Entertainer At Law
Annual song and dance gives Catherine O'Neil a chance to kick back and to give back
When the curtain goes up for "A Courthouse Line X" at the 14th Street Playhouse on Nov. 7, Catherine M. O'Neil will be frenetically busy backstage, directing the popular fundraiser for the Atlanta Bar Foundation. Then, she will dance.
O'Neil, a litigation partner at King & Spalding, has always been "a bit of a ham," she says, so the co-founder, director and producer of the long-running Bard Show, as the musical revue has come to be called, can't help but step out in front of the footlights and perform.
It's all for a good cause. The Bard Show has raised several hundred thousand dollars since the curtain first went up in March 1999, O'Neil said, adding that the contributions to the Atlanta Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Atlanta Bar Association, provide support to pro bono legal services and other projects, including the Minority and Diversity Clerkship program, the Truancy Intervention Project, summer law internships and scholarships for children of police officers injured or killed in the line of duty.
Money from the Bard Show also goes to the Rowland W. Barnes Scholarship fund at Emory University, named in memory of Judge Rowland Barnes, who participated in all the shows before his death.
The 10th Bard Show runs Nov. 7-9. O'Neil talked to the Daily Report about the show.
How did you first get interested in theater?
I guess I have always been a bit of a ham. When I was young I would put a fake wooden floor down in our living room to show off my tap dancing to my parents' friends. I started doing local theater when I was in elementary school and continued through high school, college and law school.
Did you perform in law school?
Yes. Harvard Law School did four or five shows each year, including an original musical comedy, original script and original music. I performed in most of the productions while I was there, and also choreographed several of the revues and musicals. One of my favorites was It's a Long, Long Way to Certiorari.
Very funny. The Bard Show titles are clever, too. Did you bring that idea from school?