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Whitman's Talent Ready to Roll

Andrew Maury doesn’t want anybody to feel punk’d when they see Whitman’s annual student talent show. As director, he is confident the 15 acts will entertain an audience of all ages.

“For the past four years, being at Whitman, I’ve always looked forward to the talent show the most,” said Maury, a senior. “I’ve had a lot of visions of how the show could be.”

It’s Maury’s turn in charge, continuing a Whitman tradition of a talent show that is student-run, student-directed and student-performed.

“There’s a lot of help from adults, but the creative input is mostly students,” said Marshall Mannes, a lead in Whitman’s fall musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” and performs in the MTV-themed skits between acts. Sophomore Mikhaila Lieberman joins Mannes as they perform spoofs of “The Osbournes,” “The Newlyweds,” “Punk’d” and even “Beavis & Butt-Head.”

MANNES AND LIEBERMAN may impersonate a gamut of MTV heroes and has-beens in their skits, but both stress that they are not the main draw on the bill. “The talent show always has been about the acts,” said Mannes.

“It’s interesting, because it’s mostly compiled of musicians,” said Lieberman. “Within the bands you’ll see a lot of diversity.”

One of the performances will be a “Stomp”-style act, where student percussionists play the floor, garbage cans, saucepans — anything except drums.

Several rock bands performing are familiar to Whitman students, such as Down With Fupa and Suburban Might. Both played at Whitman’s homecoming football game over the last two years, as well as last year’s talent show.

Tension Mounting and Average Joe are two other rock bands performing, each with a twist that Maury is excited to present. A 20-member string section will accompany Tension Mounting when it covers the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight.” Average Joe has a horn section playing on its cover of “Pick up the Pieces” by the Average White Band.

There’s high art, too, from junior Pallavi Mahidhara on piano. Mahidhara is an award-winning pianist who has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra.

“I’ve always wanted to do the talent show,” said Jackie Weinman, a junior who performs in the dance team Smop. “Whitman has a lot of diverse talent, and it’s great to have a production to show it off every year.”

Smop performs a routine to a variety of popular music. A tap-dancing group will also perform.

“We have a really good time, and people will leave with a smile on their face,” Lieberman said.