LET THE CURTAINS RISE ... When Sarah Thermond took a job at Palo Alto High School in fall 2020 to run the school's theater program, the pandemic had shuttered the campus and she and her students were faced with the task of putting on performances over Zoom. Now, with kids back in classrooms, live plays have returned. Paly students performed their first set of in-person shows outdoors last September and then put on an indoor production in November. Next month, the young actors plan to expand again with a production of "Peter and the Starcatcher" that Thermond hopes will come closer to its pre-pandemic audience levels. "We did the most we could with virtual performances, and I'm really proud of it," Thermond said. "But ultimately, being able to really interact with each other, play off of each other, share the space together and feed off of each other's energy has been really special." For senior Anneke Salvadori, who plans to pursue acting in college, turning off her camera after a Zoom show always felt anticlimactic and she's glad to be back on the stage. "Being on Zoom shows was fun, but it does not compare to the experience of being able to really interact with my cast members and also feed off of the audience's energy," Salvadori said. "Peter and the Starcatcher" is a prequel to "Peter Pan" that explores the origin stories of all of the most famous characters, Thermond said. Five performances are scheduled between March 4 and 20 in Paly's performing arts center. For tickets and more information, visit palytheatre.com/tickets.
BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME ... Despite missing a chance to compete in the finals, Stanford University junior Issac Applebaum should be proud of his performance at the Jeopardy! National College Championship. The scenario that played out during his quarterfinals appearance nearly repeated itself again during the semifinals. In an episode that aired Feb. 17, Applebaum and his two fellow competitors were faced with the category of "Words from Mythology" and the following question: "A 1525 textbook on anatomy says this, being 'so different of colours', could also be called 'rain bowys.'" Entering the round in second place with $13,000, Applebaum was once again the only student with the correct answer: "irises." "In mythology, the goddess Iris was the personification of the rainbow," host Mayim Bialik said on the show. Applebaum's wager of $5,801 propelled him to first place, but his score fell short of a spot in the finals. Despite this, the Bethesda, Maryland, native could get another shot at a Jeopardy! championship title. The show plans to hold a postseason Second Chance Tournament, executive producer Michael Davies said in a Feb. 9 post on the show's website. Jeopardy! has yet to release the criteria for other competitors who could play in the tournament, but one competitor from the event would also appear in the Tournament of Champions.
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