Production budget: $125,000; Man hours: Thousands; Cast and Crew: ~80 Whartonites; Embarrassing Moments Captured About Wharton MBAs: TBD. The curtain for the 38th production of the Wharton Follies: “The Book of Wharton” will finally be raised on February 27th to reveal the widely anticipated Follies show. While we have our fingers crossed, praying that the night we dressed like Jane Fonda and went skinny dipping in a hot tub at Breck didn’t make it into the show, the Follies cast and crew are frantically going through final rehearsals and reputation-ruining routines before opening day. We sat down with some of the producers, cast and crew to learn a bit more about the production and here is what we learned:
A Massive Production
What most impressed us in our conversations with the Follies team is the scale and quality of the production, put on by a group who are balancing the Follies with schoolwork, socializing and recruiting. The producers, led by June Chang WG14, Vivek Jain WG 14, Sonal Kalra WG 14, and Cami Tavares WG14 have funded the show through a combination of ticket sales and sponsors including Bain & Company, HBO, the WGA, GAPSA and Wharton clubs including the Consulting, Marketing, Pub and Media & Entertainment
Since October, the writers (led by Caroline Wooldridge WG 14, Mike Drewniak WG 14 & Chetan Tadvalkar WG 14) have dedicated a tremendous amount of time (upwards of 40 hours a week) pulling together entertaining material that would appeal to the entire Wharton community. In addition to writing skits and songs, the writers have been producing and acting in short video sketches that will be presented during the show. When asked about what surprised them most about their Follies experience, writers described the vast amount of talent on the Follies team. “The number of people that can sing, dance, act and do LBO’s amazes me,” said Chetan Tadvalkar WG 14.
Since November, the cast (led by Adamah Cole WG 14, Jimmy Lowe WG 14 & Dan Clay WG 14) has also been singing, acting and dancing without end to ensure a flawless performance. The all-star cast is comprised of a multi-talented bunch including former opera and a capella singers, former reality TV show stars and a former Michigan Glee Club president. They will be supported by a live band, professional costumer designers and stage hands.
“The Book of Wharton” – What Should We Expect?
The Follies members interviewed were relatively guarded about the play’s content. The title “The Book of Wharton,” however, implies that the production may be modeled after “The Book of Mormon”, a very successful Broadway show that tells the story of two Mormon missionaries travelling to Africa and lampoons organized religion in the process.
Speculation aside, what those behind the jokes tell me is that they want the audience to understand that a great deal of thought is put into the content and the script is designed to not only be funny, but also to appeal to as many people as possible. As with every year, we can expect the show to satirize Wharton life, from academics to dating to recruiting. Like all of you, we wait with bated breath to see “The Book of Wharton” unfold. We’re sure it will be a page turner.