CBANEWS CBA Bar Show Makes “Change of Venue” for Easy Online Viewing By Jay Schleppenbach W ith law offices, bar association meetings, and even court appearances moving online to
promote safety in the era of Covid-19, perhaps it is no surprise that the 97th edition of the CBA’s much-beloved Bar Show has followed suit. But Change of Venue: Bar Show Home Edition is hilarious and tuneful in a way few case- management Zoom calls are. “We’ve heard so many people say how terrible 2020 has been, so we’re hoping the Bar Show can live up to its tradition online and be a fun escape for CBA mem- bers,” explained Bar Show co-producer Carissa Meyer, Orleans Canty Novy, LLC. Accordingly, this year’s show features the same high-quality performances of musical theater and pop parodies with political and pop cultural humor that Bar Show audiences have come to expect. But the songs are released online at bar- show.org rather than presented in the less-distanced environment of a theater. They will roll out over the course of weeks, rather than all at once, so audiences can get much-needed laughs as the pandemic continues. And they are free! “These videos will be perfect for watch- ing on your phone, on your tablet, on your laptop, when you have a break in between conference calls or drafts of your brief,” suggested returning cast member and writer Sally Pissetsky-Steele, Pissetzky and Berliner. “And hopefully they will be funnier than the latest from CNN or the Wall Street Journal .” Of course, writing, rehearsing, and videoing a musical parody show presents significant challenges when the all-attor- ney cast must, like the rest of us, observe masking guidance and maintain six-feet
Bar Show cast members Mike Weaver and Chris Johnson are ready to “Call the Whole Thing Off” in a recent “Change of Venue: Bar Show Home Edition” video.
of distance at all times. So the production team, led by director Marla Lampert and musical director Brad MacDonald, came up with a protocol for remote rehearsals and performances. Zoom provides a cozy space to learn music and choreography for each number, while the filming is accomplished via cell phone in each cast member’s individual home. Long-time cast member Larry Aaronson, McDon- nell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, then bravely makes his way through all of the footage, compiling all of the best reaction shots and removing any stray pets or family members who may have wandered into frame. “It’s a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun,” Aaronson said. “The creative process of producing a polished video composi- tion given the component parts is really satisfying.” And what kind of numbers will be part of that final product this year? While head writers Cliff Berman, Option Care, and
David Miller, Blitt And Gaines, certainly won’t be pretending that the pandemic hasn’t happened, they’re also not going to let it dominate when so many other interesting and strange things have been going on this year. So viewers can expect songs about Supreme Court nominations, the unprecedented and undeniably fasci- nating phenomenon that is QAnon, and of course the 2020 election. So set a bookmark in your web browser for the Bar Show at barshow.org, like the Bar Show on Facebook (facebook.com/ CBABarShow), or subscribe to the Bar Show’s YouTube page (youtube.com/Bar- ShowVideo). Then frequently check back for the top-notch vocal stylings and timely humor you’ve come to expect from this zany group of lawyers turned thespians.
Jay Schleppenbach is of Counsel at Dechert LLP and is a long-time cast member of The Bar Show.