A committee of parents is currently planning Senior Spotlight, a variety show event for the seniors that will take place on April 14 next semester. There will likely be a showing at 3:00 in the afternoon and 7:00 in the evening. Tickets will cost around $25.
“We wanted to start a new tradition at BHS,” Alli Murdoff, one of the principal organizers, said. She envisions it as a “funny, high energy” night with musical numbers, dances, fashion numbers, and students playing instruments.
“It’s not really about talent, just about having fun,” Kim Gelman, another adult in charge, said. According to Gelman, the event will be divided into three types of numbers. Some students will perform loosely-choreographed dances (created by choreographer Noah Hayden), and other students will model rented clothing from local businesses like Sam Malouf and Vineyard Vines. The third option, for individuals that want to do any other type of number, is to submit something for review.
“There’s really a place for everyone in the show,” Murdoff said. “We would be thrilled if we could get 40 to 50 percent of seniors to participate.”
Senior-centric performances are commonplace around the Bay Area. Saint Ignatius College Preparatory holds an annual event showcasing around 300 students, while Menlo-Atherton High School (MAHS) has held an annual senior fashion show for the past thirty-six years, which is also its PTA’s largest fundraiser.
“[The fashion show] was something that all the seniors did.” Gelman’s niece and MAHS alumnus Haley Harrier said. “Everyone was super excited. [Tickets] would sell out during the lunch-time hour.”
Harrier was in the semi-formal clothing section of the performance. She and the other girls wore dresses, and the boys wore khakis and button-down shirts. Her section’s “gimmick,” as she called it, was to carry bouquets and throw individual roses into the crowd.
“I know my niece enjoyed being in it, and all the extended family went to watch,” Gelman said. “We thought it was great.”
The emphasis on fundraising is one notable difference between the proposed format of Senior Spotlight versus the MAHS fashion show. During the time that Harrier was a student (she graduated in 2005), families could pool around $800 to buy a table at a luncheon before the show. Because the spring performances of Senior Spotlight will be test-runs, possible revenue is “a little hard to forecast,” Murdoff said.
Instead, the organizers foresee the event being a final hurrah for the seniors before graduation, more memory-maker than money-maker.
“Ours is more geared towards senior bonding and creating good memories, giving them a nice send-off,” Gelman said.
Murdoff and Gelman would like Senior Spotlight to leave such a positive impression on the community that it is continued in subsequent years, much like the events at SI and MAHS.
“Other schools, they’ve done it for so long that [participation] is a given,” Gelman said.
The challenge, however, is to raise enough student participation in this first year to kick it off.
“The theater holds around five hundred people,” Gelman said. “If we can fill the theater for two shows, that would be awesome. That’s our goal right now.”
Preparations are already underway. Murdoff and Gelman recently met with choreographer Noah Haydon; they gave him a tour of the auditorium, and he was introduced to drama teacher Cindy Skelton. With a smile, Gelman referred to Haydon as their “secret sauce” because he has choreographed the SI event for the last seven years.
“We are going to hit the ground running in January,” Murdoff said.
The committee of parents in charge plans to begin advertising and recruiting students for positions in stage management, lighting, and other roles. Recruitment for senior performers will also commence at the beginning of the spring semester.
The organizers put special emphasis on including as many students as possible, including seniors on stage as well as underclassmen working behind the scenes.
“It’s really just to have fun and build community, not just for the seniors, but for all of BHS,” Gelman said.