The Deceitful Dean | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Deceitful Dean


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When a certain Professor G.H. Vincent got the idea in December of 1898 for the University of Chicago Comic Opera Company to put on an original operetta spoofing school life, he met with considerable coolness from on high; but the show he and several other teachers and students created turned out to be a substantial hit in its March 1899 premiere. The Deceitful Dean, which features comic lyrics set to melodies by Bizet, Sir Arthur Sullivan, and other composers, is about a new dean who believes students spend too much time studying, so he wreaks havoc by imposing a new regimen of courtship and cuddling. Populated by such characters as Harold Heartbreaker (captain of the football team). G. Whizzer, Tabitha Teachem, and Winnifred Worthington ("Queen of the Quad"), The Deceitful Dean has been slightly revamped for modern tastes: the women's roles, for instance, are now played by women instead of by men in varsity drag. But the aim of this revival by the University Theater's Blackfriars (the successors to the Comic Opera Company), staged in honor of the school's centennial, is to give 1992 audiences a fairly authentic taste of the campus comedy of 100 years ago. University of Chicago, April 2 through 4 (Mandel Hall, 5706 S. University, 702-7300). Thursday-Saturday, 8 PM. $8.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo Kim Cogsdill.

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