On Friday a cast of 85 students at Eastern Middle School turned off their cell phones and laptops and danced their way into the cafeteria where they sang Video Killed the Radio Star, as well as a couple dozen other hits from the 1980s that will be sure to take take their parents down memory lane next week.
In fact, the musical they they have been rehearsing, Back to the 80, features songs like Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name, J Geils Band’s Centerfold and the B52’s Love Shack – all of which had their heyday 25 years before these 8th graders were even born.
Director Matt Tracey said the kids have really responded to the music and the films. “It’s a play on Back to the Future,” he said. “There are references throughout the show to Dirty Dancing, Baywatch and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
“Though they’re not thrilled with the fashion, they’re getting on board and having fun. Some of the girls are even wearing their mothers’ prom dresses.”
Mr. Tracey described the show as a jukebox musical. “It’s like one big episode of Glee,” he said. This is the third show in three years Mr. Tracey has directed. Previous shows were Damn Yankees and Seussical.
While the eighth graders in the show chorus are enjoying the songs for the first time, the music, as well as countless references in the script, will strike a chord with parents.
In fact, the director said Saturday’s show is dress-up night, and all members of the audience are encouraged to dress up in their 80s best, and download the virtual Zippo Lighter app to their phones so they can safely wave their lighters.
Jenn Badillo and Scott Wasko are assisting Mr. Tracey, and Scott Sisbarro is in charge of choreography.
Show times are Thursday, January 19 at 4:00 p.m., Friday, January 20 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, January 21 st at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday tickets are $5, and Friday and Saturday tickets are $15. Tickets are sold in the main lobby of the school beginning on January 9th every day before school from 7:15-7:45. Ticket reservations can be made via email by contacting Mrs. Tara Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org