the 75th anniversary of the country’s longest running student musical revue.

Among the related Evanston campus festivities is an April 28 Gala package that includes a pre-show reception and dinner; a Wall of Fame ceremony honoring eight former Waa-Mu alumni who have contributed to the excellence of the show; a post-performance dessert reception at the Orrington Hotel in Evanston; a souvenir book; and a ticket to the opening night performance at Cahn Auditorium. 

Individual plaques will feature the etched images of the Waa-Mu Wall of Fame inductees who will be honored: Kenneth Cornwall, Larry Grossman, Sheldon Harnick, Joe Miller, Lloyd Norlin, John P. Paynter, Tom Roland and Wilson Stone. The plaques soon will be permanently installed in the lobby of Cahn Auditorium, the long-time home of the Waa-Mu Show. (See “Inductees” release for details).

Also, in honor of the Waa-Mu Show’s 75th anniversary, the City of Evanston has installed two honorary street signs on Emerson Street, outside Cahn Auditorium, that will remain in place for the next 10 years, designating the street area from Sheridan Road to Orrington as “Waa-Mu Way.”

Toasting the past and the future, the anniversary show will feature music from previous shows as well as new material by the current student writers.

“The opening number will include the entire cast in formalwear singing a salute that includes the titles of all 75 Waa-Mu shows,” said Dominic Missimi, the show’s current and third director and head of Northwestern’s Music Theatre Program.

The anniversary show also will feature David Bell and Marc Robin, nationally known directors/choreographers, Tom Ryan, Lincolnshire Marriott Theatre’s resident scenic designer, and Nancy Missimi, resident costume designer.

The Waa-Mu Show began as a joint effort of the University’s Women’s Athletic Association and Men’s Union during the 1928-29 academic year. It soon garnered a reputation as one of “the greatest college shows in America” and has been an important launching pad for some of Northwestern’s most talented and respected performers.

Past cast members of “Waa-Mu” include (1930s) Walter Kerr; (1940s) Claude Akins, Sheldon Harnick, Cloris Leachman, Paul Lynde, Charlotte Rae and Tony Randall; (1950s) Warren Beatty, Penny Fuller and Garry Marshall; (1960s) Karen Black, Frank Galati, Ann-Margret and Tony Roberts; (1970s) Laura Innes and Shelley Long; (1980s) Gregg Edelman, Ana Gasteyer and Megan Mullally; (1990s) Zach Braff, Brian d’Arcy James, Heather Headley, Jason Moore and Kate Shindle; (2000s) Jenny Powers.

Also in the works is a Waa-Mu Show 2006: Jubilee! souvenir book celebrating 75 years of Waa-Mu.

The honorary committee members for the April 28 Gala -- all Northwestern alumni -- are actor, writer, producer and director Garry Marshall; Broadway performers Tony Roberts (“Barefoot in the Park,” “Cabaret,” “Victor, Victoria”); Gregg Edelman (“Wonderful Town,” “Into the Woods,” “1776” “City Of Angels”); Heather Headley (“The Lion King” and “Aida” on Broadway and a new album “In My Mind”); Ana Gasteyer (NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” Broadway’s  “The Rocky Horror Show” and Chicago’s “Wicked”); and Miss America 1998 Kate Shindle (“Jekyll & Hyde” and “Cabaret”) and the film (“The Stepford Wives”).

Tickets for the April 28 Gala and opening night performance package are $175. The Gala and all Waa-Mu Show performances (April 28 to May 7) are open to the public.

Performances of the 75th Anniversary Waa-Mu Show “Jubilee!” will be held at 8 p.m. April 28; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 29; 2 p.m. April 30; 8 p.m. May 3; 8 p.m. May 4; 8 p.m. May 5; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. May 6; and 2 p.m. May 7, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston campus.

All Tier 1 seats for the Waa-Mu Show are $27; Tier 2 seats are $21 for the general public; $17 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $11 for full-time students and children.

To order tickets for the April 28 Gala or one of the 75th Anniversary Waa-Mu Shows, or for more information, call the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or visit the Waa-Mu Web site at <www.waamu.northwestern.edu/2006>.