Lawyers have always been a theatrical bunch, usually presenting their cases to a jury in the most compelling, dramatic way possible. So, it shouldn't even come as a surprise that there is a crew of legal eagles in Houston who make up a theatrical company.
Night Court isn't just a name of a long-running sitcom from the '80s. It's also the name of an all-attorney, musical theater company that raises money for charities that specialize in free legal services for people in need. Originally affiliated with the Houston Bar Association, the troupe (which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year) officially became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2014. Thanks to their yearly shows, the company has given $1.3 million to legal charities.
The production the team is putting on this year is Law of the Jungle II, which will be performed at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, August 14, through Saturday, August 17. This wholly original production has George of the Jungle (yes, that George of the Jungle!) trying to win a mysterious game that sends him "from the Law Library to the heart of the Jungle," learning about ethics in politics, election law, and getting a few civics lessons along the way.
The play will also include hit songs from movies and rock legends like Queen and Guns N' Roses. The beneficiaries for this show are the Houston Area Women's Center Children's Court Services Program, the Family Unification Initiative, Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, the Beacon Law, South Texas College of Law Houston Legal Clinics, Lone Star Legal Aid Military Veterans Unit, and Child Advocates.
It makes one wonder if these lawyers actually have backgrounds in the arts. Civil law attorney Tara Taheri, who's a cast member, marketing chair and associate producer for Night Court, got a bachelor's degree in music from the University of Houston.
She insists she's not the only one who has history performing both on stage and in court. "There are a good amount of them that do," says Taheri. "And, then, I think that some of them derive that character and creativity, maybe because, you know, they're attorneys in a courtroom, and it's acting."
"This is a great show for lawyers and non-lawyers alike," says Taheri, who also says Texas lawyers can get two hours of continuing, legal education ethics credits for attending. "I like to say it is a fun night out, while helping those in need."
Law of the Jungle II runs August 14-17 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby St. For tickets and more information, visit the official site.