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2018 Year in Review: Our top A&E stories

January 1, 2019

2018 Year in Review

In 2018, The Daily’s Arts and Entertainment staff sat down with talented alumni featured in breakout films and bestselling novels, captured a star-studded CommFest gala and explored on-campus student theater and music scenes. Here are our top Arts and Entertainment stories and Monthly features.


76th annual Dolphin Show ‘Ragtime’ premieres in Cahn Auditorium

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

The 76th annual Dolphin Show, “Ragtime,” premiered in January on the Cahn Auditorium stage. The classic turn-of-the-century musical addresses racism and prejudice through three different storylines of characters living in New York City. The production of the show involved more than 150 students and had a budget of nearly $90,000. Read more here

Northwestern alumni reunite for a one-night celebration of School of Communication’s star-studded legacy

On April 21, the brand-new Ryan Fieldhouse was transformed into an Oscar-worthy setting for “A Starry Night,” the climax of a weekend-long celebration and fundraiser for the School of Communication. Northwestern alum Stephen Colbert (Communication ’86) hosted the gala show, which showcased accomplished NU students and other famous alumni such as Brian d’Arcy James (Communication ’90), Kathryn Hahn (Communication ’95) and Heather Headley (Communication ’97). Read more here

87th annual Waa-Mu show captures spirit of collaboration onstage

Daily file photo by Alison Albelda

The 87th annual Waa-Mu Show, “Manhattan Miracle,” presented a dramatized story of the production of the first-ever American musical. The student-written show told a story of collaboration and creativity, mirroring the process that goes on behind the scenes of Waa-Mu. “Manhattan Miracle” ran May 4 through 13 in Cahn Auditorium. Read more here


Backstage Pass: How Dillo Day 2018 Came to Life

Dillo Day 2018 featured indie-rock headliner Young the Giant, R&B artist Daniel Caesar and Chicago-born rapper CupcakKe, among other artists. Student funk band Wop St. Bass Ritual also secured a spot in the lineup after winning Battle of the Bands. The annual Lakefill concert took place on June 2. Read more here

Created by and for music lovers, The .WAV Company grows its presence on campus

Source: Maytham Al-Zayer

2018 saw the inception of The .WAV Company, a student-led music initiative that quickly garnered popularity throughout Winter and Spring Quarter. The group, founded by Communication junior Gibran Wirjawan and Weinberg junior William Ouyang, had between 150 and 200 members in May 2018. Wirjawan said the collective aims to build a community of student musicians and music lovers through weekly concerts and workshops. Read more here


‘Paint the Eyes Softer’ features local mummy and student research

Daily file photo by Brian Meng

From Jan. 13 to April 22, a nearly 2,000 year-old Egyptian mummy was showcased at The Block Museum as a component of “Paint the Eyes Softer,” an exhibition of ancient panel portraits from the Fayum region of Egypt. The exhibition also included findings from an interdisciplinary student research seminar that studied the composition of the mummy. Read more here


Novelist Gillian Flynn on breaking female character stereotypes in her books, shows and films

Internationally acclaimed novelist Gillian Flynn (MSJ ’97), a Medill alum, accredits her literary success in part to her journalism education. Her three bestselling novels, “Sharp Objects,” “Gone Girl” and “Dark Places,” have all been adapted for television or film. Read more here

Matt Bellassai leaves Buzzfeed to create a podcast, write memoir

YouTube personality Matt Bellassai (Medill ’12) also studied journalism at NU, though his journey led him away from traditional news writing. Bellassai is best known for his BuzzFeed Video series “Whine About It.” Since leaving BuzzFeed in 2012, he has branched out to create a podcast and pen a novel. Read more here

For Greg Berlanti, coming out was hard. In ‘Love, Simon,’ he rewrites his happy ending

Source: Ben Rothstein

Director Greg Berlanti (Communication ’94) said his experience at NU directly impacted his work in the production of “Love, Simon.” Berlanti, who is gay, said he relates to fear that the closeted main character feels in the film. The director said he felt a sense of obligation to bring a gay love story with a happy ending to the big screen. Read more here

The genial John Krasinksi shakes up horror in his first foray into the genre

“A Quiet Place” was one of the top horror films of 2018, but for John Krasinski, the movie was a love letter to his kids. Krasinski had never forayed into the horror genre before working on “A Quiet Place,” but he said there was something about the family dynamic that made the script impossible to refuse. The actor and director said he went “all-in” on the film, which grossed $50 million at the box office on opening weekend. Read more here

Margaret Atwood

Daily file photo by Brian Meng

NU chose Margaret Atwood’s dystopian bestseller, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” as the 2018-2019 One Book One Northwestern selection. Atwood spoke to a sold-out audience in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall on Oct. 30. The author addressed the novel’s relevance in the current political climate and encouraged students to vote early and often. Read more here