Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sherwood High to present Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival

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Naomi Brookner⁄The Gazette
Kevin Aikins sings Marvin Gaye’s ‘‘Hitch Hike” during a dress rehearsal for Sherwood High School’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival last Friday. The show opens this weekend.
Sherwood High School’s high-energy Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival is known for its flashy, toe-tapping numbers, but most fans don’t know the effort it takes to get almost 200 students outfitted and in character for the show.

That task takes 11 parent and student volunteers, several trips to local thrift stores, an overstuffed costume closet, plenty of needle and thread, and thousands of sequins.

Jeanne Laeng, head costume director, said students will dance and sing their way through 44 songs this year, ranging from the Beach Boys’ ‘‘Barbara Ann” to the Bangles’ ‘‘Walk Like an Egyptian.”

Singing the songs is one thing, but the performers also have to look the part, Laeng said.

‘‘It’s a gargantuan effort,” she said. ‘‘I’m still amazed that we’re able to do it each year.”

Laeng, who has been involved with the show since 1995, said the costume crew begins preparing for the show in December by going through outfits and accessories that Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival has accumulated over the years and weeding out clothes that cannot be worn again.

This year, she said, more songs from the 1980s and 1990s will be included in the performance.

‘‘It’s a lot more fresh and fun,” Laeng said. ‘‘We have restocked more this year than in any other years previous.”

Many of the new costumes were found at area thrift stores, she said.

‘‘We’ve shopped every Monday for the past month and a half at thrift shops in Langley Park, Silver Spring and Laurel,” she said.

Laeng added that all of her group’s scouring paid off because they were able to find some real gems.

‘‘We found three almost identical foil dresses for the three girls who will be singing the Pointer Sisters’ ‘I’m So Excited,’” she said. ‘‘We were really able to dress the girls similar to the era and they look great.”

Two weeks before the show, Laeng said she and her crew begin devoting two to three days a week to costuming. When dress rehearsals begin, they are there every day assisting students.

So just how many costumes are in the show?

‘‘There’s really too many to count,” Laeng said with a laugh.

Gene Orndorff, who serves as one of the show’s directors, said about 195 students need to be costumed, which includes the show’s band, dancers, back-up singers and soloists.

‘‘Jeanne and her crew do a fantastic job,” he said of Laeng. ‘‘The costumes look great.”

As they ran through a dress rehearsal Friday afternoon, students sparkled in sequined and beaded dresses for the Weather Girls’ ‘‘It’s Raining Men” and leather and animal prints for Paula Abdul’s ‘‘Cold-Hearted Snake.”

Sammi Fuchs, a freshman from Olney, said the three costumes she wears as a back-up singer in the show help her get into character.

‘‘They’re a lot of fun,” she said. ‘‘They’re very pretty.”

Jacob Dinerman, a junior who has appeared in the show three times, said he has to change costumes 19 times as a dancer and soloist.

‘‘It gets pretty hectic backstage,” he said. ‘‘You’re just trying to figure out what you have to put on next.”

Dinerman, of Olney, said being in the show makes him feel like a rock star.

‘‘You get to be onstage with 1,000 people cheering for you,” he said. ‘‘It’s every kid’s dream.”

if you go

The 37th annual Sherwood High School Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday and March 14, 15 and 16 at the school’s Ertzman Theatre.

Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will start at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 each. For more information, call Sherwood’s Music Department at 301-924-3246.