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Camaraderie and laughs on display at Special K

Annual song-and-dance revue a Reunion highlight at Kellogg

By Natalie Goel

5/1/2005 - “I like modeling. Spreadsheet modeling, that is. In my underwear.”

If that sounds like a line from Monty Python, rather than a snippet from this year’s Special K Revue, the Kellogg students involved with the school’s annual sketch comedy extravaganza will take it as a compliment.

The wildly popular theatrical production, which coincided with Reunion weekend, April 29-May 1, gave Kellogg students a chance to display their artistic talents. The show kept audiences roaring as the actors parodied McManus dorm life, classes and themselves in the 26th annual production, titled, “Newly Renovated.”

“It’s a fantastic creative outlet,” said Special K’s Executive Director Bob Van Horn ’05. “A lot of people see business students as sort of one-dimensional and this gives us a chance to show another side.”

The 26-member cast and live band took to the stage in the Norris Student Center’s McCormick Auditorium on the Evanston campus. Nearly 100 people were involved in this year’s production, including a technical staff, creative lineup and, of course, a business team. While juggling their full-time academic workload, the cast had been rehearsing for 10 to 12 hours per week since February. They will perform the show again this fall for incoming Kellogg School students.

Crowd pleasers included a range of song-and-dance numbers such as “Negotiations,” based on “The Inquisition” by Mel Brooks for History of the World Part I. “Recall my advice, now let me explain,” the cast sang. “You’re assured a deal if there’s mutual gain.” For “Admission,” based on Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison,” actors clad in white-and-gold tank tops satirized the admissions process. “You need Kellogg, come talk to a pro/Searchin’ out fo’ the next great CEO,” they sang,

“It’s great that we can really poke fun at ourselves,” said audience member Sabrina Kaufman ’05. “Everyone’s a target.”

Students even brought Kellogg School Dean Dipak C. Jain in on the action. In the “Special K! Movie 2005,” the dean played the role of Ashton Kutcher in a mock episode of “MTV Punk’d.” Jain fed instructions via headset to an admissions interviewer for a prospective Kellogg student. “Tell him his tie is ugly,” Jain said as the interviewer crumpled up the student’s résumé. “Okay, I’m coming in.”

As is tradition, if audience members were stumped by B-school vernacular, they needed only to consult the glossary in the back of the theater program. It included a comprehensive list of vocabulary used in the show, including acronyms, campus venues, and off-the-wall terms like “pudding wrestling.” The description for “CIM Week” read: “Does anyone know what ‘CIM’ stands for? Kellogg’s orientation week, filled with everything from name games to a shouting contest. It prepares you for business school in some way.”

Special K kept the music coming as audiences also enjoyed live band performances between skits. The 11-person ensemble played songs by Britney Spears, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, and OutKast, among others. In some performances, the audience spontaneously sang along to the band’s cover of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”

The actors described the time commitment for the show as “intense,” but they said the payoff during the performance made up for this effort. “There’s so much talent that goes into the show,” said actor Saq Nadeem ’05. “The camaraderie is out of this world.”