Rice Memorial High School Stunt Nite
Rice Memorial High School’s Stunt Nite will be staged at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington later this month.
Students from the Catholic high school in South Burlington will perform.
“The majority, if not all, of Rice students participate in Stunt Nite! It’s a big deal at Rice,” enthused Paulette Bergeron, who with her husband, Joe, are the volunteer directors.
Stunt Nite began in 1929 as “Vaudeville Nite” under Principal Father Robert Joyce who later became the sixth bishop of Burlington. It was created as an evening of entertainment consisting of stunts and skits performed by members of each of the four classes to raise funds. The event was so well received it was decided to have a second show the following November. This time, prizes were awarded, and the senior class of 1930 was the first grand-prize winner. By 1932, the name was changed to Stunt Nite and it became a highlight of the school year.
“Stunt Nite remains a unique, entertaining annual community event filled with laughter, song and dance,” Bergeron said. “It builds confidence and forms friendships among the classes — an event unlike any other.”
All students are eligible to participate; no stage experience or talent is ever necessary as there is always a role for everyone, she added.
Stunt Nite’s focus is on the class, rather than the individual. “It’s probably the only time in high school where students work on one event or project with their entire class.” She said. “Stunt Nite is more than just a performance — it’s also a friendly competition among the four classes.”
The shows must be prepared within 31 days and with no more than 21 hours of rehearsal time. Each class is permitted 25 to 30 minutes on stage, time over or under could cost a win. “And while winning is not necessarily the ultimate goal, the Classes of 1949 and 1990 are the envy of Rice alumni and current students, having won first place in each of their four years,” Bergeron noted.
In addition to the first- and second-place awards for best overall show, a team of five judges at each show awards firs-t and second-place to the class with the best band, best vocal act, best non-vocal act, best acting and best finale.
This year, the audience can expect four magical productions, she said. Each show has its own theme and will contain acting, song and dance to tell a story. “The highlight of each show is generally the final number where each act enters for their bow until the entire class of 80-100 students is on stage, and together they present an emotionally charged finale.”
Each of the four class shows is coached by parents and other family members, former students and friends on a voluntary basis.
“If you haven’t been to Stunt Nite, it’s a site to be seen and experienced,” Bergeron said. “No matter how you become a part of this wonderful tradition, and whether experiencing it as a student, coach, parent or member of the audience, you leave the show as part of the Rice community full of Rice pride — a Rice tradition that has lasted many life-times.”
Stunt Nite will take place Nov. 22 at 4 p.m. (tickets are $25) and at 8 p.m. (tickets are $30). Tickets are now on sale at flynnvt.org or 86-FLYNN.
The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts is located at 153 Main St., Burlington.