Friday, March 15, 2013

The Faces of Follies: A First Year’s Inside Look

With auditions this past week (and a fun karaoke event last week to get the Booth community excited), the Harper Center has been abuzz about Follies. With a multitude of ways for students to get involved, whether it's singing, writing, dancing, or producing, Follies is an excellent way to showcase the talent we have at Booth (and we have fun doing so!). Check out footage from last year's show on the Follies YouTube channel.


Follies. It’s an essential part of the business school experience. This is the annual extravaganza of musicals, skits, dance numbers, scripted videos and anything else that will entertain an audience of razor sharp tongue-in-cheek business school students. At Booth, the show is set for May 10th, which gives us all enough time to properly reflect on what makes us unique, and sometimes tragically funny, to an outsider looking in. This is one of the biggest events on campus that fully engages both the first- and second-year classes; for the second-years, it is a sort of farewell ode to the past 2 magnificent years, and for first-years, it is a milestone celebration of endurance. For everyone, it is the chance to prove to the people you rubbed shoulders with in crop circles or sort of met on the Metra that you have real talents (being a Powerpoint deck master doesn’t count).

I am a first-year who was lucky enough to get involved with Follies from the very beginning. I was first introduced to Follies during Admit Weekend, and being a big fan of musicals and improv, I knew this was something that I wanted to be a part of. As far as I know, Follies is the first student group to recruit for first-year co-chairs, and the first-year co-chairs were already actively involved in the planning and coordination of the show as early as the beginning of the winter quarter. The content of the show is written by a group of students, which collectively form the Creative Team, who meets biweekly to brainstorm ideas and performs scripts out loud. Over time, an overall theme emerges, and it always highlights an irony or dynamic within Booth that everyone recognizes. This year, the theme, or title of the show, is still kept under wraps, but rest assured that no matter what the theme is, hundreds of Boothies will unite for one hilarious night to poke fun at ourselves and our experiences.

Together, the team of 7 first- and second-year co-chairs manages not only the creative process but also the mountain of logistical, financial and marketing aspects of the show. We have some support from the Graduate Business Council and the Booth administration, but we need to make sure that we are getting sponsorships and driving ticket sales proactively. More importantly, we need to manage the sheer number of people involved in the show, from actors and dancers to the writers and technicians. I’m looking forward to being on the other side of the judging process during auditions when dozens of Boothies hoping for a break in Hollywood (that’s Plan D after banking, consulting and entrepreneurship) will give their best shot at Follies stardom. Since this is an entirely student-produced and student-funded show, spring quarter will be extremely busy with coordinating marketing and selling efforts and making sure that everything and everyone is set for the big day. After all, we have to uphold our high caliber reputation among the top-tier business schools not JUST in academics but also when it comes to bringing down the house with a well-timed musical parody.

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