Parents’ Weekend Grasshopper Night 2010

This weekend, the retro-themed Grasshopper Night show will take the audience on a journey through time, portraying the evolution of mankind’s relationship with song, dance and theater. MCs Andrew Schlager ’12, Dan Larson ’11, Julian Danzinger ’11 and Alec Weiss ’11 provide a constant comical interpretation of the past, emphasizing the retro-theme of the evening. Ranging from skits based on the birth of man to 80s workout videos and several satires of Phillips Academy’s history, this year’s MCs successfully sustain the pace and provide a consistent sense of humor the entire audience will appreciate. In the first act, Casey McQuillen ’11 and her band welcome the crowd to their seats with soft, self-composed music. The band, comprised of violinists Jeannine Anderson ’11 and Stephanie Liu ’11, drummer Zachary Fine ’11, pianist Will Adams ’11 and bass guitarist Charlie Oliva ’11, will entice the audience and set a high standard of talent for the evening. SLAM takes on an Egyptian theme, stepping to Kanye West’s “Power,” choreographed by Aniebiet Abasi ’11, and Haley Scott ’11. Incorporating gymnastics and some slight theatrical effects, SLAM’s performance follows a story rather than just a routine. With the addition of four males to the team, SLAM takes on a variety of new steps and props. Breaking the mold of their usual routines, SLAM’s performance keeps the audience on edge for the end of their Egyptian tale. Grasshopper makes a stop in India for “Bollywood Backlash.” Choreographed by Supriya Jain ’12, this dance features traditional Bollywood dance and big smiles from each performer. The beautiful costumes glitter in the lights and the music perfectly accompanies the delicate importance of each gesture made by the dancers. After an MC skit, Drumline demands the attention of the audience as they perform “Thunderbolt.” The quick pace and the accuracy of their tricks will wow and intimidate the audience at the same time. When the lights go down, several of the drums light up, adding an element of surprise to the show. Next, the first theatre act of the evening performs. Jacklyn Murray ’13 and Arianna Chang ’13 present a humorous and witty interpretation of the story of a “serious actress” who finds herself in distress when she forgets her lines. Drawing from many references, the skit gives an insightful look into theatre and proves to be one of the most comical acts of the evening. Concluding the first half of the show, Footnotes performs the “Speed Test” from the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” With music by Jeanine Teson and lyrics by Dick Scanlon, the piece is quick and exact, giving Footnotes the opportunity to showcase its precision. Footnotes’s performance is swift and speedy, forcing the audience to attempt to follow the patterns of their mesmerizing feet. With intricate costumes and a set of props, the performance proves its complexity and exemplifies the hard, devoted work of Footnotes. To kick off the second half of Grasshopper Night, Alec D’Alelio ’14 delivers an improvisational guitar performance of John Butler’s “Ocean.” Grasshopper Night music director Patrick Brady ’11 said, “He came out of nowhere, at the auditions, and blew us away.” Sitting alone with his guitar on stage, D’Alelio uses amazing techniques that are as fun to watch as they are to hear. Brady said, “The incredible thing is that he knows the song but will improvise on it each night. His performance will be different every night.” Azure takes charge of the stage singing “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Dianna Ross and the Supremes. The a capella group’s charming manner and melodic harmonies will command the audience’s attention. Many members perform solos, including Elizabeth Paul ’12, Kristina Rex ’11, Julianna Wessels ’12 and Gaelyn Golde ’13. Azure keeps the energy up by making an appearance in an MC skit, led by Andrew Schlager ’12. The Yorkies enhance retro dance moves with beatboxing from Sky Yoo ’11 and rhythmic snaps, singing “Oh What A Night” by the Four Seasons. Some new faces have the chance to express their talent, such as Auggie Horner ’14, whose solo filled the rehearsal room with applause. Other solos feature Ricky Marcotte ’11 and Charlie Danner ’11, who uphold the group’s high level of talent. Dancing to Heart’s “Barracuda,” Blue Strut takes the stage with a completely fresh style of dance, unlike anything the group has done in the past. Erin Strong, chair of the Theater and Dance Department, said, “I think the theme of Grasshopper really pushed Blue Strut, and even SLAM to do something new. I’m really impressed with both of them. They didn’t play it safe—I like that.” The Sprowtz incorporate new instruments to add to the intricacy of their adaptation of Young MC’s “Bust a Move.” Bongo drums, trumpets and a saxophone create a full sound that resonates throughout the auditorium. As Khalil Flemming ’12 raps the song, he utilizes the whole stage to perform retro dance moves and connects to the audience with comedic flare. The last performance of the evening, “American Pie” portrays the benefit of well-planned incorporation of many instruments. The unconventional combination of an electric violinist, a harpist, a pianist, a guitarist, a drummer and a singer will astonish the audience. Mandi Thran ’11 delivers passionate vocals while her bandmates hold their own with their incredible individual, as well as communal, instrumental performances. As the show comes to a close, Thran ushers all performers of Grasshopper Night on stage for one last round of applause. The audience will be tempted to sing along as dancing, applause and Thran’s last notes bring the show to a close.