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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows

March 22-24, 2012 @ Robertson Stadium |

Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows

Table of Contents 2 What is a Variety Show? 3 The Joe Koppel Award 4 The President’s Cup, Comparison 5 Consider the Possibilities, Pre-Planning 7 Organize Your Finances, Organize Your Productions 11 Organize Your Construction 12 Tying Up Loose Ends, Submit All Forms, Monies & Deposits 13 Variety Show Policies, Deadlines & Important Dates 14 Judging Criteria, Showcase Acts, Projected Award Categories, Post-show Planning 15 Sign Us Up!!!

What is a Variety Show? Variety shows are one of the oldest elements of Frontier Fiesta. The variety shows of the 1940’s and 1950’s produced such stars as actor James Garner, singer Kenny Rogers, and choreographer Patsy Swayze. While a variety show production requires a great deal of work, it is one of the most rewarding activities in Fiesta City. Variety shows typically last about twenty to thirty minutes. Usually they are musical in nature and many times are based on Broadway and big screen hits of the past. Some examples of variety show performances include mini versions of popular musicals such as Oklahoma and Grease. The variety shows can also be an original story line set to music, or collections of popular songs performed with choreography. Because of the heavy workload, each variety show is typically co-produced. While the performances change from year to year, the names of many shows date back to the original days of Frontier Fiesta. So whether your organization has a history with Frontier Fiesta or wants to begin a new tradition, a variety show is a great way to “Make Your Mark”!

Terry Chung Director of Productions, 2012 Frontier Fiesta

The Frontier Fiesta Association office can be found behind the Center for Student Involvement in the UC Underground on the University of Houston main campus.

Frontier Fiesta Association Center for Student Involvement 51 University Center University of Houston Houston, TX 77204-3031 Main Office: (832) 842-6235 Email:

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows

The Joe Koppel Award Variety shows are judged in a competition as groups compete for the coveted Joe Koppel Award (named for the second chairman of Frontier Fiesta in 1941), which is awarded to the best overall show. “In July of 1944, while practicing landings on an Aircraft Carrier of the coast of Virginia, a young man, rather than risk the lives of others, crashed his plane into the Atlantic Ocean, never to be recovered. That young man was JOE KOPPEL. Joe was one of the founders of the Fiesta. He worked as a staff member in the initial production in 1940, and was elected by the student body as a general chairman for the second production the following year. Under his direction, the fabulous beard-growing contest was born and his energetic leadership inspired the production of many musical shows that year. Needless to say, the success of the 1941 production was on the minds of thousands of Houstonians and its 21-year-old director was the most respected and loved student on campus that year. When the war broke out some seven months after the show closed, Joe entered the Naval Air Force and soon earned his wings. In honor of Joe Koppel, the University of Houston Alumni Association gives an award in his name to the show judged best on the midway.

 1948 Silver Moon: Kappa Delta Kappa  1949 Crow’s Nest: Sigma Alpha Chi  1950 Silver Moon: Kappa Delta Kappa & Kappa Sigma Nu  1951 Silver Moon: Kappa Delta Kappa & Kappa Sigma Nu  1952 Bayou Queen: Alpha Phi Omega & Sigma Phi Mu  1953 Bella Union: Gan Bey & Delta Sigma  1954 Tie-Silver Moon: Kappa Delta Kappa & Beta Chi | Bella Union: Gan Bey & Delta Sigma

 1955 Silver Moon: Kappa Delta Kappa & Beta Chi  1956 Bella Union: Sigma Chi & Zeta Tau Alpha  1957 Silver Moon: Sigma Alpha Epsilon & Chi Omega  1958 Bella Union: Sigma Chi & Zeta Tau Alpha  1959 Bayou Queen: Alpha Phi Omega & Delta Zeta  1992 Bella Union: Sigma Chi  1993 Silver Spur: Tau Kappa Epsilon & Alpha Chi Omega  1994 Silver Spur: Tau Kappa Epsilon & Alpha Chi Omega  1995 Golden Nugget: Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Theta, Delta Gamma & Delta Zeta

 1996 Outlaw Saloon: Phi Kappa Theta & Alpha Chi Omega  1997 Delta Crossing: Delta Upsilon & Delta Gamma  1998 Republic of Texas: Phi Kappa Theta & Alpha Chi Omega  1999 Republic of Texas: Phi Kappa Theta & Zeta Tau Alpha  2000 Republic of Texas: Phi Kappa Theta & Zeta Tau Alpha  2001 Golden Nugget: Sigma Phi Epsilon & Phi Mu  2002 Republic of Texas: Phi Kappa Theta & Zeta Tau Alpha  2003 French Quarter: Pi Kappa Phi & Delta Gamma  2004 French Quarter: Pi Kappa Phi & Zeta Tau Alpha  2005 French Quarter: Pi Kappa Phi & Alpha Chi Omega  2006 Delta Crossing: Delta Upsilon & Chi Omega

No Fiesta has been presented since 1941 without the name of Joe Koppel respectfully and consistently entering the conversation. As long as there is a Frontier Fiesta that name will live.

