Skip to main content

85th Annual Waa-Mu Show, ‘Another Way West,’ Tickets on Sale Now

Northwestern’s student-written, composed and choreographed musical staged April 29-May 8

  • "Another Way West" tells the story of a modern family on the Oregon Trail
  • Waa-Mu Show continues to be one of 'the greatest college shows in America'
  • Artistic director David H. Bell has been nominated for 44 “Jeff” Awards, winning 11
  • Waa-Mu partnering with Evanston eateries to offer show’s patrons special menus/promotions

EVANSTON, Ill. --- To celebrate the 85th anniversary of Northwestern University’s Waa-Mu Show and its cultural heritage in Evanston, Waa-Mu is partnering with a variety of downtown Evanston restaurants and a frozen custard shop to offer special deals and promotions to Waa-Mu patrons during the run of “Another Way West.” 

Presented by the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University and the Waa-Mu Show team, “Another Way West” will be staged from April 29 to May 8 at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., on the Evanston campus. 

This year’s show -- the 85th annual production -- follows an ambitious student named Kate, who sets off on a research expedition across the Oregon Trail to solve a mystery left by the journal of her ancestor and namesake, Kathleen O’Reilly. Soon after she sets out into the wilderness, Kate unexpectedly becomes the sole legal guardian of her young nieces and nephews. Together they continue Kate’s adventure into the heart of the mythical American West. The journal entries bring history to new life along the trail where the modern-day and past adventures intertwine. Kate looks to the past for guidance and Kathleen to the future for hope as they both forge their formidable journeys towards finding a new understanding of home. 

The new stage musical is written, composed, choreographed and co-produced by more than 100 Northwestern students. Undergraduate student co-chairs Charlie Oh, Elizabeth Romero, Fergus Inder and Myrna Conn -- all seniors -- lead the 2016 production with artistic direction by David H. Bell. Bell, a Northwestern professor of music theatre in the School of Communication and an award-winning professional director, has worked extensively around the world. 

Waa-Mu Show special promotions 

The “Culinary Trail Experience” includes a partnership with FOUND Kitchen and Social House at 1631 Chicago Ave., to create a special menu for the 85th Annual Waa Mu Show.  Patrons will be able to take advantage of this fine dining experience, which will be artfully prepared by FOUND’s head chef, and based on the story of “Another Way West.” 

The Waa-Mu Show also will join Andy’s Frozen Custard at 719 Church St., for the third year in a row, which will offer the “Waa-Mu Show Concrete.” This decadent treat will be sold at the Evanston location only during the run of the production. 

In addition, both Giordano’s at 1527 Chicago Ave., and The Celtic Knot Public House at 626 Church St., will offer a 15 percent discount to those who provide a ticket stub or Waa-Mu program. These offers will last throughout the weeks of the Waa Mu performances (April 29 through May 8).

Edzo’s Burger Shop at 1571 Sherman Ave., is creating special Waa-Mu “Oregon Fries” and La Macchina Café at 1620 Orrington Ave., will offer a free dessert to this year’s Waa-Mu Show patrons who purchase an entree or pasta during the run of this spring’s Waa-Mu Show.

Spring 2016 Waa-Mu performances of “Another Way West” will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5; 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7; and 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8.

Waa-Mu Show history

The Waa-Mu Show began as a joint effort of the University's Women's Athletic Association (W.A.A.) and Men's Union (M.U.) during the 1928-29 academic year. In recent years, Waa-Mu has evolved from a series of musical and theatrical vignettes into an entirely student-written and orchestrated musical. 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.

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.


Tickets for the 2016 Waa-Mu Show are $30 (first tier) and $25 (second tier) 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).

To purchase tickets through the Wirtz Center Box Office, visit the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, phone 847-491-7282 or purchase online, or visit Northwestern’s new Arts Circle website at

Editor's Picks

Back to top