Dempsey Middle School students are hard at work this week filming their production of “Schoolhouse Rock,” which will be available digitally next month.
Pam Beery, the director of this year’s production, said when she was selecting a show for the students to perform this year, “Schoolhouse Rock” was a good match for the school’s needs.
“This has been a tough year with the restrictions from the health department,” Beery said. “We could only rehearse 10 kids at a time. (We) had many kids who could only rehearse online. (The show has) minimal sets, and we also wanted it to be light-hearted and fun. ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ fit the bill!”
Beery said the show has four student choruses, including one that rehearsed and performed their parts only online.
The show, she added, has many of the old ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ music, along with lots of dancing, singing, and educational moments.
“This is a great show for the whole family. (It’s) upbeat and positive,” Beery said.
Students are filming the show this week, and it will be in post-production until May 14 when it will be available on demand for the weekend of May 14-16.
Beery said tickets are $10 per device, but any number of people can watch on the device. Tickets are available at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/51814.
This year’s production was filmed around the school, which Beery hopes gives the cast a special connection to the school.
“We’re using classrooms from Dempsey as our set, so years from now, the kids can watch and remember their time at Dempsey,” Beery said. “The kids have been working on the show since the end of January.”
The show will also be the last for Beery, who announced she will be retiring as the Dempsey drama director at the end of the school year. Beery retired as a teacher six years ago, but she stayed with the district in the Dempsey drama director position after serving as the drama director for then-Willis Intermediate School for 30 years.
Beery said she planned to retire last year, but she knew the 2020-2021 school year would be challenging due to the pandemic, so she stayed on to help.
“It’s a good time to step down and take some time for my family,” Beery said. “I am also looking forward to getting more support for making improvements to the Willis auditorium and stage. We made a lot of headway before COVID with the leadership of Heidi Kegley and the administration, and I want to be part of future improvements.”
Beery said she will miss working with students and the school community.
“I’ve really loved every minute of my time and the wonderful kids and families I’ve been privileged to work with,” she said. “The community that we’ve built has been special to many.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.