Mob scene


It was SRO in the Quadrangle Club dining room for the opening (and penultimate) night of Revels ’05, “A Mob Musical.” As with any professorial opus, there was a Latinate subtitle involved—in this case, “An Encomium to Clout and Clichés”—but this year’s incarnation of the annual faculty-produced revue was light on pomp, heavy on puns and sight gags as it took on two Chicago traditions: life in the mob and the life of the mind.

Those lifestyles meet when the son of Chicago mobster Rocco eschews the family business to enroll in the Committee on Social Thought. Turning lemons into lemonade Rocco decides to move into a new ’hood and open a riverboat casino on the Midway. First he needs to flood it—and he needs the University’s cooperation.

So Rocco and his boys make a little visit to President Randel—played with lifelike precision by President Randel himself. Rocco wastes no time in explaining to his good friend Don Michael what could go wrong if the University doesn’t do business with him, singing merrily and meaningfully: “I ask you to surmise ten years without a prize—not a single Nobel—what a dreadful tale to tell.”

Not even in economics?” Randel deadpans back.

But enough about the plot. It was only an excuse for witty lyrics set to music composed by GSB professor emeritus Bob Ashenhurst, philosophy professor Ted Cohen, AB’62, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart, and others. Among the biggest crowd pleasers was Hyde Parker and novelist Sara Paretsky, AM’69, MBA’77, PhD’77. As Detective Warshawski, testifying against Rocco in federal court, Paretsky did a diva turn in “The Queen of the Right’s Aria.” Too bad Rocco’s defense attorney was, as described in the program, “a brilliant Law School prof.”

By M.R.Y.

Photos: VP for University Relations Michael Behnke as Rocco and President Don Randel as himself (top); novelist Sara Paretsky as Detective Warshawski (bottom).

February 2, 2005