A Peek Behind the Curtain

“Musical Monarchs” lip sync show takes center stage


Maranda Rose-Adame/Rider Media

Aidan Neely (left) and Robert Holloway rehearse for the upcoming “Musical Monarchs” that begins Thursday at Rider Auditorium.

Sandra Le, Reporter

After four years of performing in Rider’s lip sync, senior Carson Hollingsworth understands that each year is different. 

Directors such as Hollingsworth and senior Jay Phillips have spent countless hours after school planning and choreographing their own different songs. This year, Hollingsworth is directing two lip syncs: “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston and “Kiss” by Prince, while Phillips is directing “Think” by Aretha Franklin and “ A Change is Going to Come” by Sam Cooke. 

“You have to be passionate about your ideas,” Hollingsworth said. “A big part of what a director does is being able to organize all of these people and casting so that they can all shine to their best.”

The lip sync production “Musical Monarchs” will run tonight through Saturday at 6:30 p.m. with a 2:30 p.m. Saturday show as well. Ticket prices are $5 for students and $10 for adults. 

Dancing on stage is senior Angelica Concepcion’s favorite part. Hollingsworth’s songs are dance-heavy, but she’s able to practice at home after rehearsals. However, fake singing gives the actors an added sense of freedom in their performance.

“Lip syncing the words is very fun because you don’t have to sing, which I love, but it’s fun because you get to put your own twist on it,” Concepcion said. “You get to perform even more, and you get to put yourself in the character’s shoes.”

The 12-song playlist includes other hits like Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” Madonna’s “Vogue” and Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” Choosing the song is just one step in the lengthy process of crafting the show. 

“There’s the planning of the concept,” Phillips said. “You basically have to get the lyric sheet and plan it all out on the lyrics where you want them (actors) to move.

“After you do that, then you have to go and find the people you want to use and that takes a bit of work because I had to figure out who I wanted to be the mom and how the family was going to come together. After that, then I had to execute it, which is the hard part.”

Not everyone that’s working hard can be seen. Many students manage props, lighting and music backstage. Sophomore Tatum Avery controls the music for each song. 

“My job is to pause and play the music as the director tells me to do, and I do certain things like if the director wants me to fade out in the intro or stop in a certain spot for the actors to stop,” Avery said. “I just do it, basically under the director’s command.” 

Dozens of students’ hard work will be on display in the Rider Auditorium for a unique performance. After participating in three previous lip syncs, Hollingsworth knows all too well about that. 

“Every year it’s different because there’s a whole new set of directors who each bring something new and creative to the table,” he said.