2016-2017 Creative Team
David Bell is a Professor of Music Theatre and a professional director who has worked extensively all over the world - Including Broadway, Off-Broadway, Carnegie Hall, The National Theatre, London's West End. The Kennedy Center, The Royal Albert Hall, Long Wharf, Ford's Theatre (Artistic Director 1983-1988), The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta (Associate Artistic Director 1992-2001), The Mongodor Theatre (Paris), The National Opera (Berlin), Bridgewater Hall (Manchester), and the closing Ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics. David has been nominated for 44 Joseph Jefferson Awards in Chicago (winning 10), the Laurence Olivier Award (London), 5 Carbonall Awards (Florida), 3 Helen Hayes Awards in DC (winning 1), 5 Atlanta Circle of Drama Critics Awards (winning 1) and has won the Dramalogue Award (LA), the Mac Award (NYC), 7 Atlanta Journal -Constitution awards, the Nebraska Award for Theatre Excellence, and has been awarded 3 National Endowment playwriting grants.
Ryan T. Nelson is a Lecturer in Music Theatre for the School of Communication at Northwestern University and Music Director for Northwestern's Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts. He also serves as Music Supervisor for the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) and the famed "Waa-Mu" show. Ryan is the Resident Music Director at Chicago's Marriott Theatre, where he has music directed dozens of productions, including the world premieres of OCTOBER SKY, HERO, ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER: NOW AND FOREVER and FOR THE BOYS. His work on A CHORUS LINE and THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA at the Marriott has been recognized with Jeff Award nominations for excellence in Chicago theatre. Ryan has also conducted and orchestrated productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and the Asolo Repertory Theatre (Sarasota, Florida). He has been on the faculty of Northwestern University for over a decade, formerly as an Assistant Professor of Music in Northwestern University's Bienen School of Music. His Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in conducting are from the University of North Texas, where he was a student of Eugene Migliaro Corporon.
Melvin Brandon Logan is returning to Northwestern after previously Assistant Directing ’ROCKNE’ for the American Theatre Project alongside David Bell. Melvin is also a full-time faculty member and Director of Programming for New York City’s premiere performing arts program, Applause NYC. As an actor, Melvin has most recently appeared in two different companies of Broadway’s The Book of Mormon. He has also performed at many regional theaters across the country including The St. Louis MUNY, The Arvada Center, Florida Studio Theatre, and The Marriott Theatre here in Chicago. Melvin proudly holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he was awarded the Laurie Beechman Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre.
Ryan Martin is proud to join the incredible cast and team of this year's Waa-Mu show! His full length play The Eye of the Needle was read on campus last winter as part of JTE Presents: A Night of New Work. His original work has also appeared in The Vertigo New Songwriters' Cabaret, the 2017 Songwriters' Showcase, and Insert Musical Here. Previous directing credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
The Head Writers of Waa-Mu are responsible for making a cohesive show out of a huge collaborative process. Head writers will typically lead (or co-lead) one of the nine twelve minute sections of the show in the winter Creating the Musical class, but will also be in charge of filling in gaps and making the story work as a whole. They are also responsible for developing the idea for the show with the Co-Chairs and the director, David Bell, before the start of the school year. In addition, they lead Writer’s Meetings in the fall, and are an integral part of the Creative Team meetings in preparation for the Creating the Musical class in the winter.
Maxwell Beer is a junior theatre major with a certificate in Music Theatre and a minor in Sociology. He is an actor, playwright, and composer from New York. Max is thrilled to be a head writer for his second time after last year’s Waa-Mu Show, Another Way West! He is also a proud freshman alum of Waa-2. He wishes to thank the Co-Chairs, his mom, dad, and brothers, all of his grandparents, David Bell, and especially his dog, Chloe.
Carrie Caffrey is a junior double majoring in Theatre and Sociology. This is her third year working on Waa-Mu, where she previously served as a member of the Creative Team, Assistant Alumni Relations director, and as the first Waa-Mu Historian. In addition to Waa-Mu, Carrie is the Assistant Music Director for Significant Others A Cappella, Events Director for the Northwestern A Cappella Community Association (NACCA), on the Fundraising team for the Dolphin Show, and a two-year Committee Member on Dance Marathon. She can’t wait to help bring one of Northwestern’s oldest traditions to life again for its 86th year.
Alex Rothfield is a sophomore from Woodbine, MD majoring in Vocal Performance and Choral Music Education with a minor in Psychology and in the Musical Theatre Certificate program. He began his involvement in Waa-Mu freshman year as a member of Waa-2. Some of his Northwestern performance credits include HAIR (2016), THE SECRET GARDEN (2016), THE DROWSY CHAPERONE (2016), and TROUBLE IN TAHITI (2015). Offstage, Alex served as Music Director for Vertigo’s New Songwriters’ Cabaret and Co-Director for the 2016 Freshman Musicale. He is also a proud member of the Northwestern Undertones. Alex is honored to be working on such a unique process and cannot wait to see the show come into being.
The Choreography Co-Chairs for the Waa-Mu Show work tirelessly with the creative team, Co-Chairs, writers, Team Music, and the director to bring the show to life onstage. Since the show is completely created from scratch each year, the music is written at a moment’s notice and changed on a daily basis - so the choreographers must be able to quickly adapt and put something on stage that will be constantly growing and changing up until opening night.
Rosie Jo Neddy is a senior theatre major in the the Musical Theatre certificate program, the Creative Writing Minor, and the Musical Theatre Choreography Module. As a freshmen, she was a member of Waa-2 and assistant choreographed and performed in the Waa-Mu Show: Double Feature at Hollywood and Vine. Sophomore year, she was a Waa-2 Co-Chair and headed a team in a Waa-Fundraiser entitled Show Choir Smackdown. Last year she assisted with events and is thrilled to rise up to Events Queen this year with Dan Leahy. Also, she is choreographing the highly anticipated 2017 Waa-Mu Show, so watch out for her swanky steps. “For remember when the sun goes down, it returns with a bright tomorrow!"
Gabriella Green is a Junior Theatre major and Dance minor in the Music Theatre Certificate Program. Gabby has been involved in many areas of Waa-Mu during her time at Northwestern, including being in the Creating the Musical class for two years, an assistant stage manager for ANOTHER WAY WEST, and a section leader and cast member for BEYOND BELIEF. This year, she's excited to start her third consecutive year as Co-Director of Community Programming and also take on the role of Choreography Co-Chair for the the 87th Waa-Mu Show. Outside of Waa-Mu, Gabby is the Marketing Director for the X-Factors A Cappella and will appear in the Wirtz Center's fall production of COMPANY.
Eloia Peterson is a Senior Theatre major and Spanish minor. She is also a member of the Theatre Management Module specializing in Stage Management. Eloia is thrilled to be joining the Waa-Mu rehearsal team for the first time and can’t wait to see what this talented team creates. Last year she completed a stage management internship at Lookingglass Theatre on their production of BLOOD WEDDING. Past Northwestern stage management credits include AMERICAN IDIOT (ASM), JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH (SM), and EURYDICE (ASM). Eloia is also currently the Executive Director of Lovers & Madmen Theatre Board.