Showcase to feature more modern sounds


Maggie Dickman

Henry Colucci, sophomore, plays guitar. Performers will be able to perfect their acts, since everything is being prerecorded.

CORRECTION: In the print issue, it incorrectly states that Showcase will be free to watch. SEED will be sending out an RSVP link to students to view the performance, with a cost of $15 to watch.

Shorewood SEED (Supporters for Excellence in Education Development) and the SHS Drama Department are presenting this year’s themeless Showcase on April 10. The program will be streamed on YouTube. 

“Showcase usually happens in November. That’s something that kind of couldn’t happen, partly because Showcase is usually a collaboration of the … performing arts department and AFS [an international exchange program which SHS participates in],” said Dr. Adam Scheaffer, theater director. “This year AFS is not really doing much because people are not travelling so there’s not really an international exchange.”

Normally, Showcase charges admission at the door to raise funds for AFS. This year, the proceeds will go to SEED instead. Students who wish to watch will RSVP for a link to watch, and each household will be charged $15. 

Where Showcase has historically featured many renditions of indie-folk songs, the lineup is looking a little more modern this year. It will include “My Iron Lung,” a string quartet arrangement of “Wildest Dreams,” and a recorder club performance. 

I feel … that a lot of the sounds we’ve got are more modern,”

— Vicky Chen, senior and co-director

“I feel … that a lot of the sounds we’ve got are more modern, I would say, because previous years, Showcase was a trend of like old, [indie folk songs],” Chen said.

The virtual nature of the performances has affected participation, which is noticeably lower this year than in previous years.

“I would say we’ve had less auditions than normal this year, but it’s still going to be a full length show, and we have enough acts to make the show nearly as long as the showcase under normal circumstances,” said Jordan Biller, senior and co-director.

A majority of the acts will feature high school students, as usual. However, the flexibility of producing a virtual show allows for the Showcase to include acts from Atwater Elementary, Lake Bluff Elementary, and the intermediate school as well. 

“About 15 acts auditioned, and on top of that we have the student directors usually put together at least three or four, in this case, about five performances on their own, so that totals to about 20 [acts], just at the high school,” Sheaffer said.

“I think that when we add the elementary schools and the intermediate school, it would take about an hour and a half, give or take 10 or 15 minutes on either side,” Sheaffer said. 

Student directors play a big role in putting together the program. Chen and Biller are the two co-directors, who, with the help of seven other directors, run the show. Under normal circumstances, their tasks focus on helping the different acts prepare. However, this year they have the added responsibility of editing and compiling the individual acts into one recorded performance.

“We’re just gonna basically edit [the acts] all together and it’s gonna be about an hour and a half video on YouTube,” Biller said. “And hopefully, we’re gonna timestamp everything so everyone can find the acts easily, and that’s pretty much the process from here on out.”

Nine directors is a lot for one production, but Sheaffer felt having the extra help was needed.

“We usually only have at most six student directors. This year we have nine student directors, and I’m glad that we have that many people and that much energy behind in this presentation, even though there are fewer acts this year,” Sheaffer said. “The logistics of figuring stuff out has been challenging and they have risen to the challenge, which has been very nice.”

The logistical challenges Sheaffer mentions include the technical aspects of filming individuals acts and compiling them. Acts are given the option to film in the auditorium at school or film at their house. 

“I knew that the audio visual requirements of, say filming in your home, and kind of coordinating performances that are not happening in our studio or dance studio or on the stage might be a little challenging, so I thought that having more students than less would be beneficial, and I found that that’s the case,” Sheaffer said.

Managing both students who are able to practice in-person as well as those who are remaining completely virtual is also a new challenge for the directors.

“It’s also good because since we have a few directors who are virtual only, they can help deal with the virtual rehearsals, so it’s good that we have a lot of hands this year, since we each specialize in a different role, so we can be more efficient,” Chen said.

Biller agrees with Chen on the surprising positive benefits of doing a virtual showcase. 

Since everything is video recording and everything is live, we have the opportunity to explore new areas of musical freedom,”

— Jordan Biller, senior and co-director

“We’ve had that extra challenge of working with people virtually in order to improve the acts, but also on the other hand, we have gained a little bit of freedom from a virtual format,” Biller said. “Since everything is video recording and everything is live, we have the opportunity to explore new areas of musical freedom, I would say. We can easily layer new parts over each other that we couldn’t do live.”

Having everything pre-recorded also means that acts won’t experience on-stage mishaps. 

“Since there’s not going to be a live performance this year, we can make sure that our acts can be the best that they can be, which means that if you mess up in a recording or something, we can always re-record,” Chen said.

All in all, Scheaffer is optimistic about this year’s showcase. 

“We’re really excited to be able to put together some people from the district,” Scheaffer said. “We’re also excited that it … might reach more people than it would ordinarily reach, than doing it just in person. Showcase does really well every year and I think it’s gonna have many more eyeballs on it this year, maybe than it ever has before, which is really really exciting.”