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A ‘Thriller’ Show at East Rowanby Brent Johnson

By Brent Johnson
For The Salisbury Post
Ninety-nine bodies hunch over with arms as dangling dead weight. Their attention is fixed. Their bodies sway. Lifeless eyes are glued to the stage; they are hungry.
Among the swarm stands their leader ó “purpose-driven,” as Director Dean Orbison might put it. The conscious necromancer awakens the parched throats of the zombie horde, stumbling into an audience that welcomes the feeding frenzy destined to capture their hearts.
It’s from probably the most famous music video ever ó Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” East Rowan High School will be performing that ó and lots more ó in “Forever Motown,” the school’s 16th annual Broadway Revue.
The show is this weekend, at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, April 4-5 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 6.
Orbison and Laura Troutman, choreographer and East Rowan alumnus, pair up again this year to put on the highly anticipated musical tradition at East Rowan.
Supporters of Education at East Rowan (SEER) is sponsoring the revue as its largest fundraiser. Lisa Bost, co-president of SEER, says the revue is a special event that brings all aspects of the school together.
Along with the 99 East students, 54 of Erwin Middle School’s eighth-grade honors chorus will be participating in the event as well.
According to Orbison, this year’s production has the largest number of student performers ever.
“It was a challenge to get everyone to listen and learn, but everyone has done a great job,” Troutman says. “They work very hard.”
The students have been putting in three-hour rehearsals in order to get the difficult pieces mastered.
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” ó which first thrilled MTV audiences 25 years ago ó will be performed, sending chills up the spines of the innocent. The dark and dirty clothing the performers will be wearing will add to the eerie effect.
Other numbers on the program include “Do You Love Me?” “Rockin’ Robin,” and “We Are Family,” which are bound to get the audience in the mood with Motown fever.
“It’s a lot of work but its great,” junior Blain Doby says. “Hopefully it’s packed in and sold out.”
“It’s my second year doing the whole show,” sophomore Joey Poole says. “I love it.”
“You get to hang out with everyone. It’s exciting,” freshman Amber Barnhardt says. “I’ve enjoyed it.”
Tickets are $8 and may be purchased at the school from 6 to 8 p.m. today.
For more information, call Teresa Rufty at 704-433-2582.
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Post intern Brent Johnson is a senior at Catawba College.

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