Law School Musical

Law students took center stage this weekend to show their hidden talents.

by Carly Schramm

More than 100 University of Minnesota law students prepared for more than 60 hours for Friday and Saturday night, but this performance wasnâÄôt by the books. The students let their creative and musical talents shine through with their rendition of William ShakespeareâÄôs âÄúA Midsummer NightâÄôs DreamâÄù this weekend at the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. The eighth annual musical was a product of the Theatre of the Relatively Talentless student organization put on by Minneapolis-based law firm Leonard, Street and Deinard. The drama-filled and comedic âÄúA Midsemester NightâÄôs DreamâÄù was set in the Mondale Hall law library and featured a âÄúlove quadrangleâÄù between the L1s (first-year law students), with third-year law students trying to intervene. The musical was written, directed and produced by current University law students, who were also encouraged to sing, act and dance regardless of performing ability. âÄú[WeâÄôre] able to make fun of the law school,âÄù co-producer Michael Pangborn said. âÄúThis is our one weekend to have fun.âÄù Law students wanted a âÄúcreative release and a chance to do something other than law,âÄù Pangborn said, so TORT made its debut in 2003. Past performances have included âÄúItâÄôs a Wonderful Law School,âÄù âÄúRobin Hood, Esq.âÄù and âÄúFrankenlaw,âÄù which featured influential figures from former Vice President Walter Mondale to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. This yearâÄôs musical featured another cameo by Mondale at Friday nightâÄôs performance, as well as various University law professors and Law School Dean David Wippman. The musical also featured a play within a play, in which the TORT cast, acting as themselves, put on a play that would save Mondale Hall. Even though it ended in disaster, the Law School was still saved. The musical is a 12-month process, play director Allison Lange said. The script is written by TORT students over the summer and auditions are held during the fall. Biweekly rehearsals began in late January and increased in frequency as the event approached. The cast and crew put roughly 60 hours of their precious study time into rehearsal each year, and most consider this an opportunity to put down the books and have a good time. âÄúItâÄôs a fun creative outlet and a break from the monotony of law school,âÄù second-year law student David Couillard said. Not only is the musical a âÄúcreative releaseâÄù but also a chance to develop a stage presence and practice public speaking. It is also a way to develop a sense of community between first-year and third-year law students, Lange said. âÄúYou get to know people on a totally different level,âÄù 26-year-old law student Annie Kahn said. The musicalâÄôs repertoire of songs ranged from parodies of Lil JonâÄôs âÄúGet LowâÄù to ABBAâÄôs âÄúDancing Queen.âÄù âÄúThe music is always great,âÄù Mondale said. âÄúItâÄôs always fresh.âÄù