PLAYBILLDER Spotlight: Two Middle Schools Teamed Up for the First Time to Make a Show | Playbill

Education News PLAYBILLDER Spotlight: Two Middle Schools Teamed Up for the First Time to Make a Show

Two Ohio middle schools collaborated with Muse Machine for Poetry and Playbills.

Welcome to PLAYBILLDER Spotlight, where Playbill highlights shows and events from educational institutions around the country (who have used Playbill's program-building service). By welcoming these PLAYBILLDERs center stage, we hope to give our readers a more in-depth look at theatre programs that are fostering the love of the performing arts in the next generation.

Guide: How To Build Your Own Custom Program with PLAYBILLDER

This week's spotlight is Coy Middle School and Ankeney Middle School of Beavercreek, Ohio and their joint production of Poetry & Playbills. This collaboration between the two schools is a revue of well-known poems, original poems, and energizing musical theatre numbers. The evenings' program featured the words of Dylan Thomas and Shel Silverstein as well as the melodies of Mary PoppinsThe Wiz, and Grease. This production was made possible with the aid of Muse Machine, a Dayton-based arts education organization that produces in-school performances, teaches workshops, and sponsors roadtrips from Chicago to New York to the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. 

Ankeney English language teacher Kristina Minton shared with Playbill about how the show led to her proudest moment as an educator.

Tell us a little about yourself. How many years have you been teaching?
Kristina Minton: I've been teaching for 16 years and, without a doubt, my best memories stem from something arts-related. I've been a part of a local youth theatre outreach organization, called Muse Machine, for almost half the time I've been teaching. Through Muse Machine, I've been able to bring artists to my schools and get more students interested and involved with the arts. 

What is your proudest moment as an educator?
At the wrap of this production, I received an extremely heartwarming email from the mom of one of my stage crew members. She thanked me and the cast and the rest of the crew for creating an inclusive space for her 6th grade Autistic son who has historically had trouble finding his place. His smiles at bows brought tears to her eyes, and she said he couldn't stop talking about how much fun he had. This is why I teach and direct. These moments of pure joy—of finding freedom of expression and a place to feel accepted—there is no greater reward for me!

Coy & Ankeney Middle School's production of Poetry & Playbills

Tell us a little bit about the productionWhat made you pick the show? How do you choose shows for your students?
This was our very first combined middle school show ever. I've been wanting to make this happen for quite some time, but with COVID and financial challenges, it took me a while to make it happen! I'm also a middle school writing team coach, so I wanted to combine students' interest in theatre and poetry—thus Poetry & Playbills was born. 

It was a lovely two nights of heartfelt poetry readings and show-stopping musical numbers. Students wrote their own bios and submitted their own photos for the Playbill. I think their friends and families were very impressed to see the finished product. It added excitement before the curtain went up!

Coy & Ankeney Middle School's production of Poetry & Playbills

To design Broadway-quality programs for your next show, head to Who knows, you might just be featured in our next PLAYBILLDER Spotlight! And if you are looking for a beautiful way to display your Playbills, click here to purchase Playbill frames.

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