Tag Archives: j-term

Hairspray: The Making of a J-term Musical

Middlebury’s J-term courses never fail to offer an amazing array of academic endeavors. Among them is “The American Musical in Performance,” a monumental joint effort by Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater and the College’s music department, culminating in a fully mounted production at Town Hall Theater — just three weeks after the start of rehearsals.

This year’s show was Hairspray, a cartoonish yet deeply moving chronicle of the youth-driven integration of an American Bandstand-style television program in the early ‘60s. The collaborative company of actors, musicians, choreographers, and staff included 45 students, as well as faculty and community members—and more than a handful had never been involved with a musical before! That’s the beauty of it all, according to director Doug Anderson, who teaches in the music department as well as being executive director of Town Hall Theater.

MiddMag went behind the scenes—literally—for a closer look at how it all came to be.

Watch the full video here, or in shorter chapters below. (Sorry, the chapter version may not work on mobile devices.)


J-term: In Five Words

Throughout January, as students, staff and faculty adjust to the change in pace of J-term, the editorial staff of Middlebury Magazine will make its way around the campus to discover just what goes on during this month.

It’s the end of the first week of J-term, that wonderfully unusual academic blip between fall and spring semesters at Middlebury. It’s a month that’s seems to be filled with a range of experiences for many students—from the science majors who are tucking in for a month of intense lab work to the students who catch the Snow Bowl Shuttle every afternoon to the adventurous interns who have left the campus altogether for places like New York, London, Guatemala and Nepal. Asked to whittle down their J-term experience to just five words, here’s what students had to say:

“A breath of fresh air.”

“No different than the usual.”

“Lazy.” (when prompted by his friends for only giving one word, he reluctantly added, “Lazy lazy lazy lazy.”)

“The most fun time ever.”

“The best time to train.” (this from an energetic Nordic skier)

“When Bev Co sells out.”

“Hard work for Architecture students.”

“No windows in the lab.”

“First Time in New York (city…)”

“Eyes glued to a microscope.”

“Headed up to the Bowl.”

“More time to eat lunch.”

“More time to sleep in.”

“When my roommate goes away.”

“Time to hang with friends.”

“A rejuvenation of the mind.”