2022 Variety Show Brings a Virtual Whirlwind of Performance


Erika Sousa

The Dazzlers perform “Strongest Suit”, a jazz dance choreographed by head coach Corey Heins. The number comes from the Elton John and Tim Rice musical drama Aida, a work that chronicles the tragic love of a Nubian princess, Aida, and an Egyptian army captain, Radarnes. The Dazzlers’ number was just one highlight of the annual show whose theme highlighted the works of Broadway.

Sophia Liporace, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Every Martin Luther King weekend, performers across the Benjamin community ranging from first-grade students to faculty members take the Benjamin Hall stage to put on the Variety Show; this year, however, the performers rehearsed and filmed throughout the weekend to create a video edition of the show.

In an email to the Dazzlers on Jan. 2, Performing Arts Department Chair Mrs. Sara Salivar informed the performers of the change in procedure. 

“Unfortunately, the recent rise in Omicron in our community has thrown a wrench into our live production of this year’s Variety Show.  The school is returning to prior COVID protocols, including masks at all times while on campus and indoor practices, and no audiences in Benjamin Hall. This means that we have had to change the rehearsal schedule and performance (filming) schedule a bit to accommodate this new protocol,” she wrote. 

Because of out of state performers like alumni, it would be difficult to postpone the show and still maintain the production’s original intent with the full cast, filming everything on the weekend the show was scheduled will make for a seamless and safe transition.

While it can be disappointing to not perform for a large in-person audience, immediate family members of the performers were granted the ability to watch the filming, as stated by Head of the Upper School Mr. Fletcher Carr in an email on Jan. 9.

“In terms of parental attendance of the filming sessions, parents are welcome to attend provided they sit in the mezzanine area of the auditorium, maintain social distance, and wear masks. We ask that you quietly enter through the lobby lower level so as to not disturb the performers, the directors, or the filming. As of this date, all tickets that were purchased have been refunded,” he wrote.

Junior Lexi Lower has only been able to perform in one live Variety Show in her high school career due to COVID-19 restrictions, but she sees this year’s strategy as a significant improvement.

“It has been really hard throughout the last two years in terms of live performances, but I think being able to perform in Benjamin Hall for the people who support the most is very exciting, especially for the seniors since it is their last Variety Show. Hopefully, our other performances later this year like the Spring Dance Concert will remain normal,” she said.

The Variety Show involves an extremely large portion of the Benjamin community, featuring lower, middle, and upper school dancers, vocalists, musicians, and actors as well as select alumni, faculty members, and parents. 

Many numbers highlighted medleys featuring various members of the community. One particular number, “Wicked” featured the Dazzlers dancing to songs performed by juniors Maddie Domnick and Katherine Rodgers and seniors Emma Hardyman and Catherine Schenk. Also, there was a Chicago medley during which alumna Audrey Blake performed “All That Jazz” before the Dazzlers danced to “1Cell Block Tango”.

Mothers and daughters of the Benjamin community, including English teacher Mrs. Suzanne McCambridge, performed a song from The Sound of Music while sophomores Asia Cohen and Skyler Hoben and senior Abby Swank danced.

The various members of the community came together to produce a diverse and entertaining show. The completed video, which will be made to run identically to how the in-person show would run, was released via email on Wed, Jan. 9.