U law students put spin on ‘Wonka’

This was the third annual musical production by the Law School.

Naomi Scott

Charlie Bucket dreamed of winning a golden ticket so he could attend Walter Wonka’s Lawyer Factory and help “the little guy” by becoming a good-hearted lawyer.

Charlie got his ticket to law school and suffered through the L-SAT, sat through boring lectures on contracts and ate a lot of pizza.

Law students, professors and even a former U.S. vice president poked fun at the law school experience Thursday at the St. Paul Student Center.

“Walter Wonka and the Lawyer Factory” was the third annual musical production by the University Law School’s Theatre of the Relatively Talentless.

Approximately 370 people filled the student center’s theater to watch Charlie, played by first-year law student Trevor Helmers, go through the process of applying to, enrolling in and graduating from Walter Wonka’s Lawyer Factory.

Those in attendance said they were impressed with the students’ theatrical abilities.

“The voices are exceptionally good,” said Warren Spannaus, a former Minnesota state attorney general. “Mondale and I are very impressed with them.”

Walter Mondale, who made a cameo appearance in the production for the third-consecutive year, said he was impressed with the student-run quality of the show.

“These are all law students,” Mondale said. “It’s really fascinating stuff.”

More than 50 law students were involved in the acting, music and production aspects of the play. Law School professors also made cameo appearances.

Al Vredeveld, a law student and co-producer of the play, said work on each production begins soon after the previous production finishes.

A committee then picks a familiar theme. This year, it chose to parody the story of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”

Leega Loompas danced around the stage, making fun of the Oompa Loompas from the “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” movie.

The cast sang lyrics about litigation and torts to the tunes of popular songs such as “We Are the Champions,” “Uptown Girl” and “Y.M.C.A.”

Bobak Ha’Eri, a second-year law student and co-producer of the play, said all three productions of “Walter Wonka and the Lawyer Factory” are sold out. Ha’Eri, who is also a Minnesota Daily columnist, said more than 1,000 tickets have been sold.

Seth Haskell, a second-year law student and audience member, said he thought the play was really fun.

“It’s something in law school you can do that’s a little more light-hearted,” he said. “You can make fun of yourself and the professors.”

Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar will make a cameo today, and Hennepin County District Judge Stephen Aldrich will make an appearance in Saturday’s production.

“Walter Wonka and the Lawyer Factory” runs at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the St. Paul Student Center. Tickets are $10.