 2007 87 Diner: Omega Delta Phi & Kappa Delta Chi

And that prized possession, the JOE KOPPEL Award, will forever eagerly sought through the competitive spirit which has truly made the Frontier Fiesta ‘The Greatest College Show on Earth.’"

 2010 French Quarter: Pi Kappa Phi & Delta Gamma

 2008 French Quarter: Pi Kappa Phi & Alpha Chi Omega  2009 Golden Nugget: Sigma Phi Epsilon & Chi Omega  2011 Silver Spur: Tau Kappa Epsilon & Phi Mu

-From the 1959 Frontier Fiesta program

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows The President's Cup Last year (1958), the University of Houston President, Clanton W. Williams, donated a trophy to go to the best show in the size category other than the Koppel Award. This trophy is known as THE PRESIDENT'S CUP. Dr. Williams came to the University in January of 1955 and assumed the Presidency on December 10, 1956. Without the wholehearted cooperation of President Williams, Frontier Fiesta could never claim to be "The Greatest College Show on Earth." The first and only President’s Cup Winner:

Variety Shows Comparison Large Shows vs Small Shows Large Variety Shows

Performance Length

20-30 minutes

15-20 minutes

1958 Golden Nugget: Sigma Phi Epsilon & Alpha Chi Omega Along with the return of the Small Variety Show for 2012, the President’s Cup will return to crown its second winner ever at Frontier Fiesta. If your organization has never done a variety show but has plenty of talent, consider producing a Small Variety Show to leave behind a legacy and “Make Your Mark” at Frontier Fiesta!

Small Variety Shows


40’ x 14’ x 8’

Optional to 20’ x 14’ x 8’ Tent Size

40’ x 80’ shared


Number of Organizations Involved

No limit, Usually 2

No limit

Number of Performers

No limit, Usually 20-40

No limit

Overall Awards

Joe Koppel Award

President’s Cup

Deadline for Registration

December 6, 2011

January 23, 2012

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Consider the Possibilities


After reading the 2012 Road to Fiesta City Guidebook, discuss with your organization the possibility, benefits, money, and time requirements of participating in Frontier Fiesta. A variety show can’t be thrown together at the last minute; it requires substantial organization and advanced preparation. As mentioned before, having co-producers to share responsibilities eases the demand of a well-performed variety show.

Review Variety Show Rules & Policies

Large Variety Shows Large Variety Shows, the traditional type of variety show, usually have large amounts of people, resources, talents, etc. These types of shows are ideal for organizations that are already experienced and familiar in the larger production aspects of this magnitude. Throughout the decades, smaller organizations have tried to produce Large Variety Shows and have done fairly well but generally don’t last as long as the stronger traditional variety shows because of limited resources, time and people. Don’t be discouraged if you are a smaller organization but just know what you will be getting into. Large Variety Shows will compete for the coveted Joe Koppel Award.

Small Variety Shows New to the 2012 Frontier Fiesta is the Small Variety Show category. This category will be revived for the first time since the late 1950’s along with the President’s Cup for the best overall Small Variety Show. This type of show is ideal for smaller organizations looking to break into the variety show aspect of Frontier Fiesta without as much time, resources or people as Large Variety Shows require. These shows will be 15-20 minutes long and have half the front size of a Large Variety Show. Both the Large Variety Shows and Small Variety Shows will be expected to have the same quality of production. The University of Houston has a wealth of talent from our student population and several smaller groups collaborating together can produce a great show for all to see. Consider being the first participants of the Small Variety Shows for 2012 and the first winner of the revived President’s Cup!

While these steps are part of a suggested outline to follow, the official rules and policies for variety shows can be found in the section entitled, “Variety Show Policies”, p. 13. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these policies.

Check Out Example Shows on YouTube Bella Union 2010: Sigma Chi & Alpha Chi Omega French Quarter 2009: Pi Kappa Phi & Phi Mu La Hacienda 2001: Omega Delta Phi Silver Spur 2011: Tau Kappa Epsilon & Phi Mu

Choose a Partner While it is not required, Frontier Fiesta strongly suggests that more than one organization join together for variety show productions because of the size and the number of people required not only to produce the show, but also to construct the theater. The following are some simple guidelines to follow when choosing another organization for partnership:

 Be open minded when considering other organizations for the partnership; the selected organization the selected organization may not share the same ideology or goals.

 Consider more than one organization for the partnership because your first choice may not be available or have the resources to assist your organization.

 Discuss the time and the financial requirement of the project up front so that one organization is not responsible for the entire project.

 Make sure that the acceptance of any invitation is the decision of the entire organization and not just an individual speaking on behalf of the entire organization; this ensures a trustworthy partnership and a sure commitment on both sides. For best results, all members should be involved in the project.

 Small Variety Show participants should consider partnering with multiple organizations/individuals to help produce the show, especially organizations that specialize in construction, choreography, artistry, etc.

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Select a General Chairperson

Organize Your Committee

This person should be the most organized and be able to coordinate between the Frontier Fiesta Association as well as his/her organization(s). In order to be effective, the Chairperson should not have too many other time commitments besides the show and school.

The three major components of any variety show productions are finances, the physical set-up of the site and the performance. It is highly recommended to organize the project focusing on these three vital aspects- having someone in charge of the entire project as well as having people overseeing the finances, construction and performance.

Usually when two or more organizations team up for a variety show, each individual organization will have a Chairperson designated to alleviate management demands. If your show does have more than one General Chairperson, just make sure that one person is accountable to the Frontier Fiesta Association so that paperwork, money, deposits, etc. are submitted, not unnecessarily duplicated, and to reduce confusion between organizations.

Name Your Show Well established Variety Shows will already have a name for their show that have been used since the late 1940’s, i.e. French Quarter, Bella Union, Golden Nugget, etc. For newer shows, maybe you can do some research and revive names of old shows associated with your organization or come up with your own. This can be your chance to name a show that will be used for several more decades should your organization continue to produce variety shows. Ask the Director of Productions for ideas on what to name your show or for references from the past, all the way to the 1940’s.

A sample committee structure might be as follows:

Chairperson Finance Director Budget Chair Sponsorship Chair

Productions Director Script Writers Costumes Lighting and Effects Choreography Performers Program Designer Promotions Team

Construction Director Designers Building Crew Painting Crew Decoration Crew Set Builders Set Designers

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Organize Your Finances

Organize Your Productions

Form a Budget

Determine a Theme

It is important to form a budget for the show, which includes all materials and their costs. Get price quotes from several sources when renting items such as lights and tents; never go with the first bid. Taking time to budget and price materials in the beginning can save expenses later. Planning and budgeting also helps to avoid last minute problems. If your Finance Director allows several people to make purchases, make sure to have a system in place for payment and/or reimbursement. Ensure that for EVERY PURCHASE, SAVE EVERY SINGLE RECEIPT for potential Activities Funding Board (AFB) reimbursements.

Once your committee is in place, it is important to select a theme for the show and the theater such as a famous movie, play, Broadway show, TV show, etc. While the theme of the show does not have to be reflected in the theater front, it is often a nice touch and can help promote your show. For example, if your organization chose to do a spin-off of Grease, the front of the theater might be designed to look like a garage. You do not have to limit your show to a pre-existing production; it can be completely original or maybe a combination of different popular media. Often groups incorporate a school spirit spin into a familiar story.

Secure Your Funding After a budget has been compiled, it is important to coordinate the funding process. If paying through University budgets, allow yourself extra time for proper paperwork and timely payment. There are several funding sources available to student organizations on the University of Houston campus. Detailed information about fundraising for both student and nonstudent organizations can be found in the 2012 Road to Fiesta City, “Fundraising Tips & Sources”, p. 8. Plan to do your shopping ahead of time. Props, costumes, decorations, building materials, and paint should be purchased early.

Share Your Tent To save organizations money, Frontier Fiesta has paired Large Variety Show teams together under one tent. The Director of Operations offers a package price for the setup of a tent, chairs, tables, curtains, lights and sound. The package price will be approximately $3,500 which can be divided between the individual organizations. This alone would save Variety Shows nearly $1500; but by applying for AFB funding, all organizations could have their packages paid for free saving a grand total over $5000! Packages will be available through the Director of Operations. Small Variety Shows, please check for similar pricing options with us.

Example Pricing for a Large Variety Show: 40’ x 80’ Tent

approx. $2,100

16’ x 32’ Stage

approx. $1,443.00

Lights & Sound

approx. $2,040.00


approx. $218.75

About $5,800 total. Divided among two shows sharing the tent $2,900. Assuming two organizations team up for one show, cost per organization $1,450. Individual organizations can be reimbursed up to $2,000 in allowable expenses from Activities Funding Board.

Write a Script Once your theme has been determined, the next step of your production is the script. They are not expected to be literary masterpieces or novels, but scripts should be treated as the most important component in your production because it can make or break your show. Decide what effect you want to give your audience, i.e. do you want them laughing, crying, be in suspense, terrified, spirited, on an emotional rollercoaster, etc.? Generally, a variety show will do a rendition of a famous Broadway musical, movie, TV show, book, etc. so that the audience can already be familiar with the characters, the setting and the general storyline. If you are following suit of a famous production, please keep in mind that you only have 20 to 30 minutes for a Large Variety Show and 15 to 20 minutes for a Small Variety Show to convey the entire story or major events into one show and about 2 to 5 acts. Don’t let iconic characters, if you choose to use them, become flat renditions within your storyline. Character development is necessary so that viewers remember the characters themselves and can identify with them. Consider using key scenes that people will already remember and pick up on so they can be engaged in the story. Try renting a copy of the performance to use as an outline so you can focus on the best scenes to use within your own production. There’s a wide selection of musicals, dance/talent shows, movie, TV shows, etc. to choose from to model your production so you can plan on having an engaging storyline with rich character development and seamless transitions.

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Write a Script (cont’d) You don’t necessarily have to limit your production to any pre-existing production but watching different media can give you some clues as to how to develop characters, form transitions, design sets, select talent and most importantly, have a great story. You can incorporate many types of pre-existing productions, pop culture references, modern influences, iconic people and characters, etc. into your own work. Many variety shows also incorporate school spirit and Cougar pride into the story as well but just try to go beyond a simple UH vs Rice or any other Texas school rivalry because everyone else will be doing the same. The simpler the overall storyline, the better the audience and judges can follow along but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the storyline more rich and complex. Try not to have any loose ends by the end of the show but don’t just tie those loose ends as an afterthought. Some stories can be selfcontained and be confined to the stage effectively but other stories can make the audience feel a part of the story by using the narrator to talk to the audience or using background characters and extras to make the entire tent area an extension of the stage. If you have great writers within your organization, try to come up with something completely original. If you don’t, then consider using the UH Creative Writing program or other story writers to help you. Anything is fair game as long as it is familyfriendly, but the overall production is what sets your show from every other show. A sample of your show’s complete script must be submitted to the Director of Productions or Assistant Director of Productions-Variety Shows by the specified deadline. Turning in scripts on time is essential to producing a variety show since all scripts must be approved. Initial revisions and critiques will be made by the Frontier Fiesta Association. Amendments can be made after the deadline upon approval and each variety show is required to have a revised script (with changes noted) before their scheduled rehearsal dates with the Frontier Fiesta Association. Any group turning in late scripts will be deducted points towards the Joe Koppel Award or President’s Cup.

The first page should have a list of characters- main and supporting- with a brief description of who they are. Try to establish which characters are the true main characters so you can spend the most time developing them then go back and develop the supporting characters as much as possible. You do not have to write an entire biography of each character, just what’s necessary to convey that these particular characters are important is some way. You may also want to mention who is a protagonist and/or antagonist if you choose to have either. Also include the setting of the story, i.e. a brief description of the place and time. The subsequent pages should have the story divided into acts (2 to 5, each titled), along with the setting of each act, list of characters in the scene, descriptions of what each character (main, supporting, performing and background) is doing and where they are placed, all written dialogue, transitions, technical effects, use of props, sets, the music being played and when, set changes, types of dances/singing/other talent being performed, etc. Make sure the dialogue for each character is labeled along with actions in parentheses (if any). If your organization needs an example of a variety show script, please contact the Director of Productions or the Assistant Director of Productions-Variety Show I at

Things to Consider in a Script:  Make something original or tweak a pre-existing story  Time period and setting  Character development  The number of main and supporting characters  Non-acting performers (dancers, singers, special talents, instrumentals, etc.)

 Background characters  All characters (When will they be performed and why a particular act will be performed)

Scripts must be typed with a cover sheet with the following- title of the show, title of the story, names of the organizations, authors, and either “Large Variety Show” or “Small Variety Show”. Each page must be numbered with the name of the show on the header.

 Placement of characters on stage (stage blocking)  Transitions, breaks in action  Acts (When and how they begin, When they end and how they conclude)

 Background & main music  Use of multimedia (Video, Lighting, Special effects)

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Make a Storyboard

Select Your Music

In order to visualize your completed script, a storyboard is a great tool to help you see what backgrounds there will be, which characters will be on stage, what lines they will speak, when character will appear, what props will be used, notations of transitions, background changes, lighting, music/dancing/singing sequences, entrances/exits, use of multimedia/special effects, and general progression of the story. All variety shows will be required to submit a storyboard that goes along with the progression of the script. Performers are not limited to just the stage but must be aware to be visible to all members of the audience and judges. Each show will have a 32’ x 14’ stage with limited space on the sides and rear of the stage along with the general tent area which is usually 40’ x 80’. Story boards may be either drawn, photographed & Photoshopped or any other way that can be transferred onto regular paper. Art and words must be legible but do not need to be masterpieces. The storyboard needs to be made so that the entire script can be followed along with visual images and so your show has a visual idea of how the show will be performed.

Your selection of music further enhances your storyline and sets the mood for your characters. Generally, most shows will use prerecorded music to go along with dances or other performances. Consider using acapella groups, instrumentals, singing, stomp/step/stroll percussive types of music, etc. to go beyond the conventional way of conveying music. Many shows use popular music while others use orchestral music. You have a wide range of types of music and ways of conveying such music but remember to have a reason for making a music selection. Don’t play a popular song just to play it. Integrate it into the story creatively and seamlessly. A lot of shows will have musical dancing numbers but try not to have an abrupt transition in the storyline to go straight into a dance. See how musicals, Broadway shows and even shows like Glee transition from acting to musical performances without a sudden pause in the action. Whatever music you do choose to incorporate into your show, make sure it is clean, tasteful and appropriate for all ages. So use radio-edits or censor the music yourself. Don’t wait to edit your music on the day of your rehearsal with the Frontier Fiesta Association especially not during the rehearsal. A typed list of music is required from all variety shows whether it is pre-recorded, a live performance or an original piece by the specified deadline. The list, in order of performance, must include the names of the artists, title of the songs and source of the material. Songs that are mixed together will be listed individually and labeled as a mix. Original songs must include the lyrics unless they are entirely instrumental. Any show that does not turn in its music list on time will be deducted points from the overall score.

