Along with a few other activities—Beyond doubt, the Triangle Show at Princeton and the Hasty Pudding Show at Harvard were classier ventures, because Princeton and Harvard were classier schools.
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The Varsity Show exploited both to maximum comic effect by burlesquing the convoluted, melodramatic plots of operettas.
Try following this excerpt from the synopsis of The plot of the play hinges on the trials and tribulations of Bintulu, the Khan of the mythical island Kathan, which is laid somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Everyone, of course, knows about Rodgers; they also know that Oscar Hammerstein II C1916 and Lorenz Hart C1918 were Varsity Show alumni as well.
Here, certainly, were near-ideal working conditions; here, possibly, was an opportunity that could be of incalculable help in furthering my career.
For several years afterward, profits from Strollers shows, with titles like wrote in 1893, "This, it would seem to any clear-headed and reasonable person, should be the first aim of a dramatic club."But an odious process soon took hold: the Strollers began keeping for themselves the money they raised. In the fall of 1893, widespread approval greeted the announcement that a new group, the Columbia College Musical Society, would present an original musical extravaganza, written and performed exclusively by students, to benefit the Columbia College Athletic Union. Murchison (Architecture 1894), debuted on April 2, 1894. "The Columbia College Musical Society covered itself with glory as with a garment at the Academy last night by its brilliant performance," wrote the [A]ll sorts of things are burlesqued, from Mark Antony's address to the Romans . The skirt dancers who have invaded the modern stage are more than burlesqued; they are imitated and even rivaled by the exceeding lightness and grace of the dance. set the pattern, namely, a satirical period piece laden with contemporary references, e.g.
Worse, they filled their ranks with professional actors and other non-student types. [W]e have among us several men who, individually or collectively, are capable of writing an original burlesque. If Columbia men would only give this subject consideration; if they would get together and do a little talking and planning and acting, they could easily form a nucleus from which might develop a strong and powerful dramatic organization, to serve the ends we have spoken of. the "All-France Football Team." In short order ancient Egyptians, swashbucklers, Romans, American Indians, Arab viziers, and other colorful figures appeared to regale the audiences. Kelley C1907, and "Washington Snow," in reality none other than Oscar Hammerstein. In (1903), the queen of the planet Venus and her entourage fall for Earthmen who have been transported there via a "magic spyaphone." Two of the writers would garner particular renown in later years: Arthur Garfield Hays C1902, for his part in the ACLU defense team at the Scopes "Monkey Trial," and Edgar Allan Woolf C1901, for co-writing the screenplay to .(Legend has it, incidentally, that famed architect Stanford White was watching Woolf's transplanted Varsity Show at Madison Square Garden on the night Harry Thaw shot him to death.
The antagonist was "Argument Story, The Plot of the Play," whom all of the characters were desperately trying to lose. wrote, "He danced like Al Jolson and had some original steps and faces of his own.
Oscar is a comedian and as a fun-maker he was a la carte, meaning all to the mustard."By this time, the original purpose of the show—to generate sports revenue—had been abandoned; the budget had grown to the point where the box office was lucky to break even.
It's a life experience—something without which we are the poorer. Coming at the present time, when our alma mater is just about entering on the broader life and the wider fields of activity which the future undoubtedly holds in store for her, this departure from old methods is most gratifying . The authors were bitterly opposed, arguing that they would be "cramped" by the venue's "disadvantages." The result was an impasse—and no Varsity Show for 1895.
* * *The Varsity Show began life at the end of the 19th century as a fund-raiser for the College's fledgling athletic teams. It didn't help that the two leads, Alvan Payne C1893 and Henry Shrady C1894, adamantly refused to appear at the Athletic Club.
Everything is up for grabs: pompous classmates, the winds of war, the mayhem that is New York, (un)requited love, the core curriculum, the President of the University and of the U.