Pied Piper Players mix music and education for new show

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com Pam (Jillian Mitchell) watches "Schoolhouse Rock" before her first day as a teacher in Pied Piper's "Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr."

Adam Robison | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Pam (Jillian Mitchell) watches “Schoolhouse Rock” before her first day as a teacher in Pied Piper’s “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.”

By Sheena Barnett

Daily Journal

TUPELO – “I’m Just a Bill,” “Conjunction Junction,” “Three Is a Magic Number” – raise your hand if you know any of those songs.

The musical and educational world of “Schoolhouse Rock” comes to life this weekend as Pied Piper Players present “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.”

“It’s the ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ that everybody knows,” said director Morgan Ricks. “It’s most of the favorites and a couple you may not know.”

In the show, Pam (Jillian Mitchell) is nervous before her first day as a teacher. She turns on the TV to relax and sees some old “Schoolhouse Rock” videos, and that’s when the show comes to life.

“The show teaches everything, from adjectives, nouns, the circulatory system, the planets, Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon,” Ricks said. “It ties in with the curriculum we’re teaching. They’re watching, dancing around, singing and having the best time, and they don’t realize they’re learning.”

“Schoolhouse Rock Live!” is special for Ricks. She acted in Pied Piper plays when she was in high school. Now she’s a history teacher at Tupelo High School, and she’s on the Pied Piper Players board. This is her first time to direct a Pied Piper show.

“I teach 10th grade, and this is a cast of K through 8th-graders. This is a real departure,” she said with a laugh.

Ruthann Morgan, 14, and Harrison Jones, 9, both said “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” has been fun.

“I like all of the songs,” Jones said.

“‘I’m Just a Bill’ is my favorite,” Morgan said. “It’s educational, and it’s fun. You’re learning and having fun at the same time.”

This Pied Piper production ties in with a senior project for five Tupelo High School seniors.

The students, all of whom are working backstage at the show, are collecting school supplies to donate to Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi.

“If people bring supplies to the show, they’ll get a raffle ticket for prizes,” said Allison Peterson, who’s a part of the senior project. She’s also assistant director for “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.”

Peterson said they have no list of specific supplies that are needed, and they’ll accept any school supplies that are donated.



What: Pied Piper Players presents “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.”

When: 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Milam auditorium

Cost: $7/adults, $5/students

Info: thepiedpiperplayers.com

Extra: Five THS seniors are collecting school supplies to donate to Tupelo Boys and Girls Club. Bring the supplies to a performance of “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” and you’ll be entered to win prizes.

“Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” cast: Jillian Mitchell (Pam); Bryce Heatherly (George); Ruthann Morgan (Dori); Madison Hall (Shulie); Trevor Hart (Joe); Brenna Smith (Dina); Jilli Grace Asa, Grace Beaty, Nate Beaty, Patrick Beaty, Danielle Becker, Bella Byrd, Autumn Cooper, Mazzie Cooper, Caroline Dill, Adalaide Dowden, Arabella Dowden, Afton Gable, Lauren Graff, Elise Jones, Avery Lewis, Caleigh Martin, Carly Oglesby, Ginny Parker, Neely Rial, Cora Beth Sheffield, Ryleigh Towery, Nate Turner, Devon Witcher, Madison Witcher, Marley Grace Wooten (Chorus); Adoniram Dowden, Will Jones, Rob Parker (“Do the Circulation” soloists); Chapell Chumley, Anna Walker Davis, Cate Dill, Tory Fox, Harrison Jones, Lydia McKissick, DJ Swanson, Averi Towery, Mary Chapel Whitehead (other soloists)

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