Jennica Ruan also contributed to this article.
The Class of 2021 hosted the 80th annual Junior Varieties this year. Taking advantage of the 80th anniversary, the theme this year was “Back to the 80’s.” As usual, the show fell on the first weekend of March, the 6th and 7th this year. Tickets were sold prior to the show for $7 and were $10 at the door. With the show being the biggest fundraiser for the class, all the profits went into their budget for next year’s prom.
Despite the recent difficulties of losing their former class adviser, as well as an alleged incident regarding the authenticity of some of the tickets being sold, the event was successful. Staff members Rebecca Corcoran and Katherine Haskell stepped up to the job and offered their time and experience to assist the junior class. On top of the current officers, this year Asmaa Asousy and Julie Iansen were elected as JV coordinators to help out.
Haskell and Corcoran “co-produced the show” together this year. Since both of them were class advisers in previous years, Haskell stated “it was a lot easier,” since she had a partner to help her manage the students this time. Using her past experience, she was more efficient this time around because she “had a better idea of what needed to be done, whereas last time [she] was “winging it.”’ Even though they had a late start preparing for the show, “[the students] were extremely hard workers,” and “[Haskell does not] think the show would have happened without the group of students that [they] had.”
Haskell explained how the officers were split into two groups and put in charge of different aspects of the show. President Harriet Gerochi was in charge of advertisements to raise money for “concessions, [the] shirts, and the book especially.” Gerochi, being an athlete as well, struggled with managing her time at practice and rehearsals for JVs. Even with those difficulties, “[they] earned around a couple of thousands,” which exceeded her initial goal. The night of the show, “[she] was mostly incharge of managing the lobby,” but also made an appearance onstage. The most memorable part of this experience for her was being able to interact with everyone. With the show being a success for the junior class, Gerochi said “it really shows how much work [they] put into it and how well it turned out for [them].”
The hosts this year were Daniel Gilligan, Ava Pizziferri, and Brianna Preston, all officers of the junior class as well. Class secretary Pizziferri and the other hosts “put together the script, and rehearsed the script, while taking notes for anything JVs related.” She and the other officers ended up being hosts for the show due to lack of people showing up to auditions. Pizziferri auditioned and ended up liking the role, so the officers decided to pair up and host the show. She stated that “the first night felt more energetic compared to the second night.” The most challenging task was writing the script because “[they did not] live in that decade, so to think of things they could use and incorporate was difficult.” She enjoyed “getting closer with everyone that was involved, because it was a bonding experience that she [was not] expecting.”
The night opened with sophomore Yusra Tafraoui singing “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. She expressed that while it was “hard to keep schoolwork, sports, and rehearsals balanced,” it was all worth it in the end. Tafraoui recalled watching the show for the first time last year and falling in love with it, so to be a part of this year’s JVs was a “big accomplishment” for her.
Another performer in the first act was junior Gabriella Frois. Since this was also her first year performing for JVs, she found it to be “really stressful,” especially considering the amount of hours she had to commit to rehearsing. However, in the end, she felt like it was “worth it after all.” One aspect that helped ease Frois’s nerves was how “extremely supportive” everyone was.
In Act 2, one of the biggest hits was the performance that the Malden High Orchestra put on. One member, junior Wilson Chau, has performed at JVs every year he has been in high school. Although rehearsals were stressful for Chau, he felt that this was “definitely one of the best performances [he has] ever done.”
The orchestra, consisting of Donald Ford, Cynthia Nguyen, Lyra Gold, Meryem Hakkaoui, Alyssa Littlejohn, and Jonathan Brill, along with Chau performed some throwback bops such as “Shut Up and Dance,” “Say My Name,” and “Take on Me.”
There was no shortage of creativity and originality throughout the night. Sophomores Melissa Calixte and Lynn-Sarah Georges performed their original rap and song, registering amazing responses from the audience. In addition, Editor-in-Chief of Print of the Blue and Gold, Sara Zakaria, presented her original poem, and of course there was the choreography from multiple dance groups.
The entire show lasted close to three hours, but Tafraoui described the show as flying by, even though in reality, it took many hours and lots of help from volunteers to get it done.
This year, volunteer coordinator Ronald Batista, also took on the position of stage manager. The most difficult part was helping the singers on stage because “there were only two [microphones]... and communicating with David Lombardi, the other stage manager.” Batista explained how the bonds “were essential” for being able to connect with everyone.
The night ended with a powerful mashup of “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi and “Dancing On My Own” by Calum Scott sang by junior Isabella Geronimo, accompanied by Luana Paniago on the piano.