There’s this weird tradition in American law schools that seems particularly out of place in a world of musty casebooks, crippling workloads, and reflexively competitive people. Every year, all across this great nation of ours, future litigators, judges, educators, and businessmen stop studying, put on stage makeup, and pretend like they’re actors in the strange, sometimes scary ritual of legal education we call Law Revue.
Law Revue is a full-length original musical parody of law school. It is, far and away, my favorite thing about getting my J.D.
I fell all over myself to volunteer when my boss asked me if I wanted to blog about Law Revue. As one of the writers, performers, directors, and producers of this year’s show (I’m kind of a Law Revue gunner), I’ve found it to be one of the most important parts of my second year in law school. BACK TO THE NYUTURE was, in my completely unbiased opinion, one of the best Revues staged at NYU in recent memory–and a truly astonishing amount of work went into getting to curtain. After all, the show’s completely new. Every. Single. Year.
It all starts in August, when a crack team of nine brave men and women buy a bunch of beer, sit in a room, and start making lists of everything about law school worth making fun of (it is a very long list, and very easy to write). This list becomes a plot outline; the plot outline becomes a script; the script becomes a full-on 2.5-hour original masterpiece of musical theater complete with over a dozen parodied pop, rock, and show tunes, multiple video scripts, and a gripping, detailed (mostly coherent) storyline. You’d be surprised how long this iterative process takes; while it’s a huge amount of fun, the effort to fill two and a half hours with consistently funny content that won’t get us in trouble with the administration is a task of truly monumental proportions…but sometime before December exams, the six producers (yes, we call our student group leaders producers, and no, they don’t invest money) get a finished script.
After that, things start moving quickly. The show is cast. Rehearsals start. We bring on tech superstars, stage crew, set designers, a small army of choreographers, a full pit band, videographers, video editors…in sum, nearly 100 NYU Law students are involved by the time dress rehearsals start. Over spring break, we hang lights, build sets, and start the arduous, all-day rehearsals anyone who remotely touched high school theater will fondly remember as “Hell Week.” The result of all this hard work? Four incredible–INCREDIBLE–performances in NYU Law’s 450-seat Tishman Auditorium. This year had it all: guest faculty appearances, a steaming parody of “The Cellblock Tango,” time-traveling 3Ls, an anthropomorphized Constitution…you know what? I’m just gonna post some more pictures.
Revue is much more than just a show, though. It is an incredible community (most of my best friends came out of 1L Law Revue) of insanely talented people. It is a creative outlet in a sea of academic articles and case law. It is a source of sometimes-dauntingly-endless free food and drink. Perhaps most poignantly, however, it is a balancing force in a very unbalanced time in one’s life. In an environment so often myopically focused (and perhaps rightly so) on chasing that next gold star and checking that next box on the to-do list of life, it is remarkably liberating to have something completely, totally useless on your resume–something that serves no other purpose than to bring yourself and others joy, to make people laugh, to remind everyone–cast and audience both–that sometimes it’s okay to just put down the casebook, pick up a microphone, and have a ridiculously good time.
Sad you missed it? You should be. But no fear! We’ll all be on stage next year. Until then, here’s a link to one of the music videos we made this year—so you can enjoy the awesomeness of Law Revue from the comfort of your own home! ~*MAGIC*~