November 16, 2010

Off-Off Campus catches Bieber fever with fall show

Justin Bieber has been spotted at the University of Chicago--spotted on posters, that is. Off-Off Campus, the U of C’s largest student-run improvisational theater troupe, made Justin Bieber the centerpiece of its fall 2010 season by entitling its weekly show “Leave it to Bieber.”

“I came up with the name because Justin Bieber is so hot right now,” said Molly Miller, a second-year in the College and member of Off-Off’s 24th Generation. “He’s so hot right now and we are sort of a throwback generation, you know, [like] Leave it to Bieber”.

At first, it was unclear whether the name was the right one for the season, but a series of events solidified the lasting nature of the name.

“Everything Justin Bieber started to release after we decided the title,” said Michael Guido, a fourth-year in the College and trainer for the 24th Generation. “He came out with a book recently, came out with the nail polish line which has names corresponding to his songs. He has a documentary and action figures coming out soon.”

Off-Off has a tradition of putting puns in its show titles. For example, its spring quarter show was entitled “Montezuma, Eat Your Heart Out.” But despite the positive response this last show garnered, “Leave it to Bieber” has been easier to build hype around.

“Justin Bieber...has really been helping our ad campaign, at least initially,” said Alex Stein, a third-year in the College and member of Off Off’s 24th generation. “I mean, we have his face on our posters. People walk by and they do a double take and become curious about the show.”

The Off-Off theater troupe even dedicated part of their routine to the teen sensation. “I thought we should choreograph a dance for the show, so we ended our first show dancing to [his hit] “Baby”,” said Guido.

Catchy, hip name or not, the feedback has been nothing but positive, said Paul Chang, third-year in the College and member of Off-Off’s 24th Generation.

“People seem to be enjoying our show and it’s nice to hear people acknowledge our hard work,” Chang said.

One way in which this year’s show differs from last year’s is that the troupe is doing improvisation this year rather than sketch.

“We always have new ideas to keep the show fresh and entertaining for everyone,” said Chang.

Off-Off also recently welcomed a new group of comedians for its 25th generation. Dozens of students applied for a coveted spot in the troupe, but only seven made the final cut.

“We are all excited for the new members and we can’t wait for their short performance at the end of 8th week,” said Guido.

Off-Off’s season will be coming to a close this Friday, for a total of five shows this quarter.

“It has been a great season and we hope everyone comes out to watch the last [show] this Friday,” said Guido.