A community tradition: Bannockburn’s 67th Spring Show


Photo courtesy Bannockburn Spring Show

A group of performers rehearses two days before opening night in April 2022.

By Celia Noya

As the stage lights brighten, cheers and familiar smiling faces welcome the cast of Bannockburn’s Spring Show — the annual satirical production that has unified the Bannockburn community for 67 years. The crowd quiets as peppy music fills the theater, and the actors strut onto the stage, beginning their opening song as they captivate an eager audience. 

The Bannockburn neighborhood hosts the Spring Show as an annual fundraiser to maintain the Bannockburn Clubhouse, a treasured part of the community since its construction in 1912. The clubhouse is currently home to the Bannockburn Nursery School, but its non-classroom areas are frequently rented out by community members for activities such as birthdays and gatherings. 

More than 50 Bannockburn residents write, direct and perform in the show, which includes a variety of ironic skits and songs mocking local and national events. This year’s theme, “A Pre-Summer’s Night Meme,” draws inspiration from Shakespeare’s iconic play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The 67th annual show will take place between May 4-6 and May 10-13. Rather than kicking off at its usual location — the Bannockburn Clubhouse — this year’s performance will break tradition and take place at Adventure Theater in Glen Echo Park due to capacity concerns. 

This year, the show is directed by Keith Parsky, who has participated in the Spring Show since 2008, initially as an actor and later as a director. Parsky’s involvement in the show began after his son joined as an actor and he realized what a special experience the show could be.

“What I realized is that I missed out so much from not doing it because you get to know all your neighbors through it,” he said. 

The Bannockburn community held its first Spring Show in 1957, and the show has become a beloved staple of the community’s culture ever since. 

“They discovered how wonderful it is to be in a show together because it keeps you so close, and they looked forward to it all year,” Parsky said. “And so it became, for the founders of the neighborhood, the unifying force in the neighborhood. They knew how powerful that was.” 

The show takes place over seven nights, attracting around 100 people for each performance and raising approximately $20,000 every year. Spring Show participants take pride in the historic contribution to the community, Parsky said.

Countless hours of collaboration and hard work go into the final performance each year. To make the show as successful as possible, preparation is an ongoing process, starting with the script. 

Throughout the year, community members rewrite songs of their choice, transforming them into entertaining parodies that echo cultural and political events from the past year. Then, after the production team compiles a list of actors, they select the final songs. Actors receive songs and skits, and rehearsals soon follow in early February. Despite the extensive preparation and lengthy time commitment, the Spring Show is an enjoyable experience for everyone involved, Parsky said. 

Whitman senior Everett Greenwald appreciates the people he works with during the production, he said. The 2023 show marks Greenwald’s second year on the lighting crew. 

“It’s a really great community building experience,” Greenwald said. “It’s very fun, especially since all the different age ranges, from a little bit older to even younger kids, are all going into one place and trying to put on a show for the community.” 

Whitman Special Education paraeducator Suzan Richmond feels a similar closeness to the cast and crew members of the show. Like Parsky, she joined the show in 2008 after she moved into the Bannockburn neighborhood. Although she spends some years in the audience rather than on the stage, Richmond loves the camaraderie that participating in the show’s production creates. 

“It’s people that you see in the neighborhood.” Richmond said. “By virtue of being in the show, you really get to know them over time.”

The Spring Show is a community treasure, bringing together Bannockburn neighbors to celebrate and laugh at the memories from the past year. For Parsky, the moment he cherishes most is hearing the lighthearted reactions from the audience. 

“It’s just hearing the neighbors laugh, and feeling that closeness to all the folks who enjoyed it,” Parsky said. “And all the folks who I do it with, getting close to all the parents, and seeing the families for that period of time. It’s very nice.”