Northwestern’s oldest theatrical tradition, The Waa-Mu Show provides undergraduates with an unparalleled education in new musical theatre development. Over 150 students participate every year as producers, writers, and performers in the creation of an original musical that inspires audiences, challenges the artists involved, and engages the surrounding communities. The Waa-Mu Show is a forerunner in the world of musical theater writing, giving undergraduate students a chance to serve as leaders in every aspect of the production's creation, from writing to orchestration to performance.
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 five years, the Waa-Mu Show has evolved into an original full-length musical.
Waa-Mu's pre-professional environment has been a breeding ground for young theatrical superstars throughout its history. 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 Waa-Mu Show aims to share stories that engage the hearts and minds of Northwestern’s campus as well as that of the greater community. The Waa-Mu Show aspires to give students an unparalleled experience that prepares them to lead and advance the world of musical theatre.
The 2017-2018 Co-Chairs aim to facilitate a world class educational opportunity in the writing, performance, and administration of new musical theatre. In doing so, we also strive to foster an inclusive and collaborative community that allows students to learn from one another, while making memories that will last a lifetime.