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Sherwood’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival back for year 49 –

by Terri Hogan

Senior Staff Writer

The numbers tell the story.

Forty-one songs representing five decades.

A cast and crew of 275 students.

Forty-nine years of presenting a show that is arguably the most sought-after ticket in town every March.

Tunes from the 1950’s through 1990’s will fill Sherwood High School’s Ertzman Theatre early this month during the annual production of Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival.

The beloved Olney tradition has been going strong since 1971 after several Sherwood students were inspired by a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival 49, “The Name Game,” will hit the stage March 6-8 and March 13-15.

Adding to the celebration this year is that the show’s directors, choral/general music teacher Mike Maddox, choral/general music teacher Johnathan Dunn and instrumental music instructor Alex Silverbook will be honored as the Greater Olney Civic Association’s Citizens of the Year at a ceremony March 15.

This year’s set list features many song titles and lyrics that include people’s names. The opening number and “theme” of the show is “Who Are You?” by The Who.

Maddox said the them is a nod to the performers searching for individual identity during their teenage years.

Silverbook, Dunn and Maddox took over the show in 2017, following the retirement of Sherwood legend Bill Evans, who led the show for 37 years.

“Bill gets a free seat in the audience for life and he has been coming at least once each weekend for the past few years,” Maddox said. “We love him and are always happy to see him.”

This year’s cast marks the first where none of the students performed under Evans’ leadership.

Maddox said that he, Silverbook and Dunn work as a team directing the show, and it will continue to be a team effort that no single person could sustain alone.

“That is our message to kids — we’re all replaceable, and it’s really about creating something together that is bigger than all of us,” he said.

While the administrative and technical aspects of the show can be daunting, Maddox credits great adult staff members and volunteers who help out with everything.

“We have specialists in set construction, art design, lighting, costumes, dance, sound engineering and more,” he said. “Every single one of those people is a vital piece of the puzzle, not to mention our fantastic student directors and student musical directors. I just happen to be the name at the top of the credits page, which means I have to do a bit more paperwork than the other directors.”

For the cast members, Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival is a lot of hard work, but many consider it to be the highlight of their years at Sherwood.

Eve Crompton, a senior, has been in the show all four of her high school years.

“This is sort of first place I found myself and felt at home at Sherwood,” she said.

In previous years, she has played violin, Appalachian dulcimer and guitar during her numbers.

“For this year’s solo I am not playing an instrument,” she said. “Learning how to express myself through my body instead of through an instrument and working on my stage presence is a whole new avenue,” she said. “It’s good learning experience.”

She said that when she first saw the show during a field trip in fifth grade, she knew she wanted to be a part of it.

As a cast member, she is amazed by the level of talent and how everyone collaborates to pull together the “massive operation.”

“I will be sad when the show is over because it’s my last one, but the sadness will be outweighed by the memories,” she said. “But I have two younger sisters, so I will definitely be back.”

Senior David Do has also been in Rock ‘n’ Roll since his freshman year, working his way up from a background performer to bandmember and now a lead vocalist.

He also saw the show as a fifth-grader, but never thought it would be something that he would be a part of.

“Honestly, Rock ‘n’ Roll changed everything about my high school experience,” he said. “I have learned a lot about myself through doing this show.”

Before he auditioned the first time, he didn’t see himself as a singer.

“Being in Rock ‘n’ Roll has given me confidence and new friends,” Do said. “It led me to join choir and we traveled to Europe, which was a huge lifetime experience.”

Do says the show gets better and better each year.

“I’ve enjoyed seeing the evolution of Mr. Maddox, especially the way he runs auditions and rehearsals,” he said. “The first year he was laying down the foundation, but now his expectations are much higher.”

Do is particularly excited about this year’s setlist.

“It is insane,” he said. “There are a lot of amazing songs that I never thought we’d get a chance to do — a lot of heavy hitters and crowd pleasers.”

Senior Gina Khan says that as someone not interested in sports and who doesn’t like to act, Rock ‘n’ Roll has been a perfect fit for her over the past four years.

She has sung in the show all four years of high school, with the past two as a soloist.

“It’s been a real period of growth for me, as I have become closer with directors and other students who share my passion for music,” she said.

Khan hadn’t performed before her freshman year and wasn’t comfortable sharing her voice.

“The directors were so encouraging and I have gained a lot of confidence,” she said. “I wasn’t someone who knew how to dance, so I had to learn. As a freshman it was a bit daunting, but it has gotten easier.”

Khan credits her choir, orchestra and Advance Placement Music Theory classes with providing the knowledge to help her better understand performance and how to convey it.

She is very excited about this year’s show.

“Seniors are always hoping that their last show will be the best,” Khan said. “This setlist offers an exceptional range of music and songs that will appeal to different audiences.”

Next year will mark Rock ‘n’ Roll’s 50th anniversary, and “that’s a big number,” said Maddox, who has already given some thought about the milestone production.


    At The Greater Olney News press time, tickets were sold out for all Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival 49 performances, although some reserved seats were scheduled to be released for public sale on the Monday prior to each show weekend. For more, contact business manager Jenny Davis at [email protected] or 301

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