Grasshopper 2022 Overcomes Difficulties to Blast Into the Past with Retro Performances

Clad in black-and-white suits, Andover’s all-male Acapella Group, Yorkies, fills the Tang Theatre with their resonant harmonization of Frankie Valli’s pop track “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The sultry 1960s atmosphere is soon taken a decade back as Footnotes, a tap-dancing group, step and sway onstage for an uplifting cover to Gene Kelly’s 1952 “Singin’ in the Rain.”

Encompassing the performance’s 2022 theme of “Blast from the Past,” this moment, according to Yorkies member Jack Swales ’24, particularly highlighted a culmination of the two groups’ hard work and experimental collaborative efforts.

“It’s a lot of fun, just [to] come together as Yorkies, we’re having a lot of fun there, and then watching them perform too was really cool… it’s nice to see everything come together in the end and see our progress that we made,” said Swales.

From improvised comedy sketches about ancient China’s Tang Dynasty to Bon Jovi-esque electrifying rock solos from the 1980s, many of this year’s Grasshoppers acts paid homage to the culture and entertainment of decades past. As the annual decision-makers, the Muses—consisting of five theatre and four dance producers—worked to develop a broad and creative theme for the performance starting as early as June.

“Over the summer we began brainstorming the theme, how we wanted the show to look like… Once the school year began, we had weekly producer meetings where we would work with faculty to decide, because we want to showcase all the different talents across campus,” said dance producer Vanessa Fan ’23.

However, producers and performers alike faced challenges in the preparation process for this year’s Grasshopper. Many groups found it difficult to schedule meeting times where all members could attend; others, including K-pop dance group JVNE, made last minute changes to their choreography. Nina Torrens ’26, a member of Blue Strut and Azure, commented in particular on the restrictive time limits and its influence on her two performance groups’ plans.

“It was definitely very rushed because we only had a month and a half to do it. It got really stressful at some points because we weren’t sure we would finish or have it performance ready by the time we needed to have it ready. But I think it all turned out pretty well,” said Torrens.

Despite numerous challenges, the Grasshopper performers and producers hope for a series of successful shows over the Parents Weekend. Many performers commented on how having their parents in attendance makes Grasshopper particularly special.

“I’m really just excited for my parents to see everything and they came to a Grasshopper last year and they saw Yorkies and they were like, why aren’t you in that? And I was like, ‘okay, I guess I’m gonna go join that now.’ I think they’re really excited for that…they’re definitely going to enjoy it, they always love stuff like this,” said Swales.

From left to right, EV Heck ’25, Aviva Cai ’25, and Solar Lu ’24 of JVNE performing BTS’s “Blood Sweat & Tears.”