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McKenzie Variety Show Continues to Thrill Audiences, Sells Out Once Again

The McKenzie Variety Show needs no introduction.

The musical, jubilant, and infrequently silly production has captivated the community for 44 years, while supporting the Wilmette elementary school.

But even after 4 many years, this system seemingly continues to succeed in latest heights. Katy Jones-Pritchard shows off her musical talents through the show.

This 12 months’s directors, Dane Thomas and Jeff Sorenson, imagine more parents are participating within the 2024 variety show than ever before.

“The momentum for having done this so a few years has attracted parents to need to be in it and families and friends want to come back and support them,” said Sorenson, who said the solid and crew are only shy of 200 people.

The charm of the range show has also kept Thomas and Sorenson coming back. Each are of their third 12 months participating.

Per usual, the show is sold out with shows every day this week through Saturday, March 9. Laura Kalnins plays her best pilot through the variety show.

For this 12 months’s show, the crew developed a story centered on travel. Called “Wanderlust,” the range show takes the audience through 4 parts of a visit: the preparation, the journey, the destination, and the return.

Together with fun and friendly songs about packing and airplanes, and in classic variety show fashion, parents might be dressed up as airplanes, buses, suitcases, and more.

“It’s relatable,” Sorenson said. “Everyone goes on trips and travels and youngsters can really relate to that as well. The costumes and little details are really pulling it through. … You may’t help but smile.”

Putting together the range show is a year-long process, starting with story ideation. As more parents begin to participate, show leaders collect song and story ideas. Sorenson said they received greater than 100 ideas before narrowing them all the way down to 20 for the ultimate production. Travis Parr and Lauren Coady perform in a song in regards to the traveling journey.

Once the solid and crew are set, the parents begin rehearsing one night every week with each parent appearing in two to a few numbers each.

The rehearsing results in tech week, which incorporates a practice night for every week.

All of the trouble cultivates a bond between the participants — a bond that might be rare for busy parents.

“You could be hard-pressed to search out some other opportunities for middle-aged adults with children to spend plenty of quality time with other local parents — that aren’t playdates,” Thomas said. “You spend a lot quality time with people establishing friendships and that bubbles out beyond the range show.

“And it’s fun to get together and create a show. It’s very, very creative. There will not be plenty of other opportunities prefer it.” The entire solid of the McKenzie Variety Show participates in one in all the show’s last songs.

All of the while, the event raises money for the varsity’s parent-teacher association, either for a particular project, equivalent to a brand new playground in recent times, or for general funds, like this 12 months.

After which there may be another profit.

“The importance of our children seeing us go up on stage and doing something out of the abnormal, I believe it means so much to them,” Thomas said. “I believe it’s a lesson they take away for the remaining of their lives. You might be never too old to go on stage and do something incredibly silly.” Jason Douglass as a cowboy in a song about preparation and packing.

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