HOUSTON - The COVID-19 pandemic has arguably made things not easier for anyone. And with the Omicron variant and surge in cases, especially in Harris County, it hardly seems worthy to keep spirits lifted.
That hasn’t stopped some Texas lawyers, however, from trying to turn frowns upside down with an entertaining musical.
According to Tara Taheri, one of the actors and producers of the show, Virtually Legal, it all began with the idea of bringing lawyers from musical theater groups across the state together for a chance to share their talents online in lieu of live performances.
"An attorney friend of mine/colleague reached out to me from Austin, and she said, ‘you know, Tara, I think it might be a great idea for maybe us to put something together since we haven't been able to do in-person shows and be on stage since 2019,’ and I said, ‘that sounds like a really great idea,’" Taheri explained.
"And so I reached out to a contact person in Dallas, who in turn reached out to her contact person in Fort Worth," she continued. "It took several months for this to come alive. But I'm very, very happy that we were able to come together and make this work is a great project…[and] that it is a very unprecedented collaboration."
In watching the performances, viewers will be wowed by the talent demonstrated by attorneys whether that’s through singing or dancing, which Taheri admits, may catch some off guard - especially when they learn how some are trained professionals.
"[The performers] all just absolutely top-notch," she said. "And so when you know, share this information with others, they think ‘wow, it's all attorneys? Is that good? Is that funny? And they're really taken aback by it. And they think ‘wow, I'm so surprised.’"
In fact, Taheri herself is trained in the arts as well!
"I studied dance, and worked with many different dance troupes throughout my life," she said. "I also studied music at UH, I have a music degree, and I have played in various bands, and I'm currently in a band as well.."
Each performance in Virtually Legal is a clever blend of satire and entertainment due to its tackle of everyday changes people have had to deal such as the struggles of working from home. In this way, the show reaches a wide audience beyond lawyers. This is not to say attorneys who watch it will not be entertained - on the contrary, they’ll even be able to find some educatory benefit from it.
"Attorneys can receive one hour of ethics CLE (Continuing Legal Education) credit for watching the event," Taheri explained. "And I always say though, that this is such a great show that non-lawyers really enjoy it as well. I have many friends that are not attorneys. And they told me that they thought the show was just fabulous."
(Photo courtesy of Night Court)
Additionally, each musical theater group, such as Houston’s Nitecourt, which Taheri is a member of, is raising money for charity.
"For Houston's Nitecourt, our proceeds are going to Houston Volunteer Lawyers Association, which is the pro bono arm of the Houston Bar Association," she said. "So the Houston Volunteer Lawyers Association provides services for those in need, and so they have pro bono attorneys that provide civil services for them."
During these increasingly stressful times, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, Taheri notes the funds look to help the everyday public.
"There are people you know, that have found themselves in a bind," she explained. "And it's wonderful that these attorneys can, you know, help and assist with those that really need it the most."
Tickets for Virtually Legal are $20 and are available for streaming until Saturday, January 1, 2021. Viewers will also have the option to donate to each of the 4 charitable organizations throughout the streaming period.
To learn more about the performance and purchase tickets, click here. You can also learn more about the different musical theater groups below: