Law students write, perform musical

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At the end of the 2011 spring semester, the Student Bar Association at Indiana University Maurer School of Law invited Professor Ryan Scott to give the Last Lecture. Scott brought a keyboard and played a song for the students, and he followed his performance with a proposal. In his lecture, Scott made the case that the next school year, the law students should put on a musical. This proposed musical would be the first original musical production in the history of the law school. Scott participated in a student-run musical while attending the University of Minnesota Law School, and he found it to be one of the most rewarding experiences of his law school career.

“Students come to law school with all sorts of talents and interesting backgrounds, and they don’t always have the opportunities to showcase these talents,” Scott said. Giving students the opportunity to write, direct, produce and perform in a production such as this musical was a way to help the students find a means of expressing their creativity and finding some balance between their academic and personal lives.

“If you can’t find balance in your law school career, I think you lose something important,” Scott said.

At the beginning of the 2011 fall semester, an email of interest was circulated to IU law students from Scott to see who might want to participate in the show. A call-out meeting followed. Although about 70 students attended that meeting, only about half ended up participating.

The schedule of tasks for staging the musical was created with the year’s academic schedule in mind. The writing of the musical was completed during the fall, and the performance was to be held in the spring semester so that it would be over before final exams. Drew Tharp, one of the directors of the show, was happy with his decision to participate, even after he decided to take the bar exam early in February.

“There were a few times I was worried about making the commitment,” he said, but “the musical was stress relief. It was a nice break from studying for the bar.”

iu law school Karen Wrenbeck as “Minnie Minaj,” Ken Burleson as “Gary Trotter,” and EJ Henricks as “Lebron Sneazley” perform in the student-written law school musical. (IBJ Photo/Kate Buckley)

The students who participated in the musical appreciated the camaraderie and fun it provided. Darrian Campbell, who was both a writer and director of the show, found value in expressing his creativity through writing.

“I’m thankful to have something outside of the rigors of law school to relieve [the] stress,” he said.

Karen Wrenbeck, who was both a producer and an actor in the show, liked how it helped her interact with more of the student body.

“I don’t know that I would have met all these awesome, hilarious 1Ls” if not for her participation in the musical, she said.

“Gary Trotter and the Parody Exception: The Law School Musical,” ran on March 2 and 3 in the law school’s Moot Courtroom. The student-written show, which was a parody of the “Harry Potter” books, followed the exploits of Gary Trotter as he is accepted into Mogwarts, a magical law school.

Opening night was a success. Parodies of both pop songs and show tunes were performed energetically by the show’s cast and musical team, such as “Network ’til the world ends,” a spoof of a Britney Spears song. Jokes comparing law school to high school, and songs about writing briefs and memos and the glamour of living in southern Indiana had the audience laughing in the courtroom and talking at intermission about how funny the show was.

Next year, Campbell said, the students will try to make sure early in the process that more of the school is aware of the musical. Even though about 35 students participated, he said some law students approached him the week leading up to the premiere, saying they wished they had heard about the show earlier so they could have participated. Considering how full the house was both nights, the students might also need a larger venue next year.•


  • Next Starkid?
    Any chance I could see this musical on youtube?
  • Law school musical
    Glad to read of the law school musical.The students AND faculty at Valparaiso Law School have performed many successful musical parodies combined with a formal fundraising dinner for alumni. Perhaps their experience might be explored when planning future Mauer Law School performances.

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  2. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

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  4. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  5. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.