Eight Acts, One Tradition
Calling all students who love to sing, dance, and act to the stage! Over the course of the 75 years since its inception, Sooner Scandals has become one of the most beloved traditions at the University of Oklahoma. A musical revue composed of eight individual Broadway-style acts written, directed, and performed entirely by OU students, Sooner Scandals showcases the creativity and the talents of Sooners from fraternities, sororities, and other organizations from around the campus. Students from all majors and with all levels of experience participate.
The theme of 2018 Sooner Scandals was “Back to Broadway.” Each act created an original storyline based on one song from a current or past Broadway musical, with the selected song being written into the act possessing a distinctly different contextual and lyrical meaning so that the performance could take on a life of its own. The winning act was “Masquerade,” performed by Kappa Kappa Gamma and Alpha Tau Omega. We sat down with Joe Kennedy, the head director from Alpha Tau Omega and a senior accounting and marketing double major, to ask him about his experience with Sooner Scandals this year.
How did you get involved in Sooner Scandals?
I got involved in Sooner Scandals through my fraternity. I participated in University Sing the first semester of my freshman year and absolutely LOVED it! I knew from the first day of practice that I was going to be involved with U-Sing and Scandals for the rest of my collegiate career.
What were your duties as a director?
As head director, my duties included selecting an extraordinary group of assistant directors based on their talents and abilities. As a group, we collectively brainstormed and decided every aspect of our show, from the overall show theme and songs we would use to the costumes and makeup we would wear. It was my job as head director to ensure that we stayed on track, while still having fun, in order to complete everything in time so that we could be the best show to walk on that stage. It’s way easier said than done!
In what ways did you have to grow during the event?
Throughout all four years of participating in and directing shows, I experienced astronomical growth, both as an individual and as a leader. It taught me many lessons about time management, patience, and perseverance. I would not be the person I am today without each and every cast member and director that I’ve been involved with in all of my shows.
Did you see personal growth in the members of your act as you prepared to perform? If so, what?
Absolutely! Watching “Masquerade” as a whole from start to finish has been my favorite success story. From the first day of practice I knew that this group was going to be special. I like to say I saw the different moments that each and every cast member realized that our show WAS going to win. It’s crazy! It was like one day at practice I wouldn’t be able to get anything out of a group of girls or guys no matter how hard I tried, and then the next day at practice they would come out and perform like I had never seen before! Aside from growth as a cast member, I was able to see members, especially the freshmen, become more comfortable in their skin. I like to say that our show was able to give each member, including myself, the little boost of confidence they needed to go out there and tackle anything.
What, in your opinion, made your act so successful?
Definitely community. Like I said, I’ve been involved in many shows throughout the years and I can say that I have truly never seen a collective group, cast and directors, bond as much as “Masquerade” was able to. Their friendship didn’t start and stop with practice times. They would go eat before practice together and study after practice together. I swear I don’t know how they never got tired of each other!
What did you do to prepare for Sooner Scandals?
A lot. People think that scandals is just an eight-hour commitment, but as a director you put in way more time than that. You have to plan and implement every single element of the show even before you go to practice. Choreography, vocals, script, blocking, costumes…there’s just so much that goes into it!
What was your favorite moment of the whole event?
Aside from hearing “Masquerade” called for first place overall, I would have to say my favorite moment of the whole event was definitely the Wednesday night dress rehearsal where each act gets to sit in the audience and watch all the other acts perform. I was able to work and create friendships with so many special individuals throughout U-Sing and Scandals. Getting to watch all of your friends’ hard work and talent pour out on the stage is truly incredible! And on top of that, you get way more responses from the crowd during dress rehearsal than you do for any of the live shows. Because the odds are, for upperclassmen at least, you’ve probably worked with at least one of the groups you’re competing against!
Why should a new freshman consider getting involved with Sooner Scandals?
Freshmen should 100% consider participating in Scandals. Scandals is a chance to step outside of your comfort zone, build your confidence, and create lasting relationships and memories that you are sure to never forget. I truly wish I could start my Sooner Scandals experience all over again.