Waa-Mu changes pitching process, selects 88th show


Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

Vy Duong, Reporter


Living five minutes away from one another in their New Jersey neighborhood, Communication junior Carly Mazer and Communication sophomore Lauren Katz never thought they would share “the same brain” as partners until they decided to team up and pitch an idea for the 88th Annual Waa-Mu Show.

Facetime calls over the summer led to their first official pitch meeting, in which the two combined Mazer’s curiosity about female “decoders” during the Cold War and Katz’s passion for counter-storytelling. When their proposal was selected by the Waa-Mu panel, the show took its first step to becoming a reality.

Communication junior Olivia Worley, the public relations director of Waa-Mu, said the pitching process for 2019 show has major differences from past years, in which head writers assigned by faculty members came up with the idea for the entire show. Now, Worley said anyone can pitch and write for the show without having to take a quarter-long writing class.

“The idea is to make it more community-focused and to have a show the entire student body can get behind, instead of just a small group of students selected by faculty,” Worley said.

Mazer and Katz, the co-writing coordinators for The Waa-Mu Show this year, said the original idea of telling the untold story of female NSA decoders during the Cold War received positive feedback from the panel. When they were asked to widen the scope to include more female voices, Katz took a suggestion from her English professor and developed the pitch to center around a New York Times journalist’s project to write obituaries for remarkable women who did not receive one when they died.

“We did a bunch of research, found other women we hadn’t even noticed…and gave (the story) the modern twist,” Katz said. “It all came together. We stuck to our original idea in some sense. It’s gonna be a fine balance that I’m really excited to discover through this process.”

Both Katz and Mazer said they wanted to shine a spotlight on stories that might have been erased from history and give those voices a platform to be heard.

Apart from her and Mazer, Katz said the primary writing team will include the Waa-Mu co-chairs and twelve other students. Katz added once the plot is outlined and shared with the Northwestern community, people can continue to submit music, pieces of lyrics or scenes, which she said will be “a huge element of inclusivity.”

Mazer said since this year’s show draws inspiration from so many different stories, she’s looking forward to collaborating with the other Waa-Mu contributors. Katz added the new pitching process will encourage collective involvement from the entire Northwestern community.

“There’s something so special about different minds coming together and those moments in which everything clicks and (then) those moments where there’s just a mass of confusion, but it always gets resolved in one way or another,” Katz said.

Worley said despite Waa-Mu’s exclusive reputation, she hopes people realize it is becoming more inclusive and will not be afraid to get involved in the show.

“I just think it’s a really warm and welcoming community that’s really excited to help undergrads get experience in writing for a musical,” Worley said. “It’s great people to be around, a great learning experience and I hope as many people want to take advantage of that as possible.”

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