The story behind Night Court and its 2022 production ‘Night Court at 30 Presents Justice by the Dozen’
By Tara Taheri
Night Court is Houston’s very own all-lawyer musical theater company, which in recent years has transitioned to a public 501(c)(3) and has been approved for 2 hours of CLE ethics credits. Easily identifiable by the phrase “Lawyers Entertaining for Charity,” Night Court was originally affiliated with the Houston Bar Association. Each year, local judges and lawyers take to the stage to perform an original, musical comedy highlighting various themes relating to law and the legal profession. The talented head writer and director, Debra Baker and Judy Frow, respectively, include pop culture and politics to comically captivate the audience while using parody-driven lyrics to provide an added humorous touch. Additionally, an exceptionally talented orchestra is thrown into the mix!
The organization donates the proceeds of its performances to charities that provide free legal services to those in need within the Houston area, including Houston Area Women’s Center Children’s Court Services Program, Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, the Beacon’s Beacon Law Program, South Texas College of Law Houston Legal Clinics, Lone Star Legal Aid Military & Veterans Unit, Child Advocates, and Houston Volunteer Lawyers. Since the organization’s inception over 25 years ago, Night Court has donated well over $1 million to charities.
The lawyers, or shall we say performers, wear many hats in the production by joining together to build and paint sets for the stage, rehearse songs, learn choreography, and more for only a brief duration of one and half months. As the curtain drops during our four-night show week, it’s emotional to experience the creative role everyone plays while bringing together a successful show that produces a stellar impact on our community. Night Court wouldn’t exist without the generous support of donors and sponsors who are pivotal in the organization’s mission.
It’s been an honor to share the stage with incredibly gifted and sensational people as well as professional involvement off stage with noble and passionate charity leaders. This marks my seventh year as a cast member in Night Court (excluding the two-year pause from the pandemic). You can also find me working behind the scenes in the role of executive producer and marketing chair. One of the many great aspects of Night Court is that it’s pleasing to attorneys and non-attorneys alike. Night Court is a wonderful way to help individuals in need while enjoying a fun night out.
After a two-year hiatus, Night Court is back with a bang to celebrate the more than 30-years tradition of lawyers having fun while fundraising and educating the community about the law and ethics in Justice by the Dozen. Please mark your calendars for August 17-20, 2022, at the Hobby Center. The comic adventures of Jury Duty in Houston’s courtrooms will highlight past audience favorite musical numbers such as “Metro Train to Downtown” (2004’s Law in Black and White), “Thriller” (2007’s Draculaw), and “Cell Block Tango” (2008’s Law of the Sea) among other surprises. Join Night Court as we commemorate three-plus decades of legal hilarity while supporting Houston area legal charities.
Tara Taheri works at Baylor College of Medicine as Senior Privacy Associate. Ms. Taheri is an editor of the Houston Bar Association’s Houston Lawyer. She’s an executive producer, media relations chair and cast member of Night Court, and plays keyboards and sings in a Houston band. You can reach her at email@example.com.