That’s A Wrap!

LSE Performing Arts completes its 66th annual Nite of Knights


Graphic by: Zainib Al-Jayashi

Ella Gaskill, Staff Writer

M Hall is swarming with people. One student walks by strumming a guitar, while in a corner, two dancers dressed in pink and black practice their tap combo. Singers warm up in the brightly lit choir room. Elsewhere, band students tune their instruments. Up the stairs, members of crew stand guard at the stage doors, warnifng jittery performers to keep their voices down. 

This year’s 66th annual Nite of Knights, a variety show that raises money for LSE’s Performing Arts Department, ran the nights of Feb. 16 and 18 in the Jennifer L. Dorsey-Howley Performing Arts Center. This year, drama club officers hoped to see a true variety with a balanced showcase of talents other than vocal solos. Some notable acts made it in, including a poem, a tap duet and a rendition of “Chop Suey” by the LSE Orchestra.

Sophomore Drew Lohrman, was one of five Masters of Ceremony (MCs) for the night’s events. Lohrman and her fellow MCs had the task of introducing performances, using themed scenes that incorporated the title of each act directly into the script. This year’s theme was “Movie Knight”, in which performers took on roles of teens in a theater as well as characters from classic films like “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars.” 

Lohrman said she preferred being in the movie rather than being in the audience because she enjoyed “playing into comedy” and getting to “make fun of [herself] on stage.”

This is Lohrman’s second year with LSE Performing Arts. So far, she has been in seven shows (counting the current Nite of Knights), with her favorite role being the understudy for Princess Winifred in last year’s musical “Once Upon a Mattress.” 

Previous experience helped all the MCs get through their audition, which was “very thrown together,” Lohrman said. 

They planned their act on Monday (Jan. 9) the week of auditions, rehearsed the next day and auditioned on Wednesday (Jan. 11). Despite the time crunch, they managed to impress the panel of judges, which consisted of student volunteers. “There were definitely some hiccups, but we made our way around it,” Lohrman said.

In addition to helping run the show, Lohrman also performed a duet of “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppet Movie” with junior Kalainey Nickel. 

While those onstage dazzled the audience, a crew of dedicated stagehands kept everything running smoothly behind the scenes. In contrast to working on the plays or musical, doing tech for Nite of Knights required a short time commitment and was “a lot less chaotic,” junior Ava Sukup-Rogers said. 

“It’s a little nerve wracking,” Sukup-Rogers said. “There’s a lot of different things that you learn that you’ve never really needed to know before.”

Sukup-Rogers has worked on nine shows at LSE, including Nite of Knights in 2022. This year, she was a lighting designer and part of backstage crew for the variety show’s auditions. Technicians had to be prepared to do “whatever [was] needed,” from setting up drums to “awkwardly” bringing a piano onstage. 

“[Some performers] need nothing, some need seven microphones and an aux cord,” Sukup-Rogers said. “You never really know what you’re gonna get until they walk in the door.”

Crew members gave the stage a new look for every act and kept performers on track. Instructions were given in whispers to avoid being heard by the audience, so good communication was key. Sukup-Rogers was pleased with how her fellow crew members handled the challenge. 

“It’s a lot of thinking on your feet and [we did] real good with that,” Sukup-Rogers said.

Due to a snow day, the two anticipated performances were cut down to one. Despite the minor setback, this year’s Nite of Knights was successful. Both Lohrman and Sukup-Rogers encourage the student body to attend next year.

“It’s such a cool opportunity to get to know the Southeast community,” Lohrman said, noting that the show appeals to a “more broad audience” than other productions. 

Sukup-Rogers agrees that seeing the variety show is a great way to support performing arts and see the talent LSE has to offer, especially because Nite of Knights is unique each year.

“It’s like nothing we really do,” Sukup-Rogers said. “You never know what could happen. It’s show business.”