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As the new director of Sherwood High School’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival, Mike Maddox has some awfully big shoes to fill, but he’s up for the challenge.
Rock ’n’ Roll No. 46 will be performed March 3-5 and 10-12 in the school’s Ertzman Theater.
Maddox, 32, is in his fourth year at Sherwood, teaching Chamber Singers, Jazz Choir, Guitar and Advanced Placement Music Theory. Prior to joining the staff, he was a student-teacher at Sherwood under the tutelage of Bill Evans, whose name is synonymous with Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival.
Evans retired last June after 37 years. After last year’s production, he passed the baton to Maddox as the musical director of the school’s acclaimed production.
The show is a much anticipated tradition for the Olney community — including students, parents, staff, alumni and even those with no connection to the school.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival began in 1971. The original concept for the show was conceived by a group of Sherwood students after seeing a concert at Madison Square Garden.
“I am trying not to rock the boat too much,” he said. “It’s a wonderful tradition, and I just don’t see the need to shake things up a lot.”
Maddox said the show will still feature 40 tunes from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, along with the customary vocals, dancers, costumes and student band. In all, 280 students are involved.
“Our goal is for people not to be able to tell much of a difference in the new leadership,” he said. “There is a lot of continuity — it is not a one-man show.”
Maddox said of the four musical directors, one is new, but he, too, has experience working Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival, since he worked at Sherwood in 2002-2005.
One of two choreographers has returned and there are many other veterans involved, including those in charge of sound and lighting.
Maddox said the musical aspect is the least of his worries.
“We collaborated as a team to develop the set list,” he said. “The theme is ‘Dance the Night Away,’ and I think we did a good job of mixing up the tunes. It may be a little heavier on the 70s and 80s than it has been in the past, probably because that’s the kind of music I grew up listening to.”
The challenges, he said, come from the administrative end.
“There are so many different parts — lighting, sound, set, video contractors, budget, finance and [Montgomery County Public Schools] paperwork,” Maddox said. “The last three years I could focus on the music, but now I realize that a lot has to come before that, before the show can happen.”
Fortunately, Evans is just a phone call away.
“He’s been great and willing to help with anything I’ve needed,” Maddox said. “He came in last weekend to help with some wiring.”
Madeleine West, a senior, has performed in Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival all four years, as a guitarist, cellist and vocalist. She said she hasn’t noticed too much of a change under Maddox’s leadership.
“The song selection is a little wider — there are more popular songs that people will really like and be able to connect to,” she said. “The songs Mr. Evans picked were really nice, but were deeper cuts and weren’t necessarily as forward in the public eye.”
West said new leadership has not affected the enthusiasm of the cast.
“I think everyone is working twice as hard to honor Mr. Evans’ legacy,” she said. “His quality and standards were high, and I think we are doing a pretty good job of maintaining them.”
West said her feelings are bittersweet as the performance draws near.
“As a senior, it’s the last time I will be a part of something so special, and something that is such a big deal around here,” she said. “It will be sad when it is done, but it is nice to know that we have put out great shows.”
Tickets for Sherwood High School’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival No. 46 are available at www.ShowTix4U.com. Performances are March 3-5 and 10-12 in the school’s Ertzman Theater. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and $20, based on sections of the auditorium. For special seating, contact business manager Shawn Hillman at email@example.com.
Terri Hogan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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