Varieties Semi-Finals bring lessons and tradition to Iowa State

Sorority and fraternity members perform their musical “A Trip Down Memory Lane.” The 2019 Varieties semi-finals day one took place in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union on Feb. 8. Varieties showcases performances from students and Greek pairings.

Emily Urban

Varieties Semi-Finals were held in the Great Hall this past weekend; the range of performances showcased the talent and love for tradition here at Iowa State.

Pairings of sororities, fraternities and other student organizations put on mini-musicals based off the theme “Tradition Lives On.” As the Daily reported before, this year’s scoring will be different than past Varieties. All of the pairings will be moving on to the Finals and performing both nights. Their scores from the Semi-Finals will be averaged, and the winner and runner-up will receive a one point advantage going into Finals.

The first mini-musical of the night was “A Trip to Remember.” Original song lyrics to the tune of “This is Me” from “The Greatest Showman” wove together a story about a man whose parents and grandparents had been in Varieties before him. There were a few flashbacks thrown into the mix, complete with period songs performed by a live band. 

Alex Taubin, senior in industrial engineering, performed a stand-up comedy set for his vignette. His style was dry, witty and sarcastic, delivered with a deadpan expression to make jokes hit harder.

The final act of the first night was the mini-musical “Spy High.” This creative take on the theme followed a group of students at, you guessed it, a spy school trying to win a job as a secret agent.

Along the way they discover what it means to be a team. The songs, lyrics and choreography were performed to near perfection. The sets used the space extremely well, but mic problems plagued the performance.

Night two of Varieties Semi-Finals kicked off strong. Emcee Brandon Thomas started off the evening by showing off his love of stand up comedy and kept it going throughout the night. The audience knew that whenever an act ended, they would get another hilarious story from their host.

“Alive in the 515” was the first mini-musical of the night. The performers’ period costumes, original lyrics and choreography enthralled the audience the entire way through a mysterious murder investigation. A surprise twist-ending tied the musical to the theme. This performance was one to watch.

The “Haunted by Tradition” mini-musical delivered a story about how sometimes, change is not something that is best for everyone. Their renditions of songs like “Hips Don’t Lie” and artists like Panic! at the Disco hammered the theme of traditions very effectively.

The final act, mini-musical “The Other Side,” delivered a message that was hard to stomach at first. The characters and their lyrics lead the audience through a world devoid of color, stuck in its ways and refusing to change. The ending taught the audience even though you may want change, traditions prove hard to shake.