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Patriot Players Presents: Schoolhouse Rock Live, Jr!

All photos provided by Joel Nace; the ensemble cast for Schoolhouse Rock Live, Jr!

On March 16th, family, friends, and CB East alumni alike matriculated into the East auditorium to watch the student-led production of Schoolhouse Rock Live, Jr. Directed by seniors and Patriot Players staples Molly Pecic and Caeli Coyle, their arduous work since December has led up to this very moment. Prior to the show, Emily Handel [Singing Trio], a previous crew member for Patriot Players’ fall production of The Addams Family, exclaimed that “it brings me great joy to just perform and be surrounded by an amazing group of people and friends who are so supportive and uplifting.”

The musical follows the story of Tom Mizer [played by Nico Russ], a young teacher anxious for his first day of teaching at a new school. Like many working-class Americans, he copes by watching a boatload of TV. Subsequently, he precedes to go down a nostalgia rabbit hole, binge-watching old re-runs of Schoolhouse Rock. However, nothing is as it seems: An ensemble of these very characters come to life to help teach him how to entertain his future students through the power of imagination and great music. Over the next 45 minutes and 12 musical numbers, the audience was transported to a whimsical yet simpler time. While younger members of the audience were enchanted by musical numbers traversing the solar system and the Appalachians, older attendees got to revisit childhood classics such as “Conjunction Junction.”

“I think there are a couple things that make our production unique,” says Caeli Coyle, co-director of the musical. “Because Molly [Pecic] and I work with the Unified Program at East, we were able to coordinate a show for our peers in the Special Education classes. I think it’s such a great opportunity to spread inclusivity across the school.” Additionally, March was Theatre in Our Schools Month, a month dedicated to raising public awareness emphasizing the value of theatre in schools across the country. A dancer for most of her life, Coyle deftly understands the importance of theatre in school: “Besides the fact that Schoolhouse Rock is a show about learning, I want people to see the power of theatre and the skills that it brings to those who participate. I hope that this show inspires some children to pursue theatre in middle school or high school because it really does teach you things that you cannot learn anywhere else.”

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Jack DeBoyace
Jack DeBoyace, Entertainment Editor

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