Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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City Council approves $2 million grant application to renovate Hilda’s Place, talks Evanston Dog Beach accessibility access
City Council expands guaranteed income program, exempts athletic fields from leaf blower ordinance
Body recovered in Lake Michigan, EPD examining identity of body
Evanston’s ‘Seeds of Change’ theme inspires unity at Fourth of July parade
Lawsuit against Pritzker School of Law alleges its hiring process discriminates against white men
Evanston Fire concludes recovery search and rescue efforts for missing swimmer after ‘exhausting’ all resources
Independent review of athletics department released, puts forth key recommendations
Perry: A little humility goes a long way

Brew, Hou, Leung, Pandey: On being scared to tweet and the pressure to market yourself as a student journalist

June 4, 2024

Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

June 4, 2024

Independent review of athletics department released, puts forth key recommendations

Northwestern hosts groundbreaking ceremony at Ryan Field construction site

June 25, 2024

Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins

June 13, 2024


The secret (and short) lives of cicadas on campus

NU Declassified: Prof. Barbara Butts teaches leadership through stage management

Everything Evanston: Behind the boba in downtown Evanston

Podculture: So You Think You Can StuCo



Here in Evanston, the show can, will and must go on. In this episode of Podculture, we talk to freshmen about their experience with the fall audition process and break down the starting bits of Northwestern’s theater culture.  

VIRGINIA HUNT: More than anything, what do you hope to get out of the audition experience?

DARIUS DAUGHTRY: *chuckles* A role.



* music*

VIRGINIA HUNT: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Virginia Hunt. This is Podculture, 

a podcast about arts and culture on campus and beyond.

NAT SOUND–people singing and discussing

It’s showtime. Every fall, an influx of performers flood the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts. They’re here to audition for a variety of productions through a process known as “generals.” 

The Student Theatre Coalition, also known as “StuCo,” and Wirtz are the two major organizations that students can audition for. StuCo is undergraduate-student-run, while Wirtz collaborates with graduate students and the greater Evanston and Chicago communities.

Sarah Charles Lewis is one of many freshmen who has prepared for this year’s late fall audition cycle. We caught up with her right after her audition. 

SARAH CHARLES LEWIS: I definitely was anxious and nervous auditioning for a bunch of upperclassmen. That’s always scary. I’ve done theater my whole life in high school. And I was just excited to go in there and show them what I got.

VIRGINIA HUNT: Lewis’s brother, a Northwestern grad, raved about StuCo and the Northwestern theater community. He inspired her to join, and after…

SARAH CHARLES LEWIS: … I practice a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot …

VIRGINIA HUNT: …today was the day.

The audition requirements are minimal. 

SARAH CHARLES LEWIS: Two contrasting cuts of a song from a musical.

They don’t have time to listen to every single person sing a five minute song. You cut it to 32 bars, which is about a minute. So you’re in and out in basically two minutes. 

VIRGINIA HUNT: Lewis doesn’t want to stop at being onstage. She hopes to go behind the scenes.

SARAH CHARLES LEWIS: Here at Northwestern, this is a very unique institution where we can explore all of our interests. As mainly a performer, I’m very interested in learning more about writing and composing and directing and stage managing and just all the things that go into all aspects of theater.

VIRGINIA HUNT: Lewis isn’t the only one trying to explore their many interests. Freshman Darius Daughtry is using these auditions to continue a passion from high school, even though theater isn’t at all related to his academic pursuits. 

DARIUS DAUGHTRY: I’m actually a journalism major, but I’m really interested in musical theater. It’s something I loved to do in high school, so I just love to be a part of something like that here in college as well.

VIRGINIA HUNT: We talked with Daughtry before his audition about how he was feeling and how he prepared.

DARIUS DAUGHTRY: Right now I feel decent enough. I would say I’m probably not the best prepared for auditions but at least for me I warm up by just doing the song I’m gonna do over and over again. I’m not a huge fan of exercises, maybe I should do more but I just like getting the repetition more than anything, for sure. 

VIRGINIA HUNT: The theater community fosters a unique space for Daughtry.

DARIUS DAUGHTRY (with nat sound of vocals in back): You’re part of something bigger. It requires practice, which means being with those people a lot. And generally speaking, theater people, they’re very outgoing and very friendly so I’ve definitely made a lot of friends doing it.

VIRGINIA HUNT: Throughout this final week of September, callbacks and open calls will be continuing as cast lists are whittled down and announced. 

But for some like Daughtry, seeing their name on the cast list isn’t the most meaningful part of the process.

DARIUS DAUGHTRY: Probably the biggest thing I would say is controlling nerves. It’s definitely ten times more intimate than when you’re doing an actual performance, so I would say composure is the biggest thing that you can probably get out of auditioning.

VIRGINIA HUNT: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Virginia Hunt. Thanks for listening to another episode of Podculture. This episode was reported and produced by me, Virginia Hunt. The audio editors of The Daily Northwestern are myself and Lily Shen, the digital managing editors are Scott Hwang and Laura Simmons, and the editor in chief is Avani Kalra. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.


Email: [email protected]


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Podculture: ‘I can be happy and trans’: Queer students find joy in music

Podculture: The fabric of Northwestern Theater

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