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Tickets for the 87th annual Waa-Mu show on sale now

‘Manhattan Miracle’ runs May 4 to 13 at Cahn Auditorium

Waa-Mu video editor Moses Feldman

EVANSTON - The 87th annual Waa-Mu Show, Northwestern University’s entirely student written and orchestrated musical, announces a one-week holiday flash sale at the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts box office, now through Dec. 9. Tickets are limited to in-person sales at the Ethel M. Barber Theater box office. Patrons can reserve the best available seats for the spring production “Manhattan Miracle,” and receive a free holiday ornament while supplies last.

“Manhattan Miracle,” is a fictionalized account of the origins of the American musical. The story opens in late 19th century New York. Days before opening, a failing melodrama finds itself in need of an overhaul. Simultaneously, a Parisian ballet troupe is left without a theater 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, the ragtag group of artists learns to work together and create not only the very first American musical, but also a spectacular hit.

The new musical is written, composed, choreographed and co-produced by more than 100 Northwestern students. Undergraduate student co-chairs Maxwell Beer, Sarah Ohlson, Andrew Restieri, Kaja Burke-Williams — all Northwestern seniors — lead the 2018 production under artistic director David H. Bell. A Northwestern professor of music theater in the School of Communication, Bell is an award-winning professional director who has worked extensively around the world.

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.

Performances of “Manhattan Miracle” are Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. A special 2 p.m. matinee performance will be presented Saturday, May 12.

The 87th Annual Waa-Mu Show’s “Manhattan Miracle” is presented in collaboration with the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University.

Online sales for “Manhattan Miracle” begin Dec. 10, and phone orders begin Jan. 2, 2018.

The box office is located in the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston. Box office hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. The box office is closed Dec. 22 to Jan. 1, 2018.

For tickets and more information, visit the Wirtz Center website or call the Box Office at 847-491-7282.

The Wirtz Center and The Waa-Mu Show are members of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts. 

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