Northwestern University: The 91st Annual Waa-Mu Show returns home to Cahn Auditorium

After two years of producing the Waa-Mu Show virtually, the co-chairs of Northwestern University’s 91st Annual Waa-Mu Show have announced the show will move back to Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., on the Evanston campus. “A Peculiar Inheritance,” a whodunit with antiques, socialites and secrets, will run April 29 to May 8, 2022.

Tickets will go on sale online Nov. 29 on the Wirtz Center website.

The Waa-Mu Show is written, composed, choreographed and co-produced by more than 100 Northwestern students. The Waa-Mu 2022 co-chairs are second-year undergraduate student Daniel Maton and third-year undergraduate student Madeline Oberle. Spearheading the writing process are writing coordinators Francesca Wimer, Jared Son, Mitchell Huntley, and Trevor K. Band, all School of Communication third years.

“A Peculiar Inheritance” takes place at the estate of an esteemed watchmaker, the late Archibald Beaucourt. There, friends and family of Archibald attend an auction of his most prized possessions, and everything proceeds without a hitch — that is, until a one-of-a-kind clock vanishes in the middle of the auction. The clockmaker’s child, still reconciling grief from a strained relationship with their father, is left to find the clock before the thief escapes. As the mystery begins to unravel, family secrets are thrust into the spotlight.

‘“A Peculiar Inheritance” is The Waa-Mu Show’s triumphant return to in-person theater and our home in Cahn Auditorium,” said Maton, one of the two co-chairs. “I can’t wait to welcome back audiences to Cahn as we continue this storied tradition.”

“This year’s story is a thrilling mystery, full of twists and turns and suspense,” said Son, a writing coordinator. “We can’t wait to see the audience try to piece it together.”

“At its core, this show is about coming together as a family and connecting after loss. It feels particularly resonant for our first show back in person again,” said Wimer, also a writing coordinator. “We are creating a farcical piece with larger-than-life characters to bring a sense of fun and excitement to the stage.”

Co-chair Madeline Oberle added, “These past two years have been incredibly difficult for everyone, but especially for incoming college students. With half of the Northwestern undergraduate population still being new to Northwestern’s campus, we’re excited to use our organization as a space for people to feel included and welcomed at Northwestern. The most important part of creating theater is the community that you are creating it with.”

Waa-Mu Show History
The Waa-Mu Show began in 1929 when the Women’s Athletic Association (W.A.A.) joined forces with the Men’s Union (M.U.) in a performance of original, student-written material. The show was traditionally a musical revue, consisting of Northwestern-inspired vignettes tied together by a theme. However, over the last decade, the Waa-Mu Show has evolved into an original full-length musical with book, lyrics and orchestration by students.

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.

The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts annually mounts more than 40 productions in theater, music theater and dance. Undergraduate actors, managers and playwrights, alongside graduate actors, designers, directors and dramaturgs, collaborate on works both classic and contemporary for audiences of all ages. The Center adheres to and reflects the academic mission of the University, the curricular needs of the theater and performance studies departments and the educational priorities of communication students. It exists in service to the campus and the greater community of the Metropolitan Chicago area.

The Wirtz Center is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.

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