V-Show legacy proves vital in Glenview community

Violet Guzman-Robles, co-a&e editor

For over 40 years, South has found ways to “Illuminate” the talents of its students en route to performing in the Variety Show. Whether roused by “Curiosity” or intrigued by “Synchronicity,” South students have managed to elevate the status of this “Signature” show with their  “Synergy” to the Glenview Community. They choose to “Carpe Diem” and perform in front of thousands. This is South’s unique production, and it can only be described as “Gold.”

South alumna Erin Kirby, who participated in the V-Show from 2015-2018 as a backup singer, performer in the juggling act, clarinet and saxophone player in the pit, variety act performer and Chambers Singer throughout her four years, explained that, upon entering college, there truly was no comparable experience.

“V-Show is a very unique opportunity and Glenbrook South creates this production that no other school has really done,” Kirby said. “In my experience, talking about it with other people since graduating, no one really has that sense of wow-factor except for South.”

Auditorium Manager Rich Winship stated that he has pushed V-Show to become professional and improve throughout his 40 years being part of the production. He stressed that South’s V-Show is unusual in that it is more than just a normal high school production due to its higher and more demanding standards. 

“I hear from colleagues and friends who see our show, generally the common response is that this is not a high school show, this is professional,” Winship said. “I have a friend who works for the Joffrey Ballet and he came to see it and could not believe what he saw. Not just the talent of the kids, but the production values and the precision and quality of all the acts are very high.”

Along with its ability to impress, V-Show also provides an unmatched communal experience for longtime residents such as Kirby.

“There’s a huge community aspect not just with the performers but with the Glenview community,” Kirby said. “Many people ask what V-Show is, and it’s not something you can really explain until you see what’s going on because I know when I got to college, explaining what V-Show is all about was [difficult].”

Freshman Act Director Kim Kiraly stated that V-Show’s reach into the community exposes the school’s fine arts to the incoming students, reminding them of the opportunity to be involved.

“[We] have all of these different kids coming together with all of these different talents [that] we string together to make something that is truly magical that we get to then share with the broader community,” Kiraly said. “We build bridges to bring people in and experience all of the talents but to also build bridges out.”

Kirby, who has grown up with V-Show, decided she wanted to be a part of the show at a young age when her older siblings inspired her to learn how to juggle.

“I have a lot of siblings and they were all involved in V-Show, and I’ve been watching V-Show probably since I was about seven,” Kirby said. “It’s crazy, I remember acts from ten years ago and you can see the evolution of the time with each act. Each year each act [has] a different view on politics or even with Singer Dancers you can see different dances and music based on the [time].”

Junior Katie Durow, student director of Freshman Act and performer in numerous acts since her freshman year, has also experienced V-Show from a young age. Durow realized at the first show she ever attended, “Gold” in 2012, that she wanted to become a performer in the communally famous production.

“When I was younger, it was a tradition for me and family to go to V-Show every year with my neighbors and it was something we really looked forward to [because] V-Show is such a community staple and everyone in Glenview knows that it’s such a good production,” Durow said.

As well as being current directors of V-Show, co-director Robert Shellard and Kiraly both participated in the show as students when they attended South.

“V-Show has been a big part of my life for 21 years,”  Shellard said. “I grew up with my dad in the building, who was the previous student activities director. He found a way for me to be in it when I was a kindergartener. That was my introduction and forever it’s always been a big event of the year in my family and household.”

Shellard now uses his own experience to work with the students in preparation for the show behind the scenes.

“It’s been really exciting to be on the other side of the table, working and thinking more professionally about it,” Shellard said. “It’s been really nice coming back to it and using all of my memories and thoughts to influence the direction and provide stability for the show.”

Kiraly recalled her favorite moment in all her time as part of V-Show as unifying not just communally, but nationally as well.

“The 2002 show act, ‘Freedom’, [was] a really cool [act and we] got to see all these different elements of our school synthesized together and to be able to showcase,” Kiraly said. “That show was special too because it was right after 9/11 so a lot of the focus was on instilling pride in our country and pride in who we are, so it was pretty touching.”

Shellard described his experience in V-Show as memorable due to his and his family’s involvement in the production.

“Growing up in the community it was really cool to see the impact of the Variety Show [as a] huge part of the community,” Shellard said. “Like well, it’s February, time to go to the Variety Show. Last year we sold out and years before too, because of the long-standing tradition that is V-Show.”