Family Weekend Show Inspires Creativity in Abbey Players

October 18, 2019

By Samantha Jette '20

The Abbey Players will perform this year’s Family Weekend Show titled “The Greatest School” on Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. The show is written, directed, and choreographed by students, allowing them to explore their creative passions on the stage.

The 2019 musical follows four students through their time at Saint Anselm College as the Hilltop becomes their home. The characters participate in Anselmian traditions such as the Gingerbread House Competition in Davison Hall, as well as study sessions in the Academic Resource Center.

Audience members will get a taste of life at the College and will understand the unique experience of being an Anselmian while enjoying popular songs such as “Mr. Brightside,” Hamilton’s “Say No to This,” The Greatest Showman’s  “The Greatest Show” and “Dancing Queen.”

The Family Weekend Show gives the Abbey Players a chance to cultivate their own show. Sean Thompson ’22, Grace Trabucchi ’23, Margaret Lamy ’22, and Luke Moran ’22 play the four lead roles in the production of 32 total student actors. Just like the stage actors and actresses, students are also heavily involved behind the scenes.

Liam Dooley ’22 is the show’s co-director and co-writer. As co-director, Dooley is responsible for creating the blocking for each scene, while also creating lines for each character as co-writer. He collaborates with his fellow co-writer to come up with dialogue, as well as transitions into the accompanying musical numbers.

Production planning for the musical begins long before the fall semester. “We had to start planning everything in March so we could go through the process of presenting our ideas to Dr. Magnuson and the Abbey Players’ season 70 and 71 board of directors. Once our show was chosen we had so much work to do,” explained head of Choreography and Co-Music Director Sabrina Hebert ’21.

The production team edited the script four times to ensure that the play was production-ready. The Players then held auditions shortly after the semester began, with rehearsals starting the following week.

Dooley’s family history makes the Family Weekend Show particularly meaningful to him. As a young child, he watched the show on Family Weekend while visiting older siblings, now Saint Anselm alumni.

“Ever since I was a kid, I loved the whole concept of telling a comedic story about the college with parodies of familiar songs. There’s a great value about FWS in that you’re having fun expressing a love for theatre,” he remarked.

Hebert also finds the Family Weekend Show quite special. It was the first show she performed as part of the Abbey Players and credits the show for re-building her love for performing, as well as behind the scenes work.

“I love how much this show represents the being at home feeling. As a cast we always become so close with each other. one of the reasons we do Family Weekend Show is to give freshmen and new members an opportunity to experience our organization. It has become a tradition for us to become mentors to the new members in and out of the organization. I love the energy that surrounds the creation of the show, the rehearsal process, and the show itself,” says Hebert.

With all the effort put into its production, “The Greatest Show” will not disappoint. Students and family members are encouraged to support the Abbey Players in their first performance of the year during Family Weekend.