Libel Show "Exposes" Law School

March 29, 2006
Libel Show
John Doyle (L-R), Rob Weiss, Frank Thorn (as Thomas Jefferson), and others opened the show.

Cohen and profs

Prof. George Cohen, center, led the faculty response.

Students took satiric aim at the Law School last week through the 98th annual Libel Show, a musical sketch comedy production that raises funds for public interest fellowships while poking fun at faculty, administrators, and students.

"I thought the show was a tremendous success this year," said producer Andrea Parisi, a third-year law student. "The cast and crew worked hard and really believed in what we were doing, which is essential for putting on a great show. We also did a lot of new things this year-quick changes and short scenes. We just kept the show moving along and kept the audience engaged-they never knew what was coming next."

"Law School Exposed" mocked "The People's Court," the annual Public Interest Law Association (PILA) fundraiser, problems with online course enrollment, and Thomas Jefferson, among other things, and included musical numbers "The Day the Wireless Died" (set to the tune of "American Pie") and "Grades Are a Mystery" (Madonna's "Like a Prayer"). Nearly 200 students participated in the show, including 143 who acted and danced on the Caplin Auditorium stage.

"We tried to up the bar on every element," Parisi said. Many students brought experience in professional theater productions to the table. "Every part of the show impressed the audience. We even had people ask us if the band was professionally hired."

The "junta" of students most heavily involved in the show plan and write the production in the fall, then hold auditions early in the spring semester. The Libel Show sold out its Thursday and Friday shows, and Wednesday's show nearly followed suit. "We sold out Thursday's show in an hour-that's unheard of," Parisi said.

Funds raised from ticket sales and law firm sponsorship pay the show's bills, and near the end of the school year the show donates remaining funds to PILA, an amount that last year totaled $4,000.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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