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The Waa-Mu Show will present ‘The Secret of Camp Elliott’ virtually June 9 - 20

Tickets on sale March 1 for student-created musical that continues storied 90-year tradition

The co-chairs of Northwestern University’s 90th annual Waa-Mu Show have announced the title and theme for its upcoming production. “The Secret of Camp Elliott,” a supernatural mystery musical following three friends at summer camp in 1977. The production will be filmed and available for streaming June 9-20.

Tickets to stream the production can be purchased online beginning March 1 at 7 a.m.

The 90th annual Waa-Mu Show is written, composed, choreographed and co-produced by more than 100 Northwestern students. The 2021 co-chairs Jessica Nekritz, Annie Beaubien and Pallas Guttierez, all fourth-year undergraduate students. Spearheading the writing process are writing coordinators Sarah Geltz, Brandon Acosta, Alex Manaa and Bennett Peterson.

“The Secret of Camp Elliott” takes place in the summer of 1977 when three best friends arrive for their first summer of fun at Camp Elliott. Campers are divided into two teams, which will go head to head in a series of challenges in order to win Camp Elliott’s annual competition. Throughout the summer, campers seek out victory, love and liberation, but they soon discover that not everything is as it seems. When camp becomes the location for some very mysterious and seemingly supernatural events, they must put aside their differences in order to unveil the camp’s secrets.

““The Secret of Camp Elliott” is the perfect theatrical event for those who have ever been to summer camp or ever dreamt of going,” said Amanda Tanguay, director and choreographer of the online production. “Our audiences will experience the nostalgia of friendships, forged and broken, along with the feeling of days spent in team competitions and evenings spent questioning the cosmos under a canopy of stars.”

“I think what has made Waa-Mu always feel like home for me is its longevity and the community that stems from the show on every level,” said co-chair Jessica Nekritz. “As we create an incredible new kind of show in this organization’s 90th year, I feel so lucky to get to cultivate the Waa-Mu family in a year when everything feels different.”

“I’ve been involved in Waa-Mu in various capacities for the entire time I’ve been at Northwestern,” said writing coordinator Brandon Acosta. “I have learned so much about myself, about writing and have made some incredible friendships along the way.”

“I saw my first Waa-Mu show when I was in eighth grade, and I’ve been in love with the organization ever since,” said co-chair Annie Beaubien. “I feel so lucky to continue to grow The Waa-Mu Show through its 90th year and to produce some amazing theatre in the process!”

Waa-Mu Show History

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 decade, the Waa-Mu Show has evolved into an original full-length musical with book, lyrics and orchestration by students.

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.

Ticket Information

Tickets to stream the 90th annual Waa-Mu Show “The Secret of Camp Elliott” are on sale beginning March 1 at 7 a.m. Tickets to access the production are $20 general admission and $10 for students. Admission is free to Northwestern students with a valid NU email address who complete the required registration form.

Tickets can be purchased through the Wirtz Center website. For more information, call the Wirtz Center box office at 847-491-7282 or visit The Waa-Mu Show website. The Wirtz Center Box Office is currently closed for in-person service. Box office phone hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts annually mounts more than 40 productions in theater, music theater and dance. Undergraduate actors, managers and playwrights, alongside graduate actors, designers, directors and dramaturgs, collaborate on works both classic and contemporary for audiences of all ages. The Center adheres to and reflects the academic mission of the University, the curricular needs of the theater and performance studies departments and the educational priorities of communication students. It exists in service to the campus and the greater community of the Metropolitan Chicago area.

The Wirtz Center is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.