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Wirtz Center’s Imagine U Offers New Spring and Summer Shows

Programs provide young audiences with an insider’s look at the magical world of theatre

  • ‘Wee-Mu’ is an interactive musical exploration for kids inspired by the Waa-Mu Show
  • Previously sold-out “Balloonacy” returns by popular demand, May 28 and 29
  • Elephant and Piggie’s ‘We Are In A Play’ to be staged July 30-Aug. 7

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Imagine U is offering fun and interactive spring and summer stage productions as well as a kid-friendly workshop inspired by Northwestern University’s famous “Waa-Mu Show,” currently playing at Cahn Auditorium through May 8.

Presented by the University’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, the interactive Imagine U programs, which are recommended for young children and their families, focus on story, movement and song. 

“Imagine U” events are led by some of Northwestern’s acclaimed theatre faculty, who are assisted by their talented students. 

All of the following Imagine U programs will take place in venues on the University’s Evanston campus, as noted.

Spring and Summer Imagine U events 

  • Imagine U’s “Wee-Mu” program at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 7, in Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston campus, is a playful and fun-filled hour that will feature lights, costumes, song and dance. It will be hosted by School of Communication faculty member Ryan T. Nelson, the award-winning music director of Northwestern’s 85th Annual Waa-Mu Show, “Another Way West." Nelson and cast members of this year’s Waa-Mu Show will lead audience members through the process of creating a new musical together. The children will experience a behind-the-scenes glimpse of “the greatest college show in America” with special interactive access with the cast, crew and creative team of this year’s Waa-Mu Show. The workshop will feature hands-on demonstrations related to musical instruments, choreography and singing. Wee-Mu is presented through a partnership between the 85th Annual Waa Mu Show and Imagine U. All tickets are $5.
  • “Balloonacy,” written by Barry Kornhauser and directed by Kathryn Walsh, will be staged at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 28; and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, May 29, at the Wirtz Center’s Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus Drive, Evanston campus. Recommended for children ages 2 and up, “Balloonacy” tells the story of a lonely old man who discovers an unlikely friendship that floats into his life unexpectedly through the window: a red balloon. Set in his solitary ways, the old man begrudgingly encounters the friendly balloon that seems intent on becoming his friend. Packed with physical comedy that will charm and delight young audiences of all ages, this award-winning play shows how with a little imagination and acceptance, companionship can come from the most unlikely of places. Tickets are $10 for the general public, and $5 for children and Northwestern students. 
  • Elephant and Piggie’s “We Are In A Play” will be performed at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 31; 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 4; 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6; and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive. Featuring book and lyrics by Mo Willems and music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, this hilarious songfest, directed by Lauren Shouse, is ripped from the pages of Mo Willems’ award-winning Elephant and Piggie children’s book series for early readers. It will leave audiences doing the "Flippy Floppy Floory" dance all night long. Elephant Gerald and Piggie are the best of friends. Worrisome and careful Gerald wonders if something could go wrong that would end their friendship. But playful and spirited Piggie is not worried at all, especially when she receives an invitation to a party hosted by The Squirrelles, three singing squirrels who love to have a good time. And so begins a day when anything is possible in an imaginative musical romp that playfully explores the importance and true meaning of friendship. Tickets go on sale online May 10 and the Wirtz Center Box Office opens May 24. Group sales are available now by calling 847-491-7282. All seats at the Aug. 4 performance will be $8. Regular tickets are $12 for the general public and $10 for children (18 and under) and Northwestern students. 

More information is available online.

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