The history of Senior Show

Kruti Vora

The 2012 Senior Show will be the first to be performed on the new Main Stage.

Featuring dances, talent, comedy and a variety of other skits, Senior Show has become a longtime Wayland High School tradition.

When Senior Show was born, it started as a play or musical that had a purely senior cast. Over the years, the show evolved into a “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) style variety show. Later, the show dropped many of its external skits and references, keeping mainly the pieces about Wayland. These evolutions have redefined the meaning of Senior Show for the Wayland High School community.

Scott Parseghian, WHS’s Dean of Students and class of 1992 grad, performed in his Senior Show. He was  featured in the act with a musical guest as the show started to transform into a more SNL-style production.

As the show changed, the purpose of the show also began to vary.

“I would describe what we put on as more of a variety show, where we had this continuous narrative that ran through,” said Edmund DeHoratius, English and Latin teacher and class of 2003 advisor. For the class of 2003, the narrative was a way to introduce the various skits of the show.

DeHoratius believes that since 2003, the Senior Show has featured more “filler” skits and less talent or variety skits as students try to focus more on the humor of the show.

“It’s very hard to sustain that level of humor, so what inevitably happens is that some of the skits end up being not funny or not as funny,” DeHoratius said.

Another major difference between current and past Senior Shows is the planning that goes into it. In 2003, DeHoratius and his seniors had a rough outline of the script in December, and tryouts and rehearsals followed soon after.

At that time, each grade was also responsible for putting on a Winter Week play. Participation was voluntary, but it meant that the senior class had to juggle a Winter Week play and the Senior Show at the same time.

As Senior Show transformed, the skits began to take a new angle, targeting Wayland High School students.

“You would have some traditional stuff in there on college and getting your driver’s license. Then it sort of drifted into class warfare, and it was towards the juniors, and that got to be a little more hurtful,” said drama teacher and 2011 class advisor Richard Weingartner.

“I think that it was my freshman or sophomore year when you could make fun of teachers,” said Parseghian. “It got so bad that it put teachers into tears and stuff like that.”

By the time Parseghian was a junior at WHS, making fun of teachers was prohibited.

“Even if you got the OK, that was a non-negotiable,” Parseghian said.

Over the last few years, as more restrictions have been put on Senior Show, the allowance of references to WHS faculty members in Senior Show has been left to the discretion of the administration.

In the past, students have found loopholes in the restrictions.

In the 2003 Senior Show, some students wrote a skit about a teacher at WHS, but the teacher was not named in the skit. The only way the teacher could have been recognized was by the college shirt that one of the students was wearing during the skit. But since many WHS faculty members had graduated from that college, DeHoratius allowed the skit into the show.

“That was a loophole, they found that loophole, and I certainly could’ve pulled the plug if I wanted to, but I didn’t think the skit deemed it or merited it. I thought they’d covered themselves enough,” said DeHoratius. “But you’re always balancing those different factors in terms of making those decisions, and they’re not easy decisions to make.”

Some years, Senior Show content has crossed the line, which has led to the regulations imposed on recent Senior Shows.

“We really tried to make it a fun evening, and then somewhere along the line, it got kind of ugly; it never became a fun thing,” Weingartner said.

This year, the seniors at Wayland will carry on the Senior Show tradition, even with all of its changes, and will try to make it a fun night for everyone.