Bennett High’s Annual Rock & Roll Revival Returns

SALISBURY – The 21st production of James M. Bennett High School’s Rock & Roll Revival will return to Salisbury for two weekends this month.

Each year, students showcase their talents in dance, music and song as part of a two-weekend production that raises money for the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA).

This year’s Rock & Roll Revival, entitled “Rockin’ the Movies,” will feature 34 hit songs from movies throughout the decades, including “Jaws,” “Ghost,” “Footloose,” “Smokey and the Bandit” and more.

Tracy Sahler, public information officer for Wicomico County Public Schools, said more than 130 singers, musicians, dancers, set designers, technicians and more join this year’s production of “Rockin’ the Movies.”

“Last year’s theme was ‘My Generation’ and it started with the earliest music and went to the most modern,” she said. “But this year, the production goes from movie to movie and not by the year in which they were released.”

Singer Gillian Barr, a senior at Bennett High, said the show will start with an acapella rendition of the 20th Century Fox theme song, setting the stage for an evening of entertainment.

“It sets the whole theme of ‘Rockin’ the Movies,’” she said. “It’s the songs that are related to the movies.”

Stage crew captain Matthew Aukward, a senior at Bennett High, noted the months spent preparing and rehearsing for this year’s production.

“There’s a lot of emotions and hard work that gets put into this,” he said.

Regardless, students said the demanding schedule is worthwhile. Musician and senior Hannah Burchard noted how the production brings the school together.

“At the beginning of the school year everyone is face down in their books and studies,” she said. “Then you come to Rock & Roll and you see all of the amazing talent that comes from this school. You see people in a different light as they go out on stage and belt out a crazy high note or do flips or play an amazing saxophone solo.”

Barr added the production gives students the opportunity to meet new people.

“I feel like we make more friends through Rock & Roll,” she said. “If we didn’t have Rock & Roll, we wouldn’t have met or engaged with any of these people.”

Burchard noted that funds raised from the shows benefit the school’s PTSA, which supports students, staff and school programs throughout the year.

“It’s also an amazing fundraiser for Bennett,” she said. “We get a lot of our profit from the show. The community comes together and witnesses how much talent there is in this high school, and the high school benefits with concessions and ticket sales. It’s an all-around great production that we put on.”

The cast and crew of the Rock & Roll Revival will perform seven shows Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 14-17 in the James. M. Bennett Auditorium in Salisbury. Shows will begin at 7 p.m. on Feb. 8-9 and Feb. 14-16, and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 10 and Feb. 17.

Tickets will be on sale for $20 at the Bank of Delmarva on Eastern Shore Drive and online at www.ticketleap.com (search JMB) Tickets for the Thursday night performance on Feb. 14 will be on sale for $15.

“We do have shows that sell out,” Sahler said. “So we do tell people to make sure they get their tickets in advance.”

For more information, email jmbrocknroll2019@gmail.com, call 410-726-3211, or visit the “JMB Rock & Roll Revival” Facebook page.

“Our students are fantastically talented and incredibly committed to doing this show, and they’ve been rehearsing their songs for months,” Co-Director Dory Hayman said. “It’s going to be an amazing experience for them and for everyone who is part of the audience.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.