By ANEESAH AKBAR
Every three years, the UHS Performing Arts Department steps outside the box with Faculty Follies, an extremely popular and entertaining show in which the administration and staff perform for the students.
Ms. Barbara Yeager (Counseling Dept.) has performed in several UHS Faculty Follies shows since the idea was created to re-establish a sense of community among the teachers and administration after a district-wide strike in 1986. She said, “Early Faculty Follies had more spoofs, lip syncs and goofy skits. Over the years, it has evolved into a ‘performing arts variety show’!” The proceeds from the show’s sold-out tickets go towards scholarships for graduating students pursuing educational degrees.
From the long lines at lunch to get tickets to the singing, dancing and lip syncing, the 2016 Faculty Follies was a show to remember. The show offered something for everyone with a mix of current pop hits, country jams and old time favorites.
After a series of carpool karaoke clips between Austin Barber (Sr.) and several teachers, the show started off strong with the entire cast excitedly doing the whip and the nae nae as students cheered on their favorite teachers.
The teachers’ enthusiasm in the YMCA dance number even got the audience into the motions. Lakshmi Kannan (Jr.) said, “YMCA was my favorite song of the entire show because since the students all knew the choreography, we were much more involved in it.”
Another crowd favorite was Flashlight, choreographed by Ms. Grace Lee (Visual and Performing Arts Dept.), in which staff members sang the emotional lyrics to Jessie J’s hit song in a choir style. As the beginning notes of the song floated from the stage, students in the crowd knew just how to respond, quickly turning on their cell phones’ flashlights and waving them from side to side. At that moment, the energy and spirit of the audience was a testament to the students’ respect and admiration for their school staff.
Yeager took part in the piece and said, “ I have always enjoyed singing in a choir, so performing in Flashlight was thrilling, to say the least. It meant a lot to all of us that the students started waving their cellphones when the lights went down!”
Throughout the show, there were three rounds of Lip Sync Battle hosted by Mr. Peter Alix (English Dept.). In the first round of Saturday’s show, Ms. Heidi Martasian (Social Science Dept.) beat Mr. Beau Budde’s (Social Science Dept.) “Baby” with the hip hop song “Lip Gloss”.
In round two, Mr. Tom Shrake (Science Dept) lip synced Rihanna’s “Work” while facing off against “Ice Ice Baby” by Ms. Valerie Thompson (Science Dept) and Ms. Alyssa Dominguez (Staff). The last lip sync battle concluded in a tie between Ms. Robin Jacobsen’s (Social Science Dept.) “Piece of My Heart” and Ms. Emily Sheridan’s (Social Science Dept.) “All I Do Is Win.”
Students were definitely caught by surprise when they saw their teachers dancing to the Korean pop song, “Good Boy.” With lively movements choreographed by Mr. Ryan Itchon (Counseling Dept.) and animated facial expressions, this quick-paced number gave staff members the chance to showcase their hidden dance skills.
Soon after, the UHS Administration took the stage; individually rapping to introduce themselves and what they stand for. Dressed in loose workout clothes, they adopted a demeanor very different from what UHS students usually see.
Another notable number was What Makes You Beautiful, in which some of UHS’s male staff members demonstrated incessant energy and unique choreography.
The administration and staff’s last number, STOMP!, clearly portrayed each member’s enthusiasm and Trojan Spirit as they brought their hands together in UHS’s signature “U” at the final note of the song.
Faculty Follies could not have been possible without the hard work of the production team, the crew and, of course, all the staff members that dedicated long hours to make sure the show came to life.
Follies brings together students and staff from all over UHS, giving students the unique opportunity to see their normally professional teachers in a fun and energetic environment and teachers the chance to take over the stage. It is no surprise that the profoundly spirited atmosphere at the show is completely unique from that of other shows.
Kannan agreed, saying, “The show was amazing! It made me cry from laughter. I just wish the teachers did it every year.”