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Chicago's Michael Goldberg to Guest Direct 2014 Waa-Mu Show

Northwestern’s student-written musical plans “red carpet” opening gala, special sundae

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April 22, 2014 | by Judy Moore
Waa-Mu
From left to right: Ryan Garson, Desiree Staples and Ryan Bernsten. Photo: Justin Barbin Photography.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Not only has Northwestern University’s 83rd Annual Waa-Mu Show snagged Joseph Jefferson (“Jeff”) Award-winning Chicago-based director and actor Michael Goldberg to guest direct this year, the musical confection is partnering with Andy’s Frozen Custard. The downtown Evanston store is creating a special Waa-Mu Concrete that will be available to sweet-loving Waa-Mu fans.

Double Feature At Hollywood and Vine” will launch May 2 with a gala opening night, complete with a “red carpet.”

Goldberg specializes in adapted Shakespeare productions and fight choreography. An artistic associate at First Folio Theatre, he has worked with countless theaters in Chicago as well as London’s West End. His most recent work on “Cymbeline: A Musical Folk Tale” (First Folio Theatre) earned two Joseph Jefferson (“Jeff”) Awards. 

The 2014 Waa-Mu Show will feature a cast of 42 student performers with Northwestern senior Betsy Stewart (in the role Violet) and junior Kyle Sherman (as Sebastian) leading the production.

According to Waa-Mu student co-chairs Ryan Bernsten, Ryan Garson and Desiree Staples, opening night, Friday, May 2, will feature all the glitz and glamour of 1930’s Hollywood. The celebration will begin on the “red carpet” at 7 p.m. for a photo shoot with Waa-Mu’s glamorous stars and friends. It will feature an exclusive Student Sweepstakes offering students a chance to win a $500 pre-paid Visa gift card at the opening night performance and conclude with free samples of Andy’s Frozen Custard (while the supply lasts).

Double Feature At Hollywood and Vine” will be staged 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, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson Street, on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.

The Waa-Mu Show will hold its Greek Night on Thursday, May 8; Alumni Night on Friday, May 9; and a Family Day matinee performance at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 10. Family Day offers a special discount for children and an interactive post-performance talkback.

The Waa-Mu Concrete -- a scrumptious mix of caramel and cheesecake blended with Andy’s famous frozen custard -- will be sold at the downtown Evanston location at 719 Church St., beginning Monday, April 28 and throughout the month of May.

“Double Feature at Hollywood and Vine” re-imagines Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” set in 1930s Old Hollywood. When two twins are tragically separated on their journey to a better life in Los Angeles, the sister, believing her brother dead, assumes 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, mistaken identities, love triangles, general hilarity and an unforgettable reunion ensue in this Shakespearean retelling.

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

WAA-MU HISTORY

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 tickets are $30 and $25 for the 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). For more information, or to purchase tickets through the Box Office at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, phone (847) 491-7282 or visit waamu.northwestern.edu.