What is YAMO? That’s a good question! YAMO is the completely student written, directed, and performed musical comedy review which happens annually in the Upstairs Theater. YAMO has been a part of ETHS for 50 years!
Why is it called YAMO? The real answer is…unclear. There are two potential theories: “ya” and “mo” in a Tibetan alphabet approximates “little wildcat.” The more common theory is that YAMO is an acronmyn for the phrase “The Youth of America Marches On,” corny as that may be. The show, in the words of the longtime faculty coordinator, “stands for high achievement in student creativity in the performing arts.”
YAMO started out as a student variety show that had one performance in the Auditorium with skits, dances, musical performances, and probably juggling, though we’re not sure about that. By the fifth production, we had a title (“Everything’s Coming Up Crabgrass!”) and a series of vaguely connected scenes compromising the first actual YAMO script. YAMO ’63 saw the first showbook. YAMO ’64 featured a gymnastics company! YAMO ’66 was the first show with music entirely written by students (the governing board was pared down significantly from 25 to 6). YAMO ’68 was the first entirely original show in our history and featured a Pantomime company.
In 1972, YAMO changed significantly, moving from the Auditorium to the Upstairs Theatre. The UT was originally outfitted and built by the YAMO ’72 student governing board under the leadership of faculty advisor Bruce K. Siewerth, and we owe them all an eternal debt of thanks.
In 1978 the Pantomine Company became the Fables Company. In YAMO ’87, the Fables Company became the Impulse Company. YAMO ’89 saw the first appearance of the Unexpected Company. In 2002, because of the remodeling of the UT, YAMO played twice in one calendar year.
YAMO’s history features scores of students who went on to become professional actors, dancers, singers, stage technicans, writers, musicians, etc. The list is too long to print. The number of students participating in the show over the years is somewhere around 5220. Before this year, there have been 323 separate performances, at least 90 opening/closing night “inspirational” speeches, 6 faculty advisors (to be fair, Siewerth did handle much of this, from 1966-1998), somewhere north of 600 student board members, and unquantifiable amounts of fear and stress and triumph and exultation.