Variety show makes performers out of professors

The second annual Faculty and Staff Variety Show was an entertaining escape from war-torn reality by way of song, dance and hilarity. The show, The Lion’s Tale 2003, was held in Kendall Hall and hosted by Ann DeGennaro of the Center for Campus Wellness and Magda Manetas, dean of Student Life.

The comedy was at full throttle throughout the show. In one act, Joseph Ellis, professor of history, comically poked fun at such things as the name change of the College, the College faculty union and even President R. Barbara Gitenstien, through use of witty tombstone epitaphs.

There was also satire of pet psychics, where DeGennaro analyzed a goose, a squirrel and the College mascot.

In between each act, one of the hosts, in costume, would comically introduce the next act. The costumes ranged from Michael Jackson to two senile elderly southern sisters.

Two hilarious lip syncs, one to Sonny and Cher and one to Ike and Tina Turner, book-ended the evening. Joe Hadge and Georgeann O’Leary of the Center for Campus Wellness capped off the show as doubles for Sonny Bono and Cher mouthing “I got you Babe.” A disco ball was brought out for “Proud Mary” with Lynette Harris of Student Life as Tina, and Annmarie Sims, professor of communication studies, as Ike.

Actual singing was also plentiful throughout the night. There was a rendition of Barbara Streisand’s “Evergreen,” by Jackie Norris, professor of elementary education. Lynette Harris covered Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and Alvin Figueroa, modern language professor, sang “In this Life.”

Three professors of the psychology department performed as the “Shrink Wraps.” Margaret Martinetti and Katrina Bledsoe sang a duet of “Amazing Grace” while Daniel Phillips accompanied on the piano.

The Tango was gracefully displayed by Nobo Komagata, professor of computer science, along with his wife Sachiko.

Musical talent was also showcased by John Cooney of facilities, who performed the folk song “Mermaids” on guitar.

Jake Farbman, professor of communication studies, emulated Elvis Costello, stopping abruptly in the beginning of the song and breaking into an entirely different song. Farbman also acknowledged wartime by displaying a yellow sign, supporting the American troops over in Iraq.

“With everything that’s wrong with the world, I am still proud to be an American, and I am proud that I had a chance to show that Americans can support the troops,” Farbman said.

The show benefitted the Hanah Grace Fehn Scholarship, which was started by Heather and Jack Fehn. The Fehns, two staff members of the College, lost their daughter, Hannah, to a rare genetic disorder in 2002. The Scholarship benefits the school of nursing, in honor of the nurses and doctors that cared for Hannah. DeGennaro had a close connection with the Fehns, having had them in the class where they first met.

Though this was the second consecutive year for a faculty and staff variety show, there has been a tradition to the show. It was previously known as the Faculty Follies, which ended 20 years ago. DeGennaro, amongst others, thought this tradition needed to be resurrected and formed a committee to oversee the show last year.

Besides being a fundraiser for different benefits, the show was another way that the students and faculty could connect.

“It shows [the students] that you’re not just a stuffed shirt,” Ellis said.