A completely original, collaborative musical takes a while to create. Shaping the story, writing its music, casting, rehearsals and finally putting on the show is an endeavor that takes the entire year. Although last year the pandemic forced Waa-Mu to pivot to Zoom, this year allowed members of the Waa-Mu team to take their time and use both old and new methods in their musical creation process.
“This year, we knew we were going to have to make the show virtual, but we had months and months of warning,” said Communication junior Bennett Petersen, who was a writing coordinator for the show. “Rather than doing just a live Zoom reading, we decided that this year, we were going to film it and edit it together.”
This ultimately took the form of every cast member individually recording their parts and then cutting it altogether to make one spectacular show.
Although they had time to plan, writing music as part of a team was tricky to accomplish when not everyone was in the same space, according to Communication senior Pallas Gutierrez, one of this year’s co-chairs.
“It’s obviously a little harder because we didn't have the same access to school campus spaces and materials that we usually did. So we had to rely on instruments people already had, all while working across huge distances.”
Nonetheless, the team pulled together to create this year’s show, The Secret of Camp Elliott, a story that tackles themes of friendship and growing up as it follows teenagers who end up at a summer camp where everything is not as it seems.
Petersen said about creating the story with his team, “I think that the biggest thing we wanted to do with this year’s show was provide an escape from life, because life is kind of crazy.”
Wes D’Alelio, a Communication sophomore who was also involved in the writing process, emphasized the writing team’s attention to positivity, saying “watching a show like this will hopefully just bring a smile to the faces of people who have been missing a really fun summer camp with normal experiences.”
A bit of the new and a bit of the old came together to create the 90th annual Waa-Mu show, with a story that Petersen said “you can enjoy and laugh at and still come away with a really important message about what it means to grow up, and what it means to for your relationships to change.”
The Secret of Camp Elliot will run virtually June 9-20. Tickets and more information available here.