Bringing new meaning to the words “talent show,” Varsity Varieties showcases some of Gahanna’s best and brightest talents from all over our community. From fast feet to big voices, it is hard to believe that Gahanna is brimming with so much talent. These amazing actors, singers, comedians, dancers, instrumentalists, and others show the importance of giving a platform to participants in the arts.
To produce the largest student lead production of the theatre department, behind-the-scenes, tech director Chris Wagner helps make sure the show will go on. Wagner is heavily involved with the school, as he is the yearbook adviser, teacher of director and design, director and beloved English teacher. Entering his ninth year as tech director, Wagner helped produce the 41st Varsity Varieties show. Wagner himself was an actor in high school, so he stays true to his theatre roots in his later by being a wiser and experienced teacher who is willing to pass on his knowledge to the people around him.The relationships that Wagner forms with his students are deeply special; everyone laughs and jokes with him, but also remains respectful and appreciative.
Three seniors that really helped run Varsity Varieties were McKenna Carr, Cole Hengstebeck, and Taj Caldwell. Wagner said that students like these three are the types of people he can count on to help make productions like Varsity Varieties. Carr, who is in charge of sound, is “someone I can count on,” Wagner said. She and many others, such as Hengstebeck, played a vital role in the show. Hengstebeck is an actor and build captain that knows his way both on and off the stage, and is credited as a problem solver. Another student imperative to Varsity Varieties is Caldwell, who, as Wagner says, is able to “bring joy and laughter and good energy to everything we do.”
Dressed in all black like ninjas, the stage crew quickly handles props, stage set up, and anything that needs to be handled during production. There is a lot of rehearsing that comes with theatre productions, both on and off stage. Stage crew rehearses eight times in order to figure out the timing for all the acts. Wagner calls Varsity Varieties an “on your toes production,” meaning that people must adapt and act quickly for the show to go on. Stage crew is what allows smooth transitions from one act to the next.
In a money hungry world, it is easy for students to lose sights of their passions and talents that could eventually change the world. Varsity Varieties is chance for students to take a break from the regular demands of school to showcase their unique talents. With amazing shows like this, everyone involved will be remembered and praised for the effort it takes to get to where they are.