Assemble Your Cast After the completion of the script, the next item is to cast the characters. It may or may not be necessary to hold auditions of the different parts. If there is competition for specific roles, be sure to hold a fair screening with impartial judges for the selection. Besides filling each role, it is important to choose a back-up or understudy for all major roles. Unfortunately, people sometimes do get sick or hurt and are unable to perform when show time comes around. By having someone who is familiar with the dialogue and the part, they can step into the role in the event of an unforeseen absence. All on-stage performers must be currently enrolled UH students with a minimum cumulative and fall semester GPA of 2.0. Groups with ineligible cast members will be notified after they turn in their cast list. Any group that does not drop an ineligible member from the show and is discovered to be in violation of this policy after notification will forfeit their eligibility for any awards. Fill out the Cast List form to include all cast members and any possible participants in the future by the specified deadline. If you group fails to meet this deadline, your show will receive a deduction of points towards your overall show score. Without this list, your show can’t be approved. If your cast list changes at any point in the semester, please contact the Director of Productions or Assistant Director of Productions-Variety Shows for approval.

Choreograph Your Show Musical numbers are usually a large part of any variety show. While having talented singers and actors are important to these scenes, everyone else on stage is just as important. Most shows will have partner dances, guys/girls line dancing, stunt dancing and many other creative performances. Choreography adds energy and excitement to any production and should therefore be very well thought-out and planned. This may be one area where it is necessary to go outside of your organization for assistance. Choreographers can help you improve in areas such as synchronization and use of the stage, as well as help you create an original and possibly award-winning dance. Some organizations will already have great choreographers but some don’t. If you are lacking in this department, consider asking for help from the School of Theater and Dance, go to dance classes, ask professional choreographers, etc. Avoid having inexperienced people try to come up with a dance that will fall flat in your show. If you have many dancers on stage then you shouldn’t have to add too many other background activities. However, if you have only a few dancers on stage, incorporate extras into the scene to make the dance more lively. Choreography will be demonstrated to the Frontier Fiesta Association during scheduled rehearsals.

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Make a Practice Schedule


The old saying “practice makes perfect” definitely applies in the case of a variety show production. It is important to schedule weekly practice times for the cast. For the first few months of production, practices should be scheduled by scene.

All shows must have visual representations of all props being used for the production. Sketches, photos, web images, etc. are acceptable but must match or be similar to what is being used for the performance. Include brief descriptions on how these props will be used for the performance. Print, copy or sketch these on regular paper.

In-house previews and on-campus previews of all shows shall be conducted by the Frontier Fiesta Association at designated dates and locations for approval of content and to gauge the quality of the show. A preview is defined as a run-through of the entire variety show, including dances, acting and other talents. Content shall be judged subjectively for any offensive content or any material not appropriate for a family oriented atmosphere. Any organization that does not conduct previews for the Frontier Fiesta Association will not be eligible for any variety show awards. Please plan several practice sessions in house and on the physical site before opening night so that everyone is familiar with the stage, lights, and sound system. Performers must learn to interact with the stage crew as well as with each other. Each Variety Show should plan several complete trial runs before opening night to polish up details and address any problems. Trial performances are an opportunity to invite special guests and sponsors to see a “sneak preview” of your show before Fiesta City opens to the public. Please fll out the Practice Schedule form and submit it by the specified deadline to avoid deductions of points. Frontier Fiesta scheduled rehearsals will be the following dates. Please ensure that you sign up for a preliminary run-through, initial dress rehearsal and final dress rehearsal with the Director of Productions upon turning in your forms. Also ensure to bring updated scripts, music, backgrounds, props, costumes, etc. you may have. Preliminary Run-throughs: Friday, February 17, 2012 5p-10p, UC Mediterranean

Background & Set Design Because set design spans the division between production and construction, it is best to have someone separate yet in communication with those in charge of production and construction to oversee this activity to ensure continuity. Set design involves interpreting the setting of the scenes into props and backdrops. Sets are often changed several times during a show, so care must be taken in the design of the sets. The following are some hints for set design:  Create the illusion of an elaborate set by painting a three-dimensional backdrop.  Props are most often items found around the house.  Make sure props and backdrops do not obstruct the audience’s view.  Painted canvas backdrops are easy to set up and store.  Be aware that at least two shows will be sharing the same curtain lines if you choose curtain-style backdrops. All shows must have visual representations of all backgrounds being used. Sketches, photos, web images, etc. are acceptable but must match or be similar to what is being used for the performance. Include details either visually or written on how these backgrounds will be affixed, freestanding, curtain line or however you intend to have these in your performance. Print, copy or sketch these on regular paper.

