D&E brings ‘Schoolhouse Rock Live!’ to Boiler House stage

ELKINS – Davis & Elkins College students and Division of Fine & Performing Arts faculty bring together familiar songs and lively dance for a musical performance of “Schoolhouse Rock Live!”

Shows are scheduled for today and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the historic Boiler House Theatre on the College campus.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.dewv.edu/arts-entertainment, or at the door. For more information, call the Davis & Elkins College Box Office at 304-637-1255 or send and email to BoxOffice@dewv.edu.

Audiences will join Tom, a teacher nervous about his first day in the classroom, as he learns to use music and imagination to engage his students. The performance features well known songs such as “Just A Bill,” “Conjunction Junction” and “Interplanet Janet.”

Directed by D&E Assistant Professor of Theatre kb saine, the production is a collaboration of theatre, music and dance.

“The process of directing a musical is very different from the process of directing a play, largely because from a directorial perspective I get the chance to work with a number of additional collaborators,” saine says.

Joining saine in producing the play are choreographer Emily Oleson, dance program coordinator and assistant professor of dance at D&E; musical director Donna Baroudi Huffman, instructor of music at D&E; band leader Seth Young; and technical director Tom Hackman, chair of the Division of Fine & Performing Arts.

Rehearsals for the production differed from a standard theatrical performance, saine says.

“We’ve had some days that were specific to blocking – where people stand when – then we had additional rehearsals that were strictly four hours a night of dance technique and other nights that were four hours around the piano with Donna learning every note, all of the harmonies, all of the melodies and what fits where,” saine says. “In the last two weeks we really put it all together and the fun part happened as the actors recognize who their characters are, how they work in the room, where they’re able to interact with each other.”

“Schoolhouse Rock Live!” is saine’s second major production at D&E since being appointed assistant professor of theatre at the start of the 2013-2014 academic year. Last fall, she directed a cast of D&E students and community members in “Our Town,” and mentored student-directors for Winter One-Acts in January.

A director, author, educator and theatre historian for 15 years, saine served as the producing artistic director of Sycamore Rouge, Petersburg, Virginia’s Professional Theatre for the Community, before joining the Davis & Elkins College faculty. She currently serves as vice president for the national board of directors of Black Theatre Professionals, Academics and Practioners.

She also has worked with Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg and The Richmond Triangle Players, Theatre IV/Theatre Gym, The Barksdale Theatre, Firehouse Theatre Project, TheatreVirginia, Dogwood Dell, Yellow House Productions, TheatreMachine and SPARC in Richmond, Va., and the Dallas Theatre Center in Dallas, Texas.

After earning a Master of Fine Arts in theatre pedagogy/directing from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2002, saine taught at both K-12 and university levels, heading theatre programs at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., George Wythe High School in Richmond, Va., and Petersburg High School in Petersburg, Va. She has also returned to her alma maters to teach at both Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., and West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, where she also directed “Tartuffe.” Saine earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and secondary education from West Virginia Wesleyan in 1998.

Saine says she enjoys the collaborative efforts at D&E, especially with the current production.

Performing in the show are Kat Biller, a D&E alumna living in Elkins, as Dori; Millie Omps, a senior from Slanesville, as Dina; Bradley Carter, a junior from Nelson County, Va., as Tom; Michael Good, a junior from Elkins, as Joe; and Jacob Currence, a freshman from Dailey, as George.

“The production is completely age appropriate for young people, but is also going to be a ton of fun for our college-level audiences and for the parents of the children who want to see the show,” saine says. “It’s really a lot of fun for my age group because it’s what we grew up with.”

The Davis & Elkins College Theatre Program offers courses in theatre and theatre production designed to provide students with knowledge of and experience in an art form which has played a key role in cultural history and contemporary society. Three options are available to students working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree: Theatre Arts, Design & Technical Theatre or Theatre Education. The Theatre Arts program prepares and presents three main stage productions and three to five student-directed studio productions every year.

For more information, please visit the D&E website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.