For Phineas - tour guide, Classics major, and self-described "Renaissance Man" - there's no place like Columbia University, where students take a series of mandatory humanities classes as part of the school's famed Core Curriculum. All of that is about to change, however, when Niamh O'Brien, the business-minded director of the Center for Career Education, gets an unexpected promotion, placing her in charge of bringing Columbia's outdated curriculum into the corporate age. Can Phineas save the liberal arts as he once knew them? Or is Columbia destined to become a factory for i-bankers and consultants?
The Corporate Core is a furious anti-capitalist screed denouncing the Ivy League-to-Wall-Street conveyor belt that turns our nation's youth into faceless corporate zombies. Or maybe it's a musical comedy throwback looking affectionately, if satirically, at the value of a liberal arts education in America today. Open to interpretation.
Roone Arledge auditorium, Columbia University, 2012
Written by John Goodwin and Jeff Stern
Music and Lyrics by Solomon Hoffman and Tareq Abuissa
Produced by Hillary Kritt and Ben Harris
Choreography by Adrianna Aguilar
Set Design by Stephen Davan
Costume Design by Ilana Breitman
Lighting Design by Brett Berger
The Varsity Show, founded in 1894, is one of the oldest traditions at Columbia University, and certainly its oldest performing arts tradition. Dedicated to creating a full-length musical that satirizes many dubious aspects of life at Columbia, the Varsity Show is written, directed, performed, designed, and produced entirely by students.
Its alumni include such distinguished names as Oscar Hammerstein II, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers, and I.A.L. Diamond. More recent alumni include Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey, Jeanine Tesori, Jenny Slate, Kate McKinnon, and Greta Gerwig. Originally a fundraiser for Columbia athletics, the Varsity Show now draws together the entire Columbia undergraduate community for a series of sold-out performances every April/May.