A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Back to the 80's

My wife and I enjoyed our journey Back to the 80's last night in the Anne Hannah Auditorium at Matawan Regional High School. Back to the 80's is the name of this year's MRHS Spring Musical, which opened on Thursday and has its final performance this afternoon at 2 pm.

Back to the 80's, which was written by Neil Gooding and has revised orchestrations and arrangements by Brett Foster, was presented in two acts with 22 scenes and included many of the most popular songs of the 1980's.

My favorite performances included Katrina and the Waves' Walking on Sunshine, sung by Sarah Elidrissi playing Eileen Reagan, Meghan McPeek playing Laura Wilde, and Carolyn Vicari playing Debbie Fox; Madonna's Material Girl, sung by Amanda Martinez playing Cyndi Gibson; and Michael Jackson's Man in the Mirror, sung by John Westerkamp playing Mr. Stevie Cocker and Natalie Ryan playing Ms. Sheena Brannigan, and danced superbly by Christopher Harris, who did a mean moonwalk.

I have to say that the show overall tended to objectify women, which may correctly reflect the 1980's but was a bit disappointing as an educational forum. There were girls dressed for the entire school day in their cheerleading outfits, girls dancing on tables, boys bullying girls, and a surprisingly offensive joke regarding women's breasts. Maybe the joke was a device meant to tarnish the reputation of the character who spoke the line, but the gasps from the audience confirmed my reaction that it had no place in a public school performance. The school should realize that the struggle for equal treatment for women is far from won and seek in all it does to promote justice and respect between the sexes.

The show was produced and directed by Linda Walling, with choreography by Barbara A Gonzalez, vocal direction by Justin Ryan, set and construction by Samuel Pickens, music direction by Seth Jones, and technical direction by Kate Eovino.

On the way out of the show last night I noticed the portraits of MRHS Hall of Fame inductees along the wall outside the theatre. The first eight members were inducted in 1996, including Anne Hannah, for whom the theatre is named. The others from 1996 were Dorothy McCrea, Dr. Mark Sobel, Dr. Gary Weber, Nancy Woodhull, Dan Vanderbilt, Barry Rizzo, and Bruce MacCutheon, Sr. Next time you attend a show, be sure to stop and look at the gallery of plaques, complete with photos and biographies of the really talented teachers and administrators who have graced the halls of Matawan Regional High School over the years.


  1. The featured dancer was Mr. Christopher Harris. He also sang "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go."

    Thanks for checking out the show!

  2. Thanks. I've updated the blog to reflect the information. The program wasn't much help in that regard. Thanks again.