Varsity Show

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The Varsity Show logo.

The Varsity Show is one of the oldest traditions at Columbia University and its oldest performing arts presentation. Founded in 1894 as a fundraiser for the university's fledgling athletic teams, the Varsity Show now draws together the entire Columbia undergraduate community for a series of sold-out performances every April. Dedicated to producing a unique full-length spectacle that skewers and satirizes many dubious aspects of life at Columbia, the Varsity Show is written and inspired by an extensive team of cast, producers and production personnel.

Notable alumni[edit]

The long list of alumni who have written, performed, directed, worked backstage, or otherwise been associated with the show includes such distinguished names as:

The I.A.L. Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts[edit]

The I.A.L. Diamond Award is presented on annual basis to a Columbia or Barnard alumnus/a who has demonstrated continued commitment to and has found success in the arts. Mr. Diamond is the only individual to have written four consecutive Varsity Shows. He then went on to Hollywood to write such classics as Some Like it Hot and The Apartment, for which he won an Academy Award.

In 2004, Terrence McNally was the first recipient of the award. Mr. McNally, author of Master Class, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Ragtime, wrote the 66th Annual Varsity Show.

In 2005, Jeanine Tesori, Barnard College Class of 1983, was honored with the award. Ms. Tesori was the music director for the 89th Annual Varsity Show and then came back a year in 1984 to write the music for the 90th Annual Varsity Show. She is a three-time Tony Award nominee for her work on Twelfth Night, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Caroline, or Change.

In 2006, Art Garfunkel, Columbia College Class of 1962, received the award. Mr. Garfunkel is best known as half of the folk duo Simon and Garfunkel.

In 2007, Brandon V. Dixon, member of the Columbia College community, received the award. Mr. Dixon also received a Tony Award nomination for his performance of Harpo in the Broadway-hit, The Color Purple. He also originated the role of Simba in national tour of The Lion King. Mr. Dixon performed in the cast of the 107th Annual Varsity Show.

In 2008, the award was presented to Tom Kitt CC'96 and Brian Yorkey CC'93. Their most recent work, Next To Normal, won the pair the Tony Award for best score and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The duo wrote the music, lyrics and book to the 100th Annual Varsity Show, Angels at Columbia: Centennial Approaches.

In 2009, the award was presented to Diane Paulus, a teacher at Barnard College, Columbia School of the Arts graduate, and, most recently, director of the Tony-winning revival of Hair.

In 2010, the award was presented to Twyla Tharp, a Barnard College '63 alumna. She is the choreographer of many famous dances, multiple broadway shows, and the film version of the musical Hair. She is the winner of Tony and Emmy awards.

123 Years of the Varsity Show[edit]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]