Working together with Brooklyn-based rock band The Deedle Deedle Dees, fourth-grade students from The Montclair (NJ) Cooperative School have created an all-original, multi-media theatrical experience based on their study of local history. The show will debut on February 22 at 2:00 p.m. in the Alexander Kasser Theater, on the campus of Montclair State University, as part of Peak Performances @ Montclair.
The all-original material was created collaboratively with The Deedle Deedle Dees, a popular educational rock band, which has been entertaining audiences around the country with hip, historically-inspired songs like “Nellie Bly” and “Underground Railroad” as well as sillier songs like “Vegetarian Tyrannosaurus Rex.”
In preparation for the project, the students were tasked with picking a person, place or event from their study of New Jersey history. They were asked to write a poem, song or story about their topic, or create artwork to illustrate it.
“I was amazed by the range and depth of their subjects,” says Band Leader Lloyd Miller. “They presented wonderful ideas about New Jersey natives like Clara Barton and Thomas Edison, but also lesser-known people, like the spy Patience Wright and guitarist Les Paul. It was difficult to narrow it down to the 10-11 specific ideas we wanted to turn into full-fledged songs.”
Once the subject matter was selected, Miller works with the kids to create lyrics and all original music, also created in collaboration with the students. “The kids are using rap, rock, pop and even Broadway-style show tunes. They are creating sets and costumes and there is a multi-media component using their artwork.”
The show is expected to appeal to all ages, from 6 months to high school to adult. And, like all Deedle Deedle Dees shows, it will be a fully interactive experience, with audience members being asked to participate through song and dance, and even a quiz or two.
The February 22nd premiere will be held at 2:00 p.m. in the Alexander Kasser Theater on the campus of Montclair State University. Tickets are $15 and are available at the Alexander Kasser Theater Box Office or by calling 973-655-5112 or online at www.peakperfs.org.
Montclair State University is located at 1 Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey 07043.
Alfred R. Fredel, Media and Marketing Director
Peak Performance @ Montclair
Released: February 4, 2009