Third-graders to see revamped “Peter & the Wolf” thanks to Bob Barker gift

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Feb. 16, 2016 — A decades-old tradition will receive a revamp next week as Drury University’s Theatre, Music and Education departments present the annual performance of “Peter and the Wolf” for elementary school students at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.

Nearly 3,000 third graders from throughout Springfield and the surrounding area are expected to attend the two performances by more than 50 Drury students at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22. Media are welcome to cover the event.

For more than 40 years, Drury students and faculty have brought Sergei Prokofiev’s classic children’s symphony to life for the benefit of local youth. The 2016 edition has a new look and feel thanks to a gift from the Bob Barker Endowment Fund for the Study of Animal Rights and creative input from director Robert Westenberg. The performance will now include some small changes that reflect messages of humane education about wild animals.

The 1936 work is designed to teach children about the orchestra through an easy-to-understand fairytale about a boy and his animal friends being stalked by a wolf. Each character is represented by a different instrument and musical motif.

According to Westenberg, this year’s production will be “completely restaged and redesigned. It will feature new set pieces, costumes, and props.” Photos and brief videos of wolves in the wild will help reinforce “the importance of respecting our fellow animal creatures and how we need to harmoniously coexist within our mutual ecosystems,” Westenberg adds.

Others involved in the revamp include Drury theater technical director Mark Needelman (scene design), Drury theater professor Madison Spencer (costume design), Drury alumna Christine Bass (visual design) and professional choreographer Chyrel Miller. Dr. Robin Schraft will narrate the performance and Dr. Christopher Koch will conduct the orchestra. The Drury Friends of Music Fund helps support this annual musical education experience.


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