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Annual Waa-Mu Show Goes Hollywood

Tickets for student-written musical available by phone, online or at box office

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December 11, 2013 | by Judy Moore
The 83rd annual Waa-Mu Show, “Double Feature at Hollywood and Vine,” will be staged at Cahn Auditorium, from May 2 to 11.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Searching for a novel holiday gift idea for a live theater or movie fan? Consider wrapping and adding a bow to a pair of tickets to Northwestern University’s 83rd annual Waa-Mu Show. Tickets go on sale today (Dec. 11).

Presented by the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University and the Waa-Mu Show team, ”Double Feature at Hollywood and Vine” will be staged from May 2 to 11, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., on the Evanston campus.

The original full-length musical is written, produced, composed and choreographed by more than 150 Northwestern students. Undergraduate student co-chairs Desiree Staples, Ryan Bernsten and Ryan Garson lead the 2014 production.

“Double Feature at Hollywood and Vine” reimagines Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night” in 1930s Hollywood. When twins are tragically separated on their journey to a better life in Los Angeles, the sister, believing her brother dead, has no choice but to assume his identity to get work as a movie extra, only to take the silver screen by storm -- as a man! When her brother unexpectedly arrives in Hollywood, struck with amnesia, hilarity ensues with mistaken identities, love triangles and an unforgettable reunion in this contemporary retelling of the epic Shakespeare tale.

David H. Bell, the production’s supervisor, is an internationally renowned director and choreographer. Bell, Northwestern’s Donald G. Robertson Director of Music Theatre, has been nominated for 43 Joseph Jefferson (“Jeff”) Awards and has won 11. Bell also has been nominated for London’s prestigious Laurence Olivier Award, among others. Ryan T. Nelson, the School of Communication’s music director, is the show’s conductor and music supervisor.

The Waa-Mu Show began as a joint effort of the University's Women's Athletic Association (WAA) and Men's Union (MU) 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 many respected performers.

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

Waa-Mu performances will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, May 2; 8 p.m. Saturday, May 3; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 4; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8; 8 p.m. Friday, May 9; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 10; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 11.

Waa-Mu tickets are $30 and $25 for the general public; $22 for seniors over 62 and Northwester faculty and staff and educators; and $10 for full-time students with valid IDs (at the door). For more information, or to purchase tickets through the TIC Box Office at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 40 Arts Circle Drive, phone (847) 491-7282.