Manhattan Miracle (The Waa-Mu Show)
What is the Waa-Mu Show?
Northwestern’s oldest theatrical tradition, the Waa-Mu Show provides undergraduates with an unparalleled education in new musical theater development. Each year, more than 150 students participate in Waa-Mu as producers, writers, and performers to create and perform an original musical that inspires audiences, challenges our artists, and engages surrounding communities. The Waa-Mu Show is a frontrunner in the world of new musical theater creation and education. It gives undergraduate students opportunities to serve as leaders on every aspect of production, from writing to orchestration to performance.
The Waa-Mu Show began in 1929 when the Women’s Athletic Association (WAA) joined forces with the Men’s Union (MU) in the 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 five years, the Waa-Mu Show has evolved into a full-length musical that better reflects the current state of Broadway.
Throughout its history, Waa-Mu's pre-professional environment has been a breeding ground for young theatrical superstars. 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.
What is this year’s show?
The 87th Annual Waa-Mu Show presents:
Our story begins in 1866 in New York City. Days before opening, a failing melodrama finds itself in need of an overhaul. Simultaneously, a Parisian ballet troupe is left without a theatre in the wake of a devastating fire. Racing against the clock and praying for a miracle, the troupes decide to combine their talents and create a new show with song, dance, and drama. Against all odds, this ragtag group of artists learn to work together and create not only the very first American musical, but a spectacular hit.
Why should you contribute?
Help the 87th Annual Waa-Mu Show travel back in time and make a miracle of our own! This year we are trying to raise $6,000 to create our own miracle and transform the stage in Cahn Auditorium into an extravagant space, reminiscent of the grandeur from Waa-Mu Shows past. With this money, we will be able to bring the rich history of the late nineteenth century to life on Cahn Auditorium’s stage and transport the audience back in time with extravagant and iconic period costume pieces, hair, makeup, and accessories. Anything you are able to contribute will make a tremendous impact on the success of our show.
#GivingTuesday is a global celebration of the value of not-for-profit organizations and the power of giving back, and #CATSGiveBack is a celebration of the impact of philanthropy on Northwestern in particular: we hope you’ll make the Waa-Mu Show part of this day.
If you are unable to give, you can still help by sharing this page and getting the word out to anyone and everyone. Thanks in advance for your support! Go 'Cats!
*Manhattan Miracle will go up in Cahn Auditorium May 4 through May 13.