Waa-Mu’s ‘Skylines’ follows students’ lives after Northwestern

Christina Chaey

From the rumbling of the New York subway to the Belmont El stop to palm trees in Los Angeles, the cast of the 77th Waa-Mu show “Skylines” is paying tribute to three of the company’s favorite cities.

“Last year’s show was set in one location, and this year we wanted variety,” said Communication senior Maureen Rohn, one of the show’s two co-chairmen.

The show, which opened May 2, begins with the entire cast in caps and gowns for graduation day at NU. The cast then heads to Christmastime in New York City, fake tanning in Los Angeles and NU Day at Wrigley Field in Chicago, among other musical numbers. The sets have familiar landmarks from the three cities, such as the Empire State Building in New York City and the Sears Tower in Chicago.

With 38 cast members, more than 40 writers and crew members and an executive board, Waa-Mu has a company of more than 100, the majority of which are students.

The show is made up of original sketches and musical numbers, all of which are student-written and composed. The sketches follow the “joys and disenchantments” of “idealistic grads” fresh out of college, Director Dominic Missimi said on the show’s Web site.

“Being a part of Waa-Mu changes every year,” said Communication junior Morgan Karr, who has been in the Waa-Mu cast for three years. “Last year’s ‘The Club’ was contemporary and edgy. ‘Skylines’ was really back to traditional Waa-Mu, with bright lights and great sets and lighting and huge musical numbers.”

Waa-Mu got its title in 1929 when the Women’s Athletic Association and the Men’s Union joined to put on a full-scale musical. It began as the brainchild of two Phi Delta Theta brothers, Joe Miller and Darrel Ware, who wrote and staged the first show, “Good Morning Glory.” Miller went on to run the show for nearly 50 years. Even though the W.A.A. is no longer involved with the show and the Men’s Union disbanded in 1934, Waa-Mu’s title has stayed the same.

Mary Schuette, Weinberg ’60, said she has been supporting Waa-Mu since her freshman year.

“I like the talent of the kids and the themes they pick,” Schuette said. “Their ideas are always fresh.”

Schuette is called the “brownie lady” by the cast and crew, for the brownies she brings them at every performance. Schuette, who also sold tickets to the show, said tickets nearly sold out Saturday night.

Waa-Mu has several long-standing traditions, including the senior song, which has been a big part of the show since 1979. The senior song is a great way for the senior cast members to say goodbye to NU, Rohn said.

“Those are all my best friends up there, so that’s something that’s really important to me,” she said.

The show ends with the full company in purple and black evening wear, performing the musical number “To the Memories,” a Waa-Mu favorite for more than 50 years.

“We just hope that the audience has a great time and really enjoys the show, whether they see the comedy of sketches or beauty of sets or just enjoy the songs,” Rohn said.

The show will have four more performances Friday through Sunday.

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