Adopting the personas of ringleaders and clowns, Sirus Han ’13, Lydia Kaprelian ’13, Stephen Moreland ’14, Scott Diekema ’14, Jake Marrus ’14 and Rem Remmel ’14 will emcee Grasshopper Night as the annual student-run talent show assumes the theme of “A Night at the Circus” in Tang Theatre this Parents’ Weekend.
Traditionally a series of unrelated acts, this year, Grasshopper Night will weave together student acts to form the larger narrative of a circus.
“The producers and dance committee chose the theme of [a] circus because we wanted a greater diversity of talent displayed this year. The inspiration came from Taylor Perkins’s ’12 [a 2011-2012 Theatre Producer] lighting for the Theatre 520 ‘Measure for Measure.’ I noticed that the light bulbs on the balconies of Tang looked just like those of a circus, and I thought it would be fun to incorporate it into Grasshopper Night,” said Arianna Chang ’13, a Producer and Theatre Director of Grasshopper Night.
“I am excited to see the directors really thread the theme throughout the show. In past years, when there was a theme, it wasn’t clearly defined. I think this year the directors have a very strong vision that is going to result in a cohesive show,” said Erin Strong, Chair of Theater and Dance and Faculty Advisor for Grasshopper Night.
Seho and Sons, a new collaborative student music group, will perform an introductory act for the show.
The group consists of David Hahn ’15 on the clarinet, Josh Henderson ’15 on the violin, David Shin ’14 on the cello, Jack Shumway ’15 on the tenor saxophone, Matt Osborn ’15 on the alto saxophone, Billy Casagrande ’15 on the bass clarinet and Noah Hornik ’15 and Abhinav Venigalla ’15 playing percussion.
“I thought that [Grasshopper Night] wouldn’t be a circus without the classic circus theme. At first, I was thinking of making a full orchestra, but we didn’t have the time, so we formed a small band. I arranged [the songs]. We love playing together, and we’re all really close friends,” said Seho Young ’15, Head of Seho and Sons.
Staying true to the circus theme, Niya Zulu ’15 will perform a stilt act in a colorful outfit, stomping across the stage to Sam and the Womp’s “Bom Bom (radio edit).”
Footnotes will present a story of evil clowns and circus visitors in their tap dancing performance.
“The evil clowns are there to capture [the three Co-Heads’] souls. The song [we use] is ‘Funhouse’ by P!nk. It’s such a creepy song so it goes well with our choreography… [Tapping] is a different expression than most other dancing; it’s a very auditory dancing. Everything is coming from your feet,” said Malka Berro ’14.
Part of this year’s Grasshopper Night circus narrative will include a circus rebellion, which will be a collaborative performance between Keynotes, a co-ed acappella group, and Drumline.
“We’re trying to fight the power, in this case [Han] and [Kaprelian], in order to get our respect back. We’re the outcasts, and we’re uprising against the evil ringmasters. if you look at our costumes, we’re a bunch of circus misfits. We’re featuring [Sophiya Chiang ’14] as soloist for [Grasshopper Night],” said Harry Wright ’14, Co-Head of Keynotes.
Grasshopper Night takes a surprising turn as Henry Kennelly ’13 is spotlighted in his performance with a heart-wrenching piano performance by Enya. Graham Johns ’14, Dance Director of Grasshopper Night, will then deliver a powerful performance to Kennelly’s music.
This year’s Grasshopper Night will not only feature singing and dancing, but also slam poetry. Jay Reader ’13 will perform his original poem that incorporates themes from the circus, featuring Dumbo the flying elephant, funnel cakes and cannons.
Blue Strut, Andover’s jazz dance ensemble, embodies the elegance and mysteriousness of circus animals and fluid acrobatics in its dance to “Welcome to the Circus” and “Show Me How You Burlesque” by Christina Aguilera.
Unaccompanied Minors will take the stage with the original composition of Charles Stacy ’16, “Wickey Wystri’s Parade.”
Grasshopper Night’s circus scene shifts from inside a tent to a traveling train as Alec D’Alelio ’14 strums his electric guitar and pretends to be a hobo.
“I’m starting out with a basic loop that’s going to be recorded. The loop is going to continue playing in the background, and I’m going to play my guitar over it. Everything besides the recorded loop will be improvised; it’s going to be a new performance each time. Something like an improvisation act,” said D’Alelio.
SLAM, Andover’s step team, becomes a group of wild tigers and animal tamers as its perform to Douster’s thumping “King of Africa,” capturing the wild side of the circus.
“It’s very animalistic and intense. [Unwana Abasi ’13] and [Fatou Diarra ’13] spent a lot of time choreographing this act. We try to bring our characters to life in this performance. You’ll hopefully be feeling the animals and not the people,” said Shana Shabbaz ’13, a member of SLAM.
Through its costumes and vocals to Janelle Monae’s song “Tightrope,” Azure will capture the classic circus act of tightrope walking.
“Our outfits are an interpretation of Janelle Monae’s classic tuxedo suit look and the all-black outfit worn by a tightrope walker. Nya Hughes ‘15 does a great job of getting the crowd pumped up during her rap solo,” said Caroline Sambuco ’14, Co-Head of Azure.
Donning gold vests and their signature bow ties, members of the Yorkies will sing “We are Golden” by Mika and will accompany their crystal clear vocals with rhythmic snaps and a touch of choreography.
“By wearing gold vests and colorful bowties, we are trying to make things pop. I think everything’s going well so far,” said Angelo Morlani ’13, Co-Head of Yorkies.
In its closing act, Andover’s hip-hop dance group Hypnotiq attempts to become flirtatious circus ringlets in its dance repertoire, which includes handstands, lion-claw gestures, in addition to the group’s hip hop moves.
“We needed to find a circus theme and Outkast, the artist of our song, is so circus-y. He always has elephants and trumpets, and so we went with Ouktast’s ‘Morris Brown.’ We split up the dancing because we have two choreographers and one head, so we just split it up by time intervals,” said Thomi Pamplin ’14, Co-Head of Hypnotiq.
“The special thing about Grasshopper is that it is completely student-run… When it comes down to it, Grasshopper is the students’ show, and we produce one great show,” said Julius Ross ’13, Technical Director of Grasshopper Night.