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Years in ReVue
Jacob Hawkinson lip-syncs to Iron Maidens Wasted Years during Monroe High Schools ReVue talent show last year. The show includes performances and skits by students and teachers. This years show, with the theme Once Upon A Time, will be 7 p.m. April 21 at the MHS Performing Arts Center. (Photo supplied)
MONROE - A Monroe High School institution will once again entertain the masses on Saturday, with silly skits and displays of serious skills.

Starting in the early 1980s, library specialist Jenny Bochar, a Monroe graduate, said the ReVue show used to be a covert operation by teachers likely to shock students and raise money, in addition to student participation.

"It was a real surprise for the kids to see them that night," said Bochar, who serves as director of the Monroe Performing Arts Center. "A lot of the times it was teachers you would not expect would come out and do a tap dance or sing barbershop quartet. It was really an interesting way to see them outside of their teacher zone and see them as a different type of human being."

Three decades later, it no longer nearly sells out multiple nights at the middle school. But longtime organizer Jennifer Moehn said it has still brought about 400 spectators to the PAC annually in recent years.

Bochar noted the range of devices designed for distraction has greatly widened since she witnessed her teachers carrying out humanizing comedy skits and musical performances, which competes for an audience's attention. And students are busier with extracurricular activities than they would have been in the past, contributing to decreasing participation over the decades, said student senate advisor James Cassidy.

The participants have changed, though teachers do still make it to the stage sometimes. Student government has taken over to fundraise for its organization.

Fellow advisor Beth Roidt said the show acts as a culminant display of the seniors' entire four years at Monroe and those in the class also serving on senate pick the yearly theme to include parodies of time spent at school. They re-enact memorable events, cataloguing them as they play out within the halls of the school. Roidt has witnessed some herself while teaching science classes.

Examples range from a brass band to taekwondo demonstrations to stand-up comedy. There are roughly 20 acts each year, Cassidy said, although it will likely be 16 this year. Some will even have swords this year. While Cassidy indicated there are fewer early registrants than in previous years, Bochar has seen a number of students plan throughout the year who look forward to auditioning for the chance to grace the PAC stage.

Cassidy said he and others are always excited to see auditions, discovering the hidden talents of students who don't have the opportunity to highlight them in other ways.

"Something I look forward to each year is how talented our students are," he said. "There's usually at least one surprise student who sticks out."

Others might be reluctant to display their talent in other settings, Bochar added.

"It's such a great opportunity for any student in our school to show off a skill they might just keep hidden and not really have the confidence to maybe perform in a musical, but they could take that moment and show everyone what they can do during the ReVue," Bochar said. "I think there are student who are still really dedicated to it and like the idea of having that opportunity to perform."