More than 20 years coming, the Northwestern University Speech Team had its best year yet. The team has climbed in rank, hosted a new tournament, boasted a Coach of the Year, and built up a program that is sure to see even more success in 2017-18 — all monumental achievements, especially given its size relative to other competitive universities.
It was an unlikely sell in film development circles — a sweeping original musical in the style of old Hollywood. Yet the dogged persistence of producer and Northwestern alumnus Jordan Horowitz paid off. The film in question, La La Land, was made, hit box office gold, and racked up numerous awards and nominations. Horowitz returned to campus on May 23 to screen his captivating film and participate in a post-show discussion moderated by Stephen Cone.
All due respect to Johnny Carson, but this is the golden age of late-night comedy. Satirists and comedians emerged as the arbiters of truth and reason during a trying political season, and continue to challenge and enlighten viewers — as well as those in power. Four big players in the late-night comedy game came to Evanston to delight a packed house with tales from the inside — and advice for how our students can find their way there.
A career in documentary film yields many things: perspective, passport stamps, and footage. Acclaimed filmmaker Kirsten Johnson has much of all three, and given her decades of behind-the-camera-work, a surfeit of the latter — enough to craft an entirely new narrative centered on the beauty, chaos, sadness, and indomitability of the human experience. Johnson, the 2017 Hoffman Professor, screened her film Cameraperson on May 5 at the Block Museum.
Filmmaker Sam Raimi didn’t like horror movies. His brother, though, convinced Raimi that they were the most affordable way to break into the industry Armed with a Super 8 camera and a compelling script, they created the cult hit Evil Dead. Raimi has spanned film and television genres with blockbusters (Spider-Man trilogy), neo-noir thrillers (A Simple Plan), westerns (The Quick and the Dead), and more. Raimi addressed a crowd at Northwestern as the 2016-2017 Wirtz Visiting Artist.
Martha Lavey, who passed away April 25, was the legendary artistic director of Chicago’s groundbreaking Steppenwolf Theatre Company from 1995 to 2015. She was also a Northwestern alumna several times over and a proud recipient of a doctorate in the School of Communication’s Performance Studies program. Faculty and alumni reflect on her legacy, and how her time at Northwestern influenced her career.
It’s a function most people take for granted: the ability to eat, drink and swallow. Yet swallowing disorders (also known as dysphagia) are extraordinarily difficult conditions to live with — and diagnose. Bonnie Martin-Harris, Alice Gabrielle Twight Professor and the School of Communication’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, has spent her career working toward a standardized method of diagnosing and treating dysphagia. She explained her fascinating work at the 2017 Pepper Lecture.
Prolific filmmaker, cultural anthropologist, and School of Communication assistant professor J.P. Sniadecki is part of the class of 2017 Guggenheim fellows, announced April 6. This prestigious honor makes him the sixth such fellowship recipient within the Department of Radio/Television/Film.
School of Communication alumnus Joe Chappelle, director of such hit shows as The Wire, CSI Miami, and Chicago Fire, returned to campus to deliver a directing primer to eager undergraduate module-takers. Chappelle, who received his MFA from the Department of Radio/Television/Film, emphasized the importance of preparedness, amiability, and time management. Oh, and a grasp of the fundamentals certainly helps.
Amy Jordan, University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication associate dean for undergraduate studies, is a singularly accomplished expert in the field of childhood obesity, particularly among low-income families. Basing her research in Philadelphia, she has found that the media can both hurt and help children’s and caregivers’ abilities to make healthy choices — but her efforts have measurably helped, as she explained as this year’s Van Zelst lecturer.
A new addition to our innovative, immersive modular curriculum is most certainly a laughing matter. Through a focused, in-depth track, our students are harnessing the skills and savvy necessary in securing a career in comedy — and at a time in our post-truth culture when the combination of funny and smart is needed most.
The undergraduate cast and management of the 75th Annual Dolphin Show will be taking their act on the road — and far. Through an exciting collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northwestern Students this month will be performing Little Shop of Horrors and leading workshops in five cities throughout the European country.
Northwestern this week hosted the 10-minuted play festival Black Lives, Black Words, a multi-city project that for the first time included a University partner. Students, coached by School of Communication faculty, shared poignant stories to prompt much-needed dialogues about race and young black lives in America.
