FCPS Directive Postpones Frederick High School’s Academy of Fine Arts Student Cabaret Scheduled for Next Week |


Sometimes it takes a village to write, direct and direct a production.

In the case of the Academy of Fine Arts at Gov. Thomas Johnson, the village has more than 70 students in four areas, as well as teachers and staff. Everything was ready next Thursday for the AFA Cabaret in high school. However, due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19, all school-sanctioned activities have been postponed or canceled, which includes this event.

This year, 10 students imagined the concept and wrote the staging in theater class. Elders Thomas Campbell and David Norris, both 18, are part of the group.

Other theater students Dyland Speirs, Alyssa Parrell, Alasia Hicks, Wilson, Seltzer, Hayden Hamptman, Shaylee Chubin, Audrey Kilgore and Hannah Worley are also credited for the screenplay.

The Academy of Fine Arts offers rigorous, small classes in high school for those who wish to focus on dance, music, drama, and the visual arts. Students from all walks of life showcase their talents in the cabaret.

David said that each year the AFA hosts a cabaret with a theme focused on a different decade. Last year was in the 1970s. The year before, the 1980s.

“Last year we had a script and then we just added music,” he said. “This year they actually said, ‘Hey, write the script. “”

This year’s cabaret is a mysterious crime comedy set in the 1920s and focuses on a gangster named Roscoe. The group of 10 started working on the script on February 3. Within two weeks, they had completed the first draft, David said.

After getting approval and feedback from their teachers, they then started handing out the coins for themselves. David plays Karen, Roscoe’s wife, while Thomas is the bartender. The other axes, like dance, music and the visual arts, all contribute to the event.

“We all come together, even though these are different topics that we don’t normally study,” Thomas said. “Like we put together different dance numbers and even sing in the last song.”

During intermission, Thomas said the actors and actresses would step out into the audience and stay in their character.

“And they can ask people questions that come up during questioning,” he said. “So it’s a little improvisation on the night of.”

Visual arts students have also produced works of art that will be exhibited and auctioned.

Thomas said he liked that he and his classmates wrote the script.

Tori Shemer is lifted by other members of the Academy of Fine Arts cast during a cabaret rehearsal at Gov Thomas Johnson High School.

“I like that we worked on it because it just feels more personal to us,” he said. “And that way, if something doesn’t work the way we imagined it in our heads, or if we realize it’s not really possible, we have the ability to change that. We have the capacity to fix it. It really is like a breath of fresh air.

With all the hard work the students put in to make the one-night-only event a success, David and Thomas both said they were eagerly awaiting the audience’s reaction.

“I hope the audience will enjoy the show. I hope the jokes land because that’s really the point of the script, ”said David. “… I really hope that the artists will put their pieces up for auction. Hope the dancing is good. I really hope that everything goes well and that the audience at least enjoys the show.


Dancers participate in a Friday cabaret rehearsal at Gov. Thomas Johnson.

It will be the last cabaret of their high school career, so it is also a personal spectacle for them.

“It’s like it’s something that we do together… It’s really like the students are making art and now we can show it to the world,” Thomas said. “And that’s something really special and personal. You don’t really have this experience too often.

Follow Crystal Schelle on Twitter: @crystalschelle


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