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Thirty-five years running, Light Opera Company puts on a show and provides a break from the books

October 24, 2012

As one of the hallmarks of Penn Law’s collegial and collaborative environment, the Light Opera Company, one of more than 90 Law School student organizations, is a tradition unto itself: the group has been presenting musical theater to the Penn Law community for over 35 years. Light Opera Company offers students a break from the books and a creative outlet to show off their many talents.

Each year the cast, composed of students, is formed before winter break and rehearsals take place second semester. The final production is performed for the Law School community in April after spring break.

Penn Law’s Dean of Students Gary Clinton, and Matt Corriel L’13, the composer, lyricist and playwright for the spring 2012 Law School production of “Intervention,” talked with the Office of Communications about the camaraderie of the troupe and the welcome break from the rigors of a legal education.


Gary Clinton (GC):  A group of Law School students… put on a show, and they do a fantastic job. It’s three or four months of work that goes into it: they do it with lighting, they do it with sound, they do it with costumes, and most of all, I think they do it with a great sense of love and a great sense of fun.

Matt Corriel L’13 (MC):  Light Opera Company is an amazing group at Penn Law. We have a tremendous diversity of talents - people who have done this professionally before, people who are doing it for the first time. And everybody fits in, everybody has fun and the whole Law School turns out to see the play.

It’s fun to be at rehearsals, because you will be doing a number on the stage, you will be working it with some of the cast members, you’ll be rehearsing it by the keyboard, and you look out into the crowd where the rest of the cast is seated doing their Evidence homework, doing their Contracts homework. Everybody’s got their case book open, everybody knows where they are in the case when they go up for their number and then come back. So, there is no down time for anybody, because we are too busy for down time.

GC:  It’s a wonderful way for students to get to know one another, students from across all three years and the LLM program to work together in a fun project, and to have a real sense of pride to putting on something for classmates and faculty and friends that makes a difference in their lives. It just breaks up Law School in a really wonderful way.

MC:  It’s amazing. I tell… my friends at other law schools, we did this musical. And everyone says, “ You did a musical in law school?” And we think it’s natural, because we have one every year.

GC:  Law School Light Opera people, I think, stay together over a long period of time. There really is a loyalty to the organization and an excitement [about] what’s going on this year. They may have been out of school for 25 or 30 years, but if you were a member of Law School Light Opera you know what’s going on at rehearsals, and you know what its like to put on a show for your classmates.

MC: It’s great. I think everyone at Penn is multifaceted. Everybody at Penn has something besides the law that makes them interesting and that makes them happy, and it’s nice to be able to share that with the people that you have become close to.

Transcript has been edited for length.