Parody 2018 | Lord of the Deans: Return of the Rankings

The HLS Parody, an annual law school tradition, was highlighted as part of the HLS in the Arts bicentennial celebration

The Harvard Law School Drama Society showcased the 2018 Harvard Law School Parody in February.

This year’s parody, “Lord of the Deans: Return of the Rankings,” featured Frodo and the rest of the fellowship as they journeyed to destroy the evil of the Ames plaque, while contending with the prestige-hungry Dean Lord. Performances ran from Feb. 23-27.

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A Dramatic Visit

HLSA Parody and Drama Society Alumni Network members take in “Paraoke”

Parody and Drama Society Alumni NetworkOver 50 alumni from the newly minted HLSA Parody and Drama Society Alumni Network descended on Cambridge on February 24 for an afternoon “Paraoke” (Parody karaoke) reunion event at Lizard Lounge, and to enjoy this year’s show.

Highlights from the event included a very funny speech by George Kelley, ’62, about getting suckered into producing the first Law School Show (remarkably, Kelley didn’t know the show had outlived his involvement until reading an article about it in the Bulletin last fall!), and an a cappella performance by Bruce Ryder ’79, of a song about Drama Society camaraderie, after which several alumni were spotted rubbing their eyes and mumbling something vague about allergies.

Alumni who attended were appreciative of the warm welcome from the current students, and amused by their sass—during the introduction of the show, they touted it as the best Parody in history, which was very pointedly directed at the alumni. Much jeering ensued.

The majority of the attendees were post-2000 graduates, but the Network’s president, Nicole Kinsley, ’11, hopes to see those demographics shift. “Many alumni from the ’60s through ’90s have reached out to our historian or to me, and talked about how much the Drama Society still means to them,” she said. “A major focus going forward will be harnessing that enthusiasm to encourage them to join us for future events.”

With a mission of providing an outlet for creative expression on campus, the Harvard Law School Parody is an original comedy musical poking fun at HLS, its professors, and the legal profession. This year’s show marks the 58th annual parody.

This September, to commemorate the law school’s bicentennial, the HLS in the Arts festival welcomed back alumni who have gone on to use their legal skills in the arts industry or have become writers, composers, and performers. Some of them honed their skills at Harvard Law School through the HLS Drama Society, which most prominently produces the HLS Parody, an annual tradition since 1961 that satirizes the school, professors, and the legal profession.

Many past parody participants would go on to careers in the performing arts. Among them is David Zippel ’79—a Tony Award-winning lyricist who wrote the musical “City of Angels” and also lyrics for animated Disney films—who was interviewed during the arts festival. Others include Academy Award–winning producer David Sonenberg ’71; Broadway theater manager Lisa M. Poyer ’80; and film, TV, and stage actor Hill Harper ’92, who also appeared in the festival.

Fun in Law 1

Credit: Martha Stewart Judge Laurence Silberman ’61 played a judge his 3L year in the HLS musical show that was a precursor to the Parody.

The festival, which took place on Sept. 15-16, featured a performance of the best of the HLS Parody over the years, a chance for alumni to display their non-legal talents and relive treasured moments of their law school experience.

Watch HLS in the Arts performances.