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NHS alumni 'musical revue' to feature 'greatest hits'

Cary Ashby • Jul 24, 2019 at 9:00 AM

The band is getting back together.

In this case, alumni from the Norwalk High School musicals in the past two decades will perform together next year. Director Robyn Rogers, who has been considering the idea for many years, said the two-night performance could be considered “the greatest hits of the Norwalk musical theater.”

“It’s going to be a musical revue,” added the 2001 NHS graduate. “It always appealed to me.”

The performances are planned for July 10 and 11, 2020. Rogers said she hopes alumni will have plenty of time to make travel arrangements, stay in the Norwalk area after the 4th of July and then rehearse beforehand.

In addition to announcing her plans for the alumni musical revue, she has decided what will be the next production by the current students.

“This year we’re going to do ‘Beauty and the Beast,” Rogers said. “One of the seniors pitched it to me.”

After hearing the student recommend who could play what roles, Rogers said she was convinced, despite initially being wary of the idea.

Featured during the alumni musical revue will be songs from “Beauty and the Beast,” “Seussical the Musical,” “The Music Man,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and possibly a few more Disney-related shows. 

“Those (four) shows have all been done twice in that (20-year) time frame,” said Rogers, who played a wife in “Joseph” her senior year. 

The idea for a NHS musical alumni performance had been in the back of her mind for years. However, Rogers said she wasn’t sure if she was the only person who might be interested.

Facebook messages to the lead actors and actresses in the last two decades proved there was enthusiastic feedback.

“Within three hours, I had 30 people (who) were interested,” said Rogers, who noted that international alumni from Bangkok and Greece were on board. “I think there will be over 100 (performers) on stage.”

The alumni performances will allow family members who were in NHS musicals at different times to be on stage together.

“I know there is a lot of excitement about that,” Rogers said. “Any money we will raise will go back to the (musical) scholarship.”

Siblings performing together will be the case for Carol Phillips, who once again will assist Rogers. Phillips, a retired elementary school music teacher, directed the musicals for many years before Rogers took over. Phillips first directed “The Music Man” for NHS when her oldest son, Aaron (class of 2004), played Harold Hill — a role later played by his younger brother, Jesse (2010).

“I wouldn’t do this without her,” said Rogers, who was Phillips’ assistant director.

Phillips said she and Rogers make a good team because “No. 1, we both love musicals,”; they also “love being around the students” and they’re perfectionists who are are “take-charge people.” Most importantly, Phillips said she and Rogers “have a desire to produce something that is meaningful and affirming.”

“Even more so, we’ve become good friends,” Phillips added.

As a mother of three NHS alumni, she said it’s exciting to imagine the possibilities of having all three of her sons perform. Her middle son, Nathan (class of 2006), played the Pharaoh in a production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” His wife, Liz (Hipp) Phillips, was Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.”

“It would be fun for him (Nathan) to see him do that again; he’s also a cut-up,” said his mother, who noted her other sons are coming up with a way to perform a song as Harold Hill from “The Music Man.”

Over the years, Carol Phillips said she has seen cast members become good friends, so an alumni revue show is “a great way for them to join forces to do something they really enjoyed doing in high school.”

Anyone who is interested in the alumni performances or wants more information, should email Robyn Rogers at [email protected] or join the closed “Norwalk High School Musical Alumni” group on Facebook.

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