50th Annual Law Revue Show
In the 50th annual Law Revue show, the fictitious and nefarious Columbia vice dean Winston Weiner plots a coup when Dean David Schizer embarks on a world tour to visit alumni. Stroking a white cat in true Bond-villain style, Dean Weiner strikes a deal with the devil, played with sultry charm by Laura González ’09: In exchange for Dean Weiner’s soul, Columbia will become the nation’s top-rated law school. As with all Faustian bargains, things do not go according to plan.
Directed with wit and anything-goes glee by Adam M. Sparks ’08, “Arthur Diamonds Are Forever” (which, despite the title, had nothing to do with Professor Arthur Diamond) was peppered with enough pop culture references to fill an issue of the Onion. As the bustling opener (set to the strains of “At the End of the Day” from Les Miserables) segued into the title sequence, where Joy Chia ’07, crooning “Arthur Diamonds Are Forever,” perfectly mimicked singer Shirley Bassey, it was clear that this evening would be a genre-hopping affair.
Granted seven wishes to advance his plan, Dean Weiner (Max Miller ’09) first opts to hire the greatest legal minds from history, but he encounters many obstacles. Socrates teaches only in Greek and, earning one of the biggest laughs of the night from the packed house, a sheepish law student admits to the beleaguered vice dean, “Oliver Wendell Holmes sterilized me,” a reference to Holmes’ unfortunate decision in Buck v. Bell.
Next, an over-eager grade-grubber known as the Gunner (Andrew Cohen ’07) suggests to Dean Weiner that the Law School’s reputation will receive a boost from a little territorial expansion: By eminent domain, he says, Columbia has a legal right to take over Harlem. The devil sees to it that this plot and others fail, while a group of students, learning that the school is in danger, descend into the bowels of the earth to confront the devil in hell. There they encounter Dick Cheney (Adam Sparks), Anna Nicole Smith (Diana Marter ’09), and Professor Tim Wu (Hadi Khatib ’09), who is passing through the underworld on his way to the Burning Man Festival.
The fast-moving script brimmed with legal details and digressions that even non-law students could enjoy, thanks to the heavily footnoted program. It yielded definitions of “a springing interest” (a future interest held by a grantee for property owned by the grantor) and a brief account of the trial of Urbain Grandier (a priest put on trial for witchcraft by Cardinal Richelieu), among others.
In the end, the vice dean finds his humanity: His last wish is that Columbia Law School return to its former state. The devil grants the wish but assigns Dean Wiener to eternal hellfire.
But help is on the way! Dean Schizer (Shiwon Choe ’07) appears, ostensibly visiting alumni lawyers in hell. He threatens to tax every penny of the devil’s ill-gotten wealth, and she sensibly agrees to cough up the vice dean rather than face the wrath of the IRS.
Says the glowing Dean Schizer, “I’m not just a dean; I’m a tax attorney.”
Laura Gonzalez '09 as the devil and Shiwon Choe '07 as Dean Schizer
Professor Peter Strauss took the stage at the Law Revue. Also performing were (left to right) Andrew Cohen '07, Max Miller '09, and Stefanie Ramirez '07.
Jason Canavan '07 (left) and Jonathan Reich '07
Photos by Peter Dressel