March 1, 2014: "Gee Whiz!!"
Yesterday's headlines reveal that my alma mater, West Virginia University, may end up making E. Gordon Gee, ousted Ohio State University President, its permanent president. Frankly, I should not be surprised, as even when WVU made him the interim president, the echoes of redemption could be heard far in the distance. Since his appointment as interim president, Gee has charmed his way into the good graces of many people, with cleverly constructed public relations, such as his Top 10 List for why he was glad to be back at the university where he got his first presidency.
Gee's story when it is all said and done will be an amazing one, worthy of any disgraced athlete or actor who somehow found his or her way back to the top. I wonder if this is the first time Gee and Rob Lowe have ever been mentioned in the same sentence. And since I find myself taking a bit part in SMC's Spring musical "Parade" (I play an angry white juror with one line, one, two, three "Guilty!"), I am in a musical stage kind of mind.
"Gee Whiz!!" will be a huge hit! (And, yes, the two exclamation marks are part of the trademarked title.)
"Gee, Whiz" becomes the recurring song and melody through the musical, sung by the whole cast after the overture, of course:
"What do we do with this higher ed. biz?
Call in the kid, Gee, Whiz!
We need an infusion of pop and fizz.
Get the only one, Gee, Whiz!
Come on, we do not want to be Les Miz.
Set higher goals, Gee, Whiz!"
Every musical needs a good love song, and with all due respect to Mrs. Gee, that love song has to be about his relationship with WVU, the place that launched him as president, as well as took him back with open arms. We will need to work with the John Denver estate to sample "Country Roads," as simply no other underlying melody will work as the backing sample and chorus (with a few necessary changes). At private moments, we see Gee alone in his office staring at pictures of Jerry West, Pat White, and the PRT singing quietly to himself:
"Country Roads, take me home,
To the place I call my throne,
West Virginia, Mountaineer, take me home."
A second recurring song would have to be around Gee's bowtie, "Signature Bow." This song is sung by journalists who follow Gee's every step:
"Who's the cat that raps so well in the spotlight glow?
Who charms donor and board alike?
I know that line, and I know that signature bow.
Dr. Gee holds court at the mike."
At the end of the musical, "Signature Bow" has to have the clever twist to a signature bow, as in curtsey.
"There he is again basking in the spotlight glow.
Charming donor and board alike.
We know that line and we know that signature bow.
Hush, Dr. Gee is at the mike.
If you haven't heard him, prepare to exclaim wow.
As endowments hit a new spike.
Now he exits the stage with his signature bow.
Until he finds another mike."
When he is hired by The Ohio State University, the music shifts from more orchestral leanings to marching band, all the more appropriate for the smashing hit "I am the dotting of the I in Ohio." This is a song Gee sings to potential Ohio State donors.
"Look at the band in formation.
Notice for your information
I am the I dotting
The I in Ohio"
The controversies that surrounded Dr. Gee at The Ohio State University would be the dramatic tension in the story. A key scene would be when he joked that Coach Jim Tressel could more easily fire him than he fire Tressel, captured in "Vest vs. Tie." This is a song sung by Gee to the journalists, who join in after the second verse and chorus.
"Listen, kids, I can tell no lie
In battle of vest versus tie
The person smothered is I."
As for whatever song accompanies Gee's regretful line concerning Catholics, well, I am not going there. I figure I am taking enough risks with this blog. I came here to praise Gee, not bury him.