What does an armless entrepreneur, a cynical Harper Center art docent, and a schizophrenic Goldman Sachs candidate all have in common? They’re characters featured in the Booth Follies show, Winter Garden of Eden, happening April 29th.
The show, a series of 30 skits that tackle everything from politics to recruiting was conceived by a team of six co-chairs and a dozen writers from diverse backgrounds. “We all have a passion for comedy. I love jokes, writing them and laughing at them. And this show has all of that,” says Patrick Burke (‘17), a co-chair for this year’s show. A capella group Economies of Scale will open the show supported by performances from the Booth Dance Club.
A play on the Harper Center’s comfortable social bubble, The Winter Garden of Eden is bound to be a hit with students. A staple business school student group, Follies is where MBAs can unleash their inner child, robot, or celebrity impersonator, while poking fun at themselves. No doubt you’ve seen Wharton’s “MBAs Assemble a Malm Bed from IKEA” or Columbia’s The Hunger Games parody (“The Munger Games”).
What will set Booth’s show apart is the comedic timing of both the writers and the cast. I got a sneak peek at rehearsal of a skit written and directed by Burke. I promised not to reveal punchlines (there are many). The scene involves the aforementioned armless entrepreneur (first-year Kevin O’Keefe) pitching increasingly vulgar ideas to a pair of venture capitalists (first-years Nick Lilovich and Farhan Banani). The ending, completely unexpected, had me laughing so hard I can’t believe they didn’t kick me out of the rehearsal. O’Keefe naturally steals the scene, but Banani and Lilovich are perfectly paired.
It’s clear that Burke’s humor is even richer when it’s living and breathing on a stage than on the back page of the Chicago Business newspaper. The jokes are crisp. This isn’t your amateur high school production. O’Keefe shares, “I joined Follies to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve always wanted to get involved with comedy but I was too chicken until Pat [Burke] made me sign up. Best decision.”
Follies is in full rehearsal mode, readying the show for production. Look for a School Picture Day on Wednesday, April 20th, during lunch in the Winter Garden, where leaders ask that students “wear your finest and bring a comb”. It’s sure to give you a taste of the comedy featured in the show.
Worried you might need to be sufficiently “lubricated” to truly enjoy the show? Well South Asia Business Group thinks so too! They’re sponsoring a pre-show LPF at the Harper Center with lots of frosty beverages to get you toasty and ready to ROTF and LYFAO!
Winter Garden of Eden, April 29th @7pm; $20 advance, $25 cash at door; Mandel Hall, 1131 E 57th St
John has a serious case of FOMO from deciding not to audition for this show.