Gearing up for Grasshopper

Grasshopper Night, the Parents’ Weekend talent show, is right around the corner! As has been the case in the past, there is an incredible lineup of acts to look forward to seeing this year. To give you a preview of what’s to come, here’s a quick rundown. A new addition to the normal Grasshopper lineup, the casting committee (made up of producers Jenny Byer ’04, Lydia Wallace ’04, and Ali Schouten ’04, music director Emma Sussex ’04, dance director Rachel Okun ’04, and stage manager Jess Chermayeff ’04) has added a pre-show performance. Tanner Kaufman ’06 and Eric Bair ’05 will perform on the piano before the beginning of each show. One will play on a keyboard in the lobby of Steinbach while everyone mills and mingles; the other will perform on a piano on the stage of Tang once the theater’s doors are opened and people begin to find their seats. The emcees of Grasshopper night will be the infamous boys of Carriage House. No introduction is needed here. The boys will, without a doubt, surprise us with hysterical impromptu acts (a la Rabbot Cabaret 2003) as they lead us through the show. And now for the main event… Aaron Stroble ’04, Bill Smith ’04, Tom McDonell ’04, and Jeremy Beecher ’04 make up one of the more notable acts of this year’s Grasshopper Night. Formed about an hour before they auditioned, this group of seniors pulled themselves together with Stroble on drums, Smith and McDonell on guitar, and Beecher on bass. They will be playing a rendition of “My Generation” by The Who. When asked about their song choice, Stroble commented, “We wanted to play something that would transcend the generations; we want both the students and the parents to enjoy our music.” Steve Travierso ’04, a four-year performer in Grasshopper Night, will be showcasing a different talent from his normal comedic fare. Travierso will perform a jazz-vocal solo, “Slow Like Honey,” which will surely be a departure from other acts in the lineup. The artists formerly known as “Steal Your Face” will also be performing under a new, undecided title. John Weigel ’05, Nate Greenberg ’05, Jesse Seegers ’05, and Jami Makan ’04 formed this group last winter. With their well-known original, “Stranger Things Have Happened,” this group auditioned for Grasshopper Night as one-year veterans of the PA performing circle. Now, the unnamed group is trying to make a solid name for themselves on campus circuit. “We want to have our own identity,” said Weigel ’05. The band hopes to produce a CD, but, for now, they “look forward to performances like Grasshopper Night, because the bigger crowds mean more people to enjoy the music.” In addition to rock music, Grasshopper Night has almost always included performances by student-led a cappella groups. This year’s show will feature two such groups. InSkip, Andover’s only co-ed a cappella group and a perennial Grasshopper Night act, returns this year singing an arrangement of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love.” Also look forward to the debut performance of Andover’s brand-new all-male a cappella group The Yorkies. Performing an arrangement of Rockapella’s famous hit song and TV show theme “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?,” The Yorkies are an act that you don’t want to miss. “We add a new and different feel to the Phillips Academy music scene. After all, we’re not you’re average a cappella group.” Performing “Nobody Does It Better,” by Carly Simon are Emma Sussex ’04, Scout Kingery ’04, Jami Makan ’04, and Jeremy Beecher ’04. Sussex’s beautiful voice has graced the Tang stage several times in recent years of Grasshopper Night, and there can be no doubt that this performance will surpass her previous efforts. Dance acts are also popular when it comes to Grasshopper Night, and this year’s show has several of its own. Anthony Reyes ’05 choreographed a 2003 Dance Open piece entitled “Softly As the Morning Sunrise” that will appear in the show. It was so well-liked amongst the dancers that many of them asked Anthony if they could audition with it for Grasshopper Night. Reyes said, “I’m really happy, because the piece is a wonderful mixture of many styles and it showcases the dancers beautifully.” Andover’s step dance team, SLAM, will also make its annual appearance. Once again, no need of an introduction here. We know that the girls will liven up the crowd with their infectious spirit and edgy dance moves that have pleased Grasshopper Night audiences for years. Pooja Sripad ’04, who underwent her ceremonious Rangapravesham recital a few weeks ago, will be performing a solo Indian dance. The Rangapravesham is the celebration of an Indian dancer’s accomplishment once they reach the skill level at with they are able to begin choreographing and teaching other dancers. As she has done in the past, Sripad will undoubtedly amaze us with her talent, beauty, and grace upon the stage. The quartet of Margaret Griset ’04, Amy O’Gorman ’04, Julianne Fitzpatrick ’05, and Yendi Linares ’05 will be dancing to Michael Jackson’s “The Way You make Me Feel” at this year’s show. The entire group choreographed the dance, with each member contributing her own ideas until the piece reached its final stage a few weeks ago. The music is upbeat and the dance the girls have choreographed is jazz-oriented and full of energy. Griset said, “I’ve wanted to perform in Grasshopper Night for four years; now, I just absolutely can’t wait to get up there with the girls- it’s going to be so much fun.” As for this year’s closing act, the audience will have to wait to see what Jacqui LeBoutillier ’04 and her band have to present. It will surely be a number to never forget, topping LeBoutillier’s sultry redition of “Purple Haze” from last year’s show. These talented acts were chosen from a list of over forty acts that auditioned. Ali Schouten ’04 said, “It was so upsetting to have to cut people, but there is more talent at this school than room to cast … if anything, the audition process for this show has reaffirmed my awe in the performers at PA; if the talent at this school continues to be as strong as it is this year, performances on campus will forever be amazing.”