Saturday, February 18, 2012 12p-5p, UC Mediterranean Initial Dress Rehearsals Friday, March 2, 2012 5p-10p, UC Mediterranean Final Dress Rehearsals Fri-Sun, March 16-18, 2012, times TBD, Fiesta City

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Organize Your Construction

Costumes Costume design involves many of the same principles as set design. Costumes for characters should attempt to realistically represent the time and setting of the scene. Costumes can either be rented or made for the cast. Note that the more comfortable the costume, the less distracted the performer will be. Make sure that costumes make sense for the characters, especially main and supporting characters, and that they fit within the time and locale of the storyline. Make-up should be included as part of costume design as well. Stage lights tend to wash away human flesh tones and features with color. Make-up can accentuate a character’s attributes, and make them “come alive” for the audience. All shows must have visual representations of all costumes being used. Sketches, photos, web images, etc. are acceptable but must match or be similar to what is being used for the performance. Print, copy or sketch these on regular paper.

Technicians Make sure to select your lighting techs, music techs, curtain stagehands, and other behind-the-scenes people in your show and ensure they know what they are doing. These people need to be trained with the script and be able to recognize cues. Whoever is working your lights and music needs to be familiar with the equipment when it is delivered on site to your tent. Performers requiring microphones need to practice several times by walking and talking all around the stage and tent to ensure that they will not be cut off when speaking and to minimize feedback from the mics. Lighting should not blind the performers, music should be loud enough for the entire tent as well as the to hear but not ear blistering loud. Two people should always be pulling curtains but not necessarily performers. Any special effects like smoke machines, strobes, videos, etc. need to be rehearsed to perfection. If you do have strobes please warn people about it beforehand, too. All technicians need to demonstrate their proficiency to the Frontier Fiesta Association during final rehearsals.

The front of your production can not only enhance the appeal of your show but it can add points towards your overall judging score. While the production committee is working on the show performance, the construction crew should be working on the physical site of the theater. All variety show sites will include a tent with a stage, curtain system, light system, sound system, tables, chairs and a storage area. Participants are responsible for creating a front, backdrops, and changing areas for performers. Your Variety show will be judged on several criteria and having a cohesive design will make your show look more professional. Be sure to take the extra time to plan and decorate your front for these competitions. Consult the 2012 Frontier Fiesta Building Codes & Regulations Guidebook for more details about front construction.

Large Variety Shows A constructed front or facade is required for all Large Variety Shows. Fronts often reflect the theme of the show. These fronts are usually limited to 40’ x 14’ x 8’ in dimensions.

Small Variety Shows Small Variety Shows can opt to construct a front but it is not required. Small shows will be limited to a 20’ x 14’ x 8’ front. If a Small Variety Show participant does opt to not have a front, it will reduce the chances of winning the President’s Cup but may still be eligible for other awards. Fronts do not have to be elaborate nor expensive but do help attract attention and not just become another tent within Fiesta City. There are rules and guidelines associated with building or constructing any front or other structure in Fiesta City. Please review the 2012 Frontier Fiesta Building Codes & Regulations Guidebook before you begin building any type of structure for your site. If you need any assistance with site design or other construction items, please contact the Director of Operations.

Mandatory OSHA Safety Brief All participants that intend to be on-site at Fiesta City during construction need to attend this mandatory safety brief whether you are only building, decorating or rehearsing. Refer to the 2012 Frontier Fiesta Building Codes & Regulations Guidebook for more details.

Volunteer Hours Each organization involved in a variety show will be responsible for providing a minimum of 20 hours of work to help build, paint, and set up various structures in Fiesta City. Refer to the 2012 Frontier Fiesta Building Codes & Regulations Guidebook for more information.

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Tying Up Loose Ends Make a Program This is an important detail that is often a last minute afterthought. Programs help attract people to your show and give them information about the show. Make sure to include the title of the show, title of the story, acts, cast, maybe pictures of actors in costumes, the Variety Show committee, possibly a few words from the chair(s), sponsors, thank-yous or ads for members, organization members, information about your organization, etc. Programs can be the one historical souvenir that can be archived to document your show and all the people that went into producing it for decades to come. These may come in handy when the judges visit your show.


Submit All Forms, Monies & Deposits 1)

Fill out the 2012 Frontier Fiesta General Registration Form available at .


Complete the 2012 Frontier Fiesta Variety Show Checklist Form along with submitting all items required of the form. Items include but are not limited to, the script, cast list, storyboard, music list, etc.


The refundable site security deposit for each variety show is $900. The site security deposit includes the use of a site and two 4-plug outlets for power. For rules and regulations concerning site security deposits, refer to the 2012 Frontier Fiesta Building Codes & Regulations Guidebook, “Site Security Deposits”, p. 11.


The Site Reservation Form and site security deposit must be turned in early to secure your site. Since sites are assigned on first-come, first-serve basis, the sooner you turn in your forms, the better your chances of getting your first choice. Reservation forms and site security deposits deadlines are on the forms. No building will be permitted on the Fiesta site until an organization’s site security deposit has been turned in.


The Variety Show package price includes the tent, chairs, curtains, lights, sounds, etc. Consult the Director of Operations for current pricing.


The Individual Liability Form is due before any individual can help with construction. The form will only be given to individuals that have attended the Frontier Fiesta-sponsored OSHA safety meeting or on-site when individuals watch the approved video alternative. It is vital that all members of your organization attend the safety meeting. Failure to do so will result in the suspension of your show and construction on your site until this form is turned in by all members participating in construction and/or on-site activities during construction.


The safety and security of all persons, items, and equipment associated with any variety show is the responsibility of the organization coordinating the project. All organizations are required to sign a Theft/Damage Waiver when they submit their reservation form and site security deposit. While every effort is made to keep Fiesta City safe and equipment secure, the event, like any other, is a temptation for thieves and vandals. The following are some important safety tips:

Lock up small items such as props, costumes, and tools. Or take these items home.

Turn in Fiesta Bucks each night to the Fiesta City Bank.

Unplug all electrical devices when your show closes.

While show locations and times are listed in the official Frontier Fiesta program, many organizations choose to do additional internal promotions for their show. Consider creating Youtube videos and link them to Facebook to let you friends and family know about your show and Frontier Fiesta. These videos as well may come in handy when it comes time for final judging.

Show Times The Frontier Fiesta Association assigns show times for each show randomly on a rotating basis depending on site location. Show times are arranged so visitors can attend one show after another. It is vital to stick to your show schedule not only for competition purposes, but also to allow visitors the maximum opportunity to see all of the shows. Show times are published in the Gazette and may cause confusion to visitors if switched. Variety show performances will be on the following days and between the designated start and end times: Thursday,

March 22

5- 9 pm


March 23

5- 9 pm


March 24

1-7 pm

The Frontier Fiesta Association will provide you with a schedule that you will post on the outside of your front so that visitors can easily see when the next show starts. You may want to make your own show time schedule to compliment the schedule that Frontier Fiesta gives for your show.

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Variety Show Policies  The safety of all Frontier Fiesta participants, visitors, vendors, staff, students, and faculty is of the utmost importance. Any acts that compromise such safety will be subject to the consequences under rules and regulations of UH Safety and Risk Management, UHPD, and HPD. In addition, keep your group safe by being careful during construction, performing difficult dances, etc.

 All cast members, stage hands, lighting technicians, sound technicians, etc. as well as any other participants vital to the production of a show must refrain from consuming any alcoholic beverages on the show site. Violators will be escorted from Fiesta City and the variety show will be disqualified from all awards.

 Variety shows are expected to provide quality entertainment to all visitors at Frontier Fiesta. With this in mind, offensive material and language is strictly prohibited. Also, no performer is allowed to have any alcohol before or during participation in the Variety Shows

 Professional entertainers, technicians or others who are not currently University of Houston students may not be featured “on stage” in variety show acts.

 Security and safety are the sole responsibility of each organization producing a variety show. Each variety show will sign a theft/ damage and liability waiver on behalf of its members for any claims due to theft, damage, or injury.

Deadlines & Important Dates Refer to the individual forms for more details. The deadline to register to do a variety show is: December 6, 2011 for Large Variety Shows January 23, 2012 for Small Variety Shows.

Site Security Deposit and form and Variety Show package due: January 23, 2012 at 7pm for Large Variety Shows February 3, 2012 at 7pm for Small Variety Shows

Variety Show Checklist Form due: February 3, 2012 at 7pm for Large Variety Shows February 10 , 2012 at 7pm for Small Variety Shows

Building Plans & Specifications due: February 10, 2012 for all shows

Rehearsal Dates (all shows): Friday, February 17, 2012 5p-10p, UC Mediterranean Saturday, February 18, 2012 12p-5p, UC Mediterranean Friday, March 2, 2012 5p-10p, UC Mediterranean

 To help keep sites clean, trash should be collected at the end of each day’s activities and placed in a sealed bag in front of your site by midnight. All trash disposed of in this manner will be picked-up by the Frontier Fiesta Association. All other trash disposal is the responsibility of the organization in charge of each site. Chairs and tables must be returned at the specified location and time after the last show of the event. Groups who fail to return tables and chairs by the above stated date will lose a portion of their site security deposit. The replacement cost of unreturned or damaged items will be the responsibility of the renting organization.

 The price of admission to all variety shows will be one Fiesta Buck

Connections Meetings (see the 2012 Road to Fiesta City)

OSHA Safety Brief :March 8, 2012 at 6pm for all participants

Construction Deadline: March 18, 2012 midnight for all shows

Front Decoration Deadline: March 20, 2012 at 9:00pm for all shows

per person. This is to ensure the proper calculation when determining the largest attendance among all variety shows.

 The only monetary unit accepted at Frontier Fiesta is the Fiesta

Frontier Fiesta: March 22-24, 2012!!!

Buck. Variety Shows may not accept cash for payment. Variety Shows in violation of the Fiesta Buck Policy will be shut down and disqualified from all awards. All Fiesta Bucks collected by variety shows must be turned in to Fiesta Banks at the conclusion of each day’s operation. After the conclusion of the event, each organization’s account will be tallied and a check in the amount of returned Fiesta Bucks will be issued to the organization at the productions wrap-up meeting. For further information regarding Fiesta Buck policies, refer to the section in this packet entitled “Fiesta Buck Policy.”

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows Projected Award Categories

Judging Criteria Criteria for judging may include but not be limited to:

 Showcase Acts- based on talent, props, content, set design, choreography & costumes

Quality of Production  Storyline- effect, acting, vocal clarity, character development, transitions, overall story  Talent- variety of talents, singing, musical performances, dancing, unique acts, multimedia, choreography, choice of music, difficulty, synchronization  Appearance- costumes, creativity, coordination, appropriateness, backgrounds, props, set design, scene changes

 Best Choreography- choreography & stage movement in entire show

 Best Costumes- most original & best in entire show  Most Original Variety Show Concept- most original themes through costumes, front, set, choreography & acting

 Best Variety Show Front- creative design & quality front, meets deadlines

 First Completed Variety Show Front- based on times

Use of Theme

from Director of Operations

 Use of Frontier Fiesta theme “Make Your Mark”, display of school spirit, originality, concept, completeness

 Most Creative Variety Show Front– creativity & originality  Best Attended Variety Show- based on Fiesta Bucks

Stage Presence  Audience reaction, enthusiasm, energy, use of stage & spacing, use of lighting, effects & sound

 Best Overall Variety Show- combined winner 

Large Variety Show- Joe Koppel Award

Judges’ Favorites

Small Variety Show- President’s Cup

Audience Favorites

 Variety Show-Best Sportsmanship- displays friendliness to visitors and other shows

Quality of Front  First front completed, appearance, originality, creativity

 Gwen Hruska Award– most spirited

Post-Show Planning

Other Considerations  Programs, bonus commercials, Mr. & Miss Fiesta entries and winners, banner contest, etc. Deductions  Late paperwork, incorrect front dimensions & specifications, incomplete volunteer hours, any other violations of rules

Showcase Acts

Storage- Thousands of dollars are wasted every year on fronts, stages, and props that are thrown away due to poor planning. Fronts and stages that are built to last may cost more initially but save money in later years. If you have a front or other piece of equipment that your organization wants stored, make arrangements for after-event storage. Frontier Fiesta does have a limited amount of secure storage space available. Check with the Director of Operations for possibilities.

The Fiesta Showcase will be announced on the Saturday of the event. The Fiesta Showcase will then perform later in the day. The showcase is designed to highlight the talents of our student performers, and to allow everyone to see and share in the hard work of these productions. Groups should take into account that the stage used for the Fiesta Showcase is smaller than the stage that has been used for the actual variety show so each organization should plan their scenes accordingly to fit the stage. Variety show awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on the Saturday night following showcase.

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Frontier Fiesta: Make Your Mark Large & Small Variety Shows

Sign Us Up!!! If you are part of an organization, please have a discussion meeting with your members to go over the possibilities of what you group can bring to Frontier Fiesta. If you are an individual, convince yourself what you want to do at Frontier Fiesta. If you’ve read through this entire book, then you probably want to do more than just be a spectator. Review the 2012 Road to Fiesta City along with the respective guides that may lead you more towards what you want to do and consult the respective Fiesta Director for any questions not answered. Once you’ve decided what to do, fill out the 2012 General Registration Form which can be found at This form is not binding until all other paperwork, contracts, deposits, monies, etc. have been completed. Whatever activity or event that you plan to participate in will have a checklist coversheet and respective forms to help complete the process. We hope that your organization will give Frontier Fiesta a try and make it part of your tradition.

“Make Your Mark” at Frontier Fiesta 2012!!! Also check out our other publications for more detailed information And forms on how to participate at Frontier Fiesta:

 2012 Road to Fiesta City: General Guidebook  2012 Frontier Fiesta Variety Show Guide  2012 Frontier Fiesta Organizational Events & Activities Guide  2012 Frontier Fiesta Building Codes & Regulations  2012 Frontier Fiesta Cookbook  2012 Frontier Fiesta Competitions Guide  2012 Frontier Fiesta Sponsorship Brochure  2012 Frontier Fiesta Committeeman Brochure

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2012 Frontier Fiesta Variety Shows Guide  
2012 Frontier Fiesta Variety Shows Guide  

Large & Small Variety Shows