Hollywood agent and School of Communication alumnus Jeff Jacobs returned to campus in February to speak with students about breaking into Hollywood and, more importantly, staying in the ever-changing game. “How do you break through?” he asks. “You have to be great.” Jacobs’ visit was sponsored by EPICS.
School of Communication alumna, actress, singer, and Sesame Street master puppeteer Stephanie D’Abruzzo occupies many artistic worlds. As she demonstrated to undergraduates last month, creative dexterity — with a healthy dose of playfulness — is the means toward a successful and fulfilling end.
The interdisciplinary Black Arts Initiative aims to study, disseminate, and honor the contributions of artists on campus and beyond through conferences, showcases, dialogues, and film screenings. E. Patrick Johnson, BAI’s founder, director, and the Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies, explains.
TV producer, showrunner, and alumna Mara Brock Akil returned to Northwestern to speak with students about her lifelong love of writing, the value of the occasional misstep, and her mission to give a voice (and screen time) to underrepresented groups. She was welcomed on campus in February as part of the EPICS Connections Speaker Series.
Mary Zimmerman, the Tony Award-winning Northwestern alumna and Jarahis Family Foundation Chair of Performance Studies, spoke to The New York Times about her forthcoming production of Dvorak’s Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera. Zimmerman, a peerless director and adapter of plays and operas, explained the challenges of working between the two mediums, her imaginative style, and what’s on the horizon for her professionally.
Hamid Naficy, the Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in Communication in the Department of Radio/Television/Film, spoke with The Atlantic in the wake of news that the Iranian director of the Oscar-nominated film The Salesman will not be attending the awards ceremony due to Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration. Naficy puts this news in context through the history of Iranian cinema, our complicated political relations, and how art is an invitation to a shared experience.
School of Communication alumna Selina Fillinger (class of ‘16) is a young but promising voice in the Chicago professional theatre community. Her play Faceless, which she developed as an undergraduate in an advanced playwriting sequence, premieres at Northlight Theatre January 26. Faculty mentor Laura Schellhardt was also interviewed for this Chicago Tribune piece.
Four School of Communication faculty were recognized by the University in January for their efforts toward achieving greater diversity, inclusivity, equity, and innovation in the campus community. E. Patrick Johnson received one of two prestigious Provost Awards for Faculty Excellence in Diversity and Equity, and Aymar Jean Christian, Anne Marie Piper, and Liz Gerber were recipients of the Provost Grant for Faculty Innovation in Diversity and Equity.
Communication Studies professor Pablo Boczkowski tells Seeker: “There's always been misinformation. What we have now is an information infrastructure that is very different, with a scale and a scope that we haven't seen before." What does this mean in the age of rapidly growing technological advances? Boczkowski and other media experts explain.
The School of Communication has announced new partnerships with area high schools to introduce our innovative playwriting curriculum to a younger, broader audience — and to recruit a wider array of students to both our NHSI summer program and the University.
School of Communication students participated in a speedy meet-and-greet with Chicago-based entertainment luminaries. Industry leaders specializing in writing, directing, producing, and distribution for major network shows and film initiatives lent their knowledge to undergraduates and graduate students keen on entering the field. The upshot? Right now, Chicago is a great place to be working in entertainment.
Drummer and founding member of the band Smashing Pumpkins, Jimmy Chamberlin, spoke to Northwestern students on Nov. 1 about hard work, his life in music, and moving into a new career. Chamberlin visited campus as part of the EPICS Connections Speaker Series.
The four-class quarter just became optional. The School of Communication announced that is has reduced the number of course credits required of undergraduates to earn a degree, effective immediately. The change was made in response to students’ reported levels of stress, an increase in their interdisciplinary learning, and the desire for more curricular exploration. Majors within the school now have to fulfill 42 credits to earn a bachelor’s of arts or science degree, down from 45.
Emmy-nominated showrunner David Hollander returned to campus to speak with graduate writing students about collaborating on scripts, finding an authentic voice, and landing that big break. Hollander, a class of 1990 alumnus, is the multi-talented force behind Showtime’s Ray Donovan.
Northwestern alumni Nicole Snyder and Eric Charmelo returned to campus to speak to students about careers in television writing — and how the climate to do exciting work has never been better.
Experts and researchers across School of Communication disciplines have joined the Northwestern Community this fall. Please join us in welcoming them.
Molly Losh, professor and researcher in the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, has worked to decode communication challenges in individuals with autism. Now she counts advocacy as part of this work, specifically in helping adults with autism find meaningful employment.
