20th Rock ‘N Roll revival opens Friday night at JMB

The 20th annual Rock ’N Roll Revival at James M. Bennett High School opens Friday, promising energetic singing, dancing and music that will evoke memories from decades past.

With the theme “My Generation,” this year’s show continues on Saturday, Feb. 10, and Sunday, Feb. 11, as well as Thursday, Feb. 15, to Sunday, Feb. 18.

Sunday shows will be at 2 p.m. and all other shows will be at 7 p.m.

Tickets cost $20 each and are available at the Bank of Delmarva on Eastern Shore Drive and at ticketleap.com. Tickets for the Thursday show are $15. Some tickets will be sold at the door, if they are available.

A fundraiser for the Parent, Teacher, Student Association that, each year, raises about $20,000, the presentation promises professional lighting and entertainment performed by 110 students. Another 40, and many dedicated parents, help build and paint the set and assemble costumes.

“We will have different songs throughout all the generations — ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, some ‘80s and ‘90s. They go through a whole genre,” said Rhonda Thomas, a parent helping with the show. Her daughter, Olivia, is one of the dancers.

Among songs are “My Generation” by The Who, “We Will Rock You” by Queen and “Rock And Roll Music,” made popular by Chuck Berry.

“The students are extremely involved in this. They do everything from help with lighting and sound to building the set and with the costumes. Students are involved in every aspect of it. That is what makes it so much fun for them.

“They get to see behind the scenes of a production and they are the actual performers. They are the musicians. They are the dancers,” Thomas said.

Cast members, some who have taken professional dance or music lessons from childhood, start practicing as early as October each year.

“They put months and months into this, after school, weekends,” Thomas said.

Dory and Bob Hayman are the directors. Gino Bailey of Mid South Audio is the sound technician and Katie Nuttall is choreographer.

Bennett sophomore Taylor Aukward is in the revival for the second time. A guitarist who has been playing since he was in sixth grade, he performs in 19 songs, with his favorite being Somebody to Love.

“You can spend a lot of time with the other people in your school. It brings a lot of people here and benefits the PTSA. People are surprised we have this kind of talent,” he said.

“The kids get to know all the other kids. The camaraderie of the kids, them all coming together, is so great. My daughter dances but she hangs out with singers, with musicians,” Thomas added.

“The kids involved in this are all kinds of kids. It’s not one group. This is all the kids who come together.  They hang out backstage. We feed them. They sit around backstage and they talk to each other,” she said.

“They get to see the talent out there. The talent is just amazing. The Haymans make it a lot of fun and the kids just love that.”

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