Coffee House returns after year-long break


Ally Bliss

Evelyn Lowry (left), Stella Raio (middle) and Sam Offutt (right) performed Harvest Moon by Neil Young.

Ally Bliss

Every quarter, Midtown’s theatre program hosts “Coffee House,” an event in which students are invited to display their artistic talents through music and spoken word. After a hiatus due to COVID-19, the first coffee house in over a year took place on Sept. 23.

The event is hosted in the Black Box Theater. This year, strict COVID-19 guidelines were enforced. All attendees were required to wear a mask, and groups were required to sit six feet apart from one another. Only 80 audience members were permitted into the theater. Despite these restrictions, Midtown’s Drama Department was excited to host its first show in over a year.

Senior Madeline Moye, president of Drama Club, has been active in musical theater since she was in the fourth grade and has performed in eight coffee houses in her time at Midtown. After being virtual last year, Moye was enthusiastic to perform again.

“This coffee house was a lot quieter than normal because we couldn’t let as many people in,” Moye said. “But, it was really nice to open the doors again.”

The Drama Board selects themes for each Coffee House at the beginning of the year, always including a clever coffee-related pun in the theme name. This quarter’s theme was “Cirque Du Latte.” In the past, themes such as “The Magic Brew-m Stick” and “Espresso Yourself” have been chosen.

“The themes of the coffee houses add an element of fun,” Moye said. “It makes them entertaining and it adds to the vibe more. Our next [coffee house] will have a murder mystery theme, and I’m excited for that.”

Performers were invited to dress up in costumes related to the theme, and a contest was held at the intermission for best costume. Junior Naiomi Partridge has attended every coffee house since her freshman year and loves the different traditions included in the show.

“The circus theme was exciting, and I was interested to see how people would try to dress with the theme,” Partridge said. “The costume contest was a cool addition to the show, and I loved seeing how everyone went all out and used their creativity to come up with cool costumes.”

Although individual performances are not required to fit the theme, each act was unique, ranging from poetry to guitar playing and singing. Junior guitarist Sam Offutt performed “Harvest Moon” with senior singers Stella Raio and Evelyn Lowry.

“It was really fun,” Offutt said. “I’ve never performed in front of a crowd that big, and wish I was more prepared. The lights were bright and I was pretty scared. I want to do it again, though. I’ll be doing every coffee house from now on.”

Offutt is passionate about music and playing guitar, and was grateful to have the opportunity to share his talent with others.

“I think it’s important to share music and show that you care about it,” Offutt said. “It’s like how some people like basketball and want to show people what they can do, but I play music instead. Music is everything. Music is the heartbeat of humanity.”