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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.•

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  • 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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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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