Esteemed alumni returned to campus in September to take part in the inaugural induction ceremony for the Northwestern Debate Society Hall of Achievement. The event was part of a series of reunion events that weekend that included a reception, a debate presentation, football game and tailgate party, and dinner.
The legendary School of Communication alumna made Emmy history Sunday night with a record-breaking sixth lead actress win.
“Nerd Face” emoji? For professors? Ouch. Brent Hecht, a new addition to our Department of Communication Studies, enlightens The Chronicle of Higher Education on the hows and whys of its provenance.
The Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts is expanding, thanks to 8,000 square feet of upgrades and additions to its theatrical facilities. Moreover, a new soundstage in John J. Louis Hall is elevating the study of sound and its creative applications for our undergraduate and graduate students.
As the presidential campaign heats up, journalists are experiencing an entirely new challenge: how to effectively question the Republican nominee. Why? He doesn’t play by the rules, says Harvey Young, chair of the Department of the Theatre and Dance, to a Poynter columnist. Read on for more.
School of Communication assistant professor Elizabeth Gerber explains to the Washington Post why it’s not always easy to part with outdated or broken tech. This comes in the wake of VHS's, well, wake. Read on.
Blame the user, says Eszter Hargittai, April McClain-Delaney and John Delaney Research Professor of Communication Studies. The app that’s sweeping (and irritating) the nation isn’t the problem, users’ judgment of appropriate times and places in which to use it is. She explains in July 22’s Washington Post.
Garry Marshall, proud Northwestern alumnus and great friend to the School of Communication, died on July 19, 2016. He was one of the most respected figures in Hollywood, having coupled a lengthy and lauded career in television and film with legendary kindness, warmth, and humor.
Dr. Sarah C. Bauer, developmental pediatrician, and Megan Roberts, the Jane Steiner Hoffman and Michael Hoffman Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, lead a team offering innovative early-intervention autism diagnosis and treatment. They cowrote a piece for Scientific American explaining why evidence-based medical treatments alongside non-judgmental physician care are more dependable than alternative methods.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (C83, H07), has earned her fifth Emmy nomination (and potentially her fifth win) for her role as President Selina Meyer on the HBO comedy Veep. David Schwimmer (C88) got a well-deserved nod for his role in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. David Hollander (C90) is nominated for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for his work on Ray Donovan.
The Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning welcomes all Northwestern University faculty and staff to visit in the month of July and receive a free hearing test and weeklong hearing aid trial.
J.P. Sniadecki, assistant professor in the Department of Radio/Television/Film, shared his knowledge of the culture of public parks in China with the New York Times. Sniadecki created an acclaimed documentary about one such popular space, titled People’s Park.
The Hollywood Reporter ranked Northwestern at No. 2 on its annual list of the 25 best undergraduate drama schools in the world.
The Sarah Siddons Society and the School of Communication honored alumnus and Broadway (and beyond) star Brian d’Arcy James at a music-filled ceremony on Monday. The event showcased both the best of Northwestern Music Theatre, as well as the life-altering impact of the Siddons Society scholarships.
What makes a great story? What drives a good writer? Is it all about the paycheck? Four industry insiders last week shared tips and stories about careers in the creative arts with School of Communication students. Spoiler alert: it’s all about what keeps you up at night.
One of Hollywood’s most beloved figures is also a loyal Northwestern alumnus. Garry Marshall returned to campus May 10 to screen Mother’s Day and discuss writing, rejection, and why he’ll always have a place in his heart for his alma mater.
The grand opening of the Aphasia Center at the Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning offers innovative programs, services, and hope to those living with the condition, as well as to the family, friends, and community that support them.
Celebrated writer and poet Dael Orlandersmith read from her new play Until the Flood for students and faculty as the 2016 Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Visiting Artist. Orlandersmith’s work tackles the issues facing residents caught in the unrest of the Ferguson, Mo., riots that followed the 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown.
Marshall W. Mason, a class of 1961 School of Communication alumnus, famed producer of Broadway productions, and the founder of New York’s Circle Repertory Company will be receiving a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Tony Award at the annual show on June 12. Sheldon Harnick, Broadway lyricist and class of 1949 Bienen School of Music alumnus, will receive the same award.
Prolific and celebrated documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman recently screened his newest film, In Jackson Heights, at Northwestern. The film was followed by an insightful, endearing discussion with the artist, who is the 2016 Hoffman Professor for Documentary Media, a short-term filmmaker residency.