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Arts & Entertainment

Villy Wang ’90 JD founded the Bayview-Hunters Point Center for Arts and Technology (BAYCAT), a nonprofit social enterprise in San Francisco that helps young people from low-income communities capture and tell untold stories and create social change.

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Jody Gerson ’83, the first woman to be named CEO of a major music publishing company, wields enormous influence in the entertainment industry as chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group. She has transformed UPMG into a billion-dollar–plus company.

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After overcoming adversity in her own life, Jade Maze ’08 MMus is mentoring promising musicians at the Merit School of Music, a community music school in Chicago that serves talented youth in its tuition-free college-prep conservatory.

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Pulitzer Prize–winning author and Northwestern professor of English Natasha Trethewey’s beloved mother died decades ago, and yet her grave, down in Mississippi, remains unmarked by a headstone. The reasons for this are varied and complicated, and they speak to the essence of Trethewey, one of the most acclaimed poets of our time.

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A chance encounter at a used-book store sent Brigid Hughes ’94 on a mission to rescue the forgotten work of a once-celebrated Chicago author. Bette Howland was “one of the significant writers of her generation” in the words of Saul Bellow ’37, ’62 H, but her work had nearly been lost to history when Hughes came across her 1974 memoir, W-3.

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Last month, when Jayne Atkinson stepped out on opening night in her one-woman show, Ann, you first noticed the swirl of white hair. How could you miss it?

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Benjamin Dreyer, author of Dreyer’s English, talks about finding the voice for his best-selling book on Twitter. The Random House copy chief also discusses his writing pet peeves and reveals what he learned about editing from working on scripts.

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In its 50th season, the colorful world of Sesame Street is still teaching and entertaining children, thanks in part to a purple pipeline of talent. Many Northwestern alumni have been involved in the show and in the larger Sesame universe, from writing and puppet creation to social impact and fundraising.

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Gear Shift

Summer 2019
The fantastical set and projection design stole the show in the Northwestern University Opera Theater adaptation of Igor Stravinsky’s opera The Rake’s Progress. The work was inspired by a series of William Hogarth paintings and engravings that Stravinsky viewed at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1947.

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Lee Overtree presides over one of the best improv talent incubators around — just ask any savvy kid under 12. “Our secret is that we don’t think of it as making comedy for kids; we think of it as making comedy for each other.”

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peter mcnerney and joanna simmons