Thrive back in full force, with ‘Broadway’ & ‘Cinderella’ coming soon

Theater branches out, features new opportunities, as Covid dies down


photo by Polly Dierkens

Performing in “Art Knows” are junior Joey Jablonski and sophomore Vince Alaimo. While Jablonski has played in several Thrive shows before, this was the first time he sang onstage. “I’ve learned a ton about music and performing, and I have also been given opportunities and experience I never thought I’d have.”

While COVID dimmed the lights on Thrive’s performance schedule for a time, the group has returned this season for a series of shows both here at SHS and at their other performance venue, The Geauga Theater, in Chardon.

After making its post-COVID comeback with “Thrive Loves the 80s” at The Geauga Theater, Thrive continued on with both Halloween and Christmas shows. 

Its first show of 2022 was “Art Knows No Boundaries,” a variety show performed February 25 and 26 featuring performers from all over the area as well as several SHS students and staff members.

This show featured lots of musical performances as well as spoken-word poems, comedy/acting skits and a dance number by sophomore Ella Hodge.

This was Hodge’s first time performing with Thrive. “My experience with Thrive has been great,” she said. “Everyone in Thrive is so kind and encouraging and it’s just a really great environment.” 

“I instantly felt like I was part of the family,” added junior Brayden Buescher, another Thrive newcomer. Buescher played the drums on two songs that he prepared with his songwriting class.

Sophomore Ella Hodge performs a dance solo to, “All I Ask ” by Adele, for her first time on the Thrive stage. Hodge has been dancing at Studio Luminance for 13 years.

Another songwriting student, sophomore Vince Alaimo, made his Thrive debut along with Buescher in “Art Knows.” Alaimo played bass on three songs. 

“There was nothing anyone could do better about that show from poetry to dance,” he said. “Everything meshed well and we all enjoyed that show. The crowd was amazing, too.”

Next up will be “Thrive Loves Broadway,” (March 26 & 27), “Cinderella,” (May 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, June 3 and 4) and then “Jukebox Jam” later this year.

Thrive artistic director and theater teacher Jim Boardwine said he expects “Cinderella” to be their best show of the year. The group is hoping to create an album and will include an orchestra as well, which Thrive has never done before.

His nephew, Mason Boardwine, returned to the area from North Carolina this fall and now subs at SHS and performs with Thrive.  

“It’s amazing, I love it,” he said of performing with his uncle, other family members and Thrive. “It’s one of my favorite things to do. It brings me a lot of joy, and a lot of happiness.”

While Thrive has had much success over the years, the Boardwines acknowledged Covid’s effects on the participants, and their performances. 

“Covid definitely has affected Thrive quite a bit,” Mason Boardwine said. “It was developing a really good following, but really not being able to hold shows for almost two years, really takes a hit on everything.”  

He went on to say, “People are still trying to re-find their comfort level, and still getting used to going out and doing things.” 

Playing bass during “Sweet Things” by The Pretty Reckless in “Art Knows” is choir director Ross Downing. “Art Knows was great.” He said, “It’s so fun to see former and current students, as well as community members, showcase their skills regardless of the art form. Really amazing stuff on display.”


Thrive’s shows and scheduled dates were more affected by Covid than preparations for said shows. 

“Our work ethic hasn’t changed since covid,” Alaimo said. “We still work as hard as we can to make it a good show. I love the show, the audience loves the show, Thrive loves the show.”

The upcoming “Thrive Loves Broadway” will include classics and some new, but popular musical features. The show will include songs from “Hamilton,” “Les Mis,” “Hairspray,” “Rent,” “Wicked” and more.

Senior guitarist Joey Jablonski said he thinks the Broadway show will be a big hit because of the popularity of the included songs and characters. He also brought up the fact that people love the thought of possibly being on Broadway themselves one day.

“If you’re a musical theater fan, this show is for you. You’ll definitely love it,” Jim Boardwine added. 

Something else big in the works for the group… Thrive is looking to create an album featuring songs from their show, “Cinderella.” The hope is that when an audience member hears the song while watching, they will have a chance to sing along and enjoy not just the show, but having fun with loved ones in the crowd.

“Cinderella” will have an original script written by Jim Boardwine and his two children, Desiree and Brett, who are active Thrive performers and directors. 

Mason Boardwine, SHS substitute and Thrive performer, plays bass during “Lose Yourself” by Eminem at “Art Knows.” Boardwine will be playing Prince Alexander in Thrive’s production of “Cinderella” in May & June.

Brett Boardwine actually serves as Thrive’s full-time director and runs most of the activities and events at The Geauga Theater. 

 “Magical is the word I’d use to describe it,” said Mason Boardwine, who will be playing Prince Alexander. “It’s going to be incredible.”

For tickets to these upcoming shows, visit:–tickets.html