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Beyond the Field: Rugby and Soccer at 9 to 5

Updated: Apr 23

Athletes In the Audience

When CNU students stumbled out of bed and into Peebles Theater to watch 9 to 5, they likely didn't anticipate seeing a group of athletes in the audience. Yet, there they were: Sophomores Abigail Trowbridge, Isabella Sangiuliano, and Junior Maddie Stich from the women’s rugby team, Sophomore Josh Decker from the men’s rugby team, retired Seniors Harrison Ivy and Nate Leigh from the men’s soccer team, and Abigail's girlfriend, Sophomore Hailey Taggart. As they settled in, with little to no knowledge of what awaited them, the curtains rose to the sound of Dolly Parton's iconic “9 to 5” song. Each watched attentively, inspired by their peers on stage and curious about what CNU Theater had in store. Let’s hear from each of them about their experiences during the show and their thoughts before and after!


Anticipation and Excitement 

Upon arriving at the performance, each attendee had experienced at least one theater event, whether in high school or on Broadway. None had been to a CNU production before, nor were they familiar with the Department of Performing Arts, so they were eager to attend 9 to 5, especially since it featured other CNU students. Isabella Sangiuliano shared, “I saw Clue at Riverside High School in Loudoun County, as well as 9 to 5, which was my high school production.” Like Isabella, other members of the group had seen shows such as Shrek, Maleficent, The Lion King, Hamilton, Six, Aladdin, and Wicked, either at their high schools or on Broadway. In terms of familiarity with the musical, Isabella was the only one in the group who knew the plot beforehand. The others were clueless. “All I know is that it has something to do with Dolly Parton and that she has a song called 9 to 5,” said Abigail Trowbridge. Joining the conversation, Josh Decker assumed that 9 to 5 would be an uplifting story about a common guy. Despite their limited knowledge, each attendee stated their hopes for the performance. A theme among them was excitement to see what CNU Theater had to offer and to take a break from the hustle of school to enjoy a production with friends. “I’m excited to see what the sets look like and to see my friend Kylee perform! I’m hoping for this experience to strike me into making an effort to see more CNU shows,” “I hope to gain more insight into how CNU theater operates compared to high school. Just a good comparison would be nice to see”  said Maddie Stich and Harrison Ivy. 


Emotional Impact 

As the show progressed, the audience became increasingly engaged with the script and songs. Laughter echoed from every corner of the theater, while moments of silence honored the amazing vocals coming from the stage, followed by applause filling the air after each scene.

 Once the show ended, everyone seemed to have enjoyed what they saw and discussed who their favorite character was. Hailey Taggart and Abigail Trowbridge's favorite was Violet (Hannah Cecil), Harrison Ivy enjoyed the vocals from Mr. Hart (Jimmy Grimes), Nate Leigh's and Maddie Stich's favorite was Doralee (Kimberlie Pagan), and her humor throughout the show. After discussing their favorite characters, the group delved into the show's underlying message. Many mentioned that certain scenes evoked strong emotions. “I was getting mad at the lead guy for the way he was treating the women. I can’t say I was that surprised that those things were happening because of the point in time this show is based on,” said Abigail. Anger seemed to be a common reaction among the women in the audience. “I felt myself actually getting angry, frustrated, and emotional at knowing what these girls were feeling and empathizing with them,” said Maddie. The beautifully produced 9 to 5 was a success, accomplishing what every theater department hopes for—moving the audience in more ways than one. 


Check It Out!

In the end, students from two different sports groups witnessed a new academic realm: the Performing Arts. Before the show, they never considered attending a CNU performance. Pleasantly surprised, I believe we'll see more faces from various groups supporting their peers. “I recommend attending more CNU performances because students devote much time to these productions, and we can support them as well,” said Harrison. So, the next time you have a free Friday night, check the calendar for events. Who knows, you might discover your new favorite campus activity while supporting the CNU Department of Performing Arts!


For Fun

Favorite Dolly Parton Song:

Abigail Trowbridge - 9 to 5

Isabella Sangiuliano - Jolene

Hailey Taggart - 9 to 5

Maddie Stich - Jolene

Harrison Ivy - Jolene

Nate Leigh - N/A

Josh Decker - Coat of Many Colors


Written by: Harper Minarik

Photos by: Emma Murphy



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