Variety Show 2023: The Seven Ages—A Lighthearted Look at Growing Up Rockbridge!
“All the world’s a stage/ And all men and women merely players” says Shakespeare’s melancholy character, Jacques, from As You Like It. At Rockbridge, in the Sixth Grade, this is the first of Shakespeare’s plays the students read and Jacques’ famous speech inspired our Juniors to come up with the theme for The Rockbridge Academy Variety Show 2023: THE SEVEN AGES—A Lighthearted Look at Growing Up Rockbridge!
Join us on March 3rd and 4th as we watch our Rockbridge Upper schoolers take to our very own stage making “their exits and their entrances” in dramatic and musical fashion! Look for a cameo appearance from Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Lytikainen, and follow the “players” as they weave their way from childhood innocence, to dialectic drama, and finally, rhetorical wisdom. Their song and dance will delight and entertain you as they bring a Rockbridge coming of age to life with tunes you already know and love. Indulge us with your company for “two hours’ traffic of our stage”!
Program for A Midsummer Night's Musical
Click HERE to access the program for A Midsummer Night's Musical.
A Midsummer Night's Musical
By Olivia Reardon (12th grade student). Artwork by Lilia Bailey (12th grade student). Photo credit: Alyssa Neely (class of 2011).
After school these days you might see Anna Pasquarelli (12th grader) in a wedding gown or rhetoric students wearing red clown noses. The tune of Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” floats down the hallways and fairies (who were Rockbridge sixth graders moments ago) dance around the dining hall. If you think it sounds like a circus is brewing, you are not far off. The Rockbridge Academy players are preparing for A Midsummer Night’s Musical, a production which promises an unconventional experience for the Rockbridge community.
As you can already tell, this will be no ordinary production. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a Shakesperian play. However, it would not be a Rockbridge production without music! Therefore, the actors were challenged with memorizing original Shakespearian lines while integrating modern songs to make it a musical. Lead actress for Puck and Rockbridge senior, Noelle McDowell, said the show contains “a range of music from things your grandparents will know to current songs [by singers] such as Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.”
But that is not all. Lily Bailey, stage manager and Rockbridge senior, said, “We have put a twist on the play so that it is a big circus. When you walk into the theater, it's going to look like a huge tent.” She described it as a whimsical, colorful conglomeration of a "Renaissance circus” and a fairy kingdom.
To give the play an even more circus-like feel, it will not be viewed as a normal production where the actors and audience are clearly separated. Alyssa Neely, the producer of the play and Rockbridge alumna (class of 2011), said, “The show will be performed on the stage, where the audience will also be sitting. We want it to feel like you’re in a small black box theater, with the action happening right in front of and all around you.”
While mixing these components may seem strange, the cast members seem to all agree that the combination creates a hilarious production. Zach Sexton, a Rockbridge senior who plays Oberon and a Mechanical named Flute, said, “If you want to have a really nice laugh, this is the show you want to come to!”
Lily identified a particularly comical part of the show when she said, “There is a fight scene between the four lovers that is hilarious. The actors do it so well and it’s so funny.”
Although hilarity is a familiar experience for the Rockbridge audience, this production offers some unprecedented elements. Mrs. Neely said, “I think almost everything about this production will be a fairly new experience for most Rockbridge audience members! The set, props, and costumes will all be very simple, and the focus will truly be on the actors and their great storytelling. Instead of having the audience section of the theater and the stage section of the theater, it will all be one.”
Noelle said her favorite part of being in the Rockbridge musical is “the inter-grade community and experience. The musical draws all different kinds of people, and you get to laugh at yourselves together.”
This is the first Rockbridge production Zach has participated in and the experience has given him much more than acting, dancing, and singing skills. Zach said, “being confident and following through are the biggest lessons I have learned.”
A Midsummer Night’s Musical is sure to be a hilarious, creative, and entertaining production you won’t want to miss. Join us on campus March 4th, 5th, 10th, 11th, or 12th to experience this unique retelling of a Shakespearian classic! Noelle said, “you will never see a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream like ours!”
Diving Deep Under the Sea!
Our first musical at our new Evergreen Campus was spectacular! Bravo to all the cast, crew, creative team, and many, many helpers who poured their time and hearts into making our inaugural show amazing! Mrs. Ball and Mrs. Bouma faced many challenges as they converted the gym into an underwater world reminiscent of the 1920-1930s. In the end, the Lord brought countless details together on this journey that was a display of His kindness and continued work in our hearts. Glory to God who is able and always works miracles below the surface.
Photo credit: John Daly
Behind the Scenes
Many, many individuals worked behind the scenes to make the show a reality. Make-up. Hair. Backstage crew. Scales on fish. Framing a sting ray. Painting waves. Sewing costumes. Set building. Facilities management. Admin support. Setting up chairs. Musicans. The list goes on and on. Thank you!
Rockbridge Remembers...and What an Evening It Was This Past February!
Thank you to John Daly for capturing the evening in these lovely photos. Thank you to all of our out-town-guests and the creative team and parents and students who worked so hard to put on a great show.
God is about the business of transforming hearts, building community, and helping us see our need for Him and others, even in and through the variety show.
From Producer, Mandy Ball: "The unseen but beautiful work of the variety show happens when we come to Saturday rehearsals when every bone in our bodies cry out to stay in bed, care about classmates and adults in charge enough to apologize when we make the wrong choices, respond in humility to changes to an act on which we have labored for months, choose to see the Imago Dei in someone who has not met our expectations during the process, and see the needs of others and step in to meet them as the hands and feet of Christ."
Rockbridge Academy Presents!
The Rockbridge Academy drama program is designed to give students an in depth understanding of what it takes to bring a full-length musical, or musical variety production, to completion. Students learn the value of godly character, hard work, and cooperation as they go from initial auditions and read-throughs, to the final curtain, always encouraged to keep in mind standards of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty (Phil. 4:8). In addition, musical stage productions serve a distinctive role in giving "flesh" to the concept of rhetoric. Students use their talents to persuade and articulate in a way that a traditional class never could. Students are encouraged to be part of the stage crew if that is where their particular gifts and talents lie.
Typically, students perform a full-length musical and a student-led Variety Show in alternating years. Last year, Rockbridge Academy performed Rockbridge Remembers to rave reviews!