Seen through the eyes of Clifford, the son of a vacant, trumpet-playing father and an unbalanced, alcoholic mother, Side Man is a touching yet comic memory play chronicling the decline of a group of big band musicians at the advent of the rock and roll era and the decay of a once happy middle-class marriage. As his family life begins to crumble, young Clifford finds himself playing parent to his parents, and later, struggling to come to terms with his shattered youth. Warren Leight's play simultaneously pays tribute to the jazz era's great sidemen -- performers who could blend seamlessly into the musical background but who lived for their solo moments in the spotlight -- and the unfulfilled lives left in their wake because they love their music more than anything or anyone else.
Emily Amanda Hanlen and Jessie Mills Leiken, seniors at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, direct this year's production. They will work with a cast and crew of local high school students to design, market and perform the play as part of Round House's unique mentorship program in which theatre professionals guide local high school students through the process of producing a play